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Harrassed by the Police in Shibuya

From genieZero in the forums:

This happened today 29/03/2010

I was stopped by 5 police officers as I was standing outside a ramen shop. An older police officer asked me if I had eaten ramen, I simply ignored him and gave him a blank stare. A female officer then requested that I show my passport. I gave her my gaijin card, and she read out that I was from England. The older officer tugged my bag and wanted to search it. I did not like being surrounded by police, and asked him if he had a search warrant in Japanese.

This stunned him and he replied by asking how I knew such a word. I did not move and he tried too reach for my bag. I told him again that he needed a search warrant. The officer then went behind me and pulled off my bag, and started to empty it's contents. They found some incense that I had purchased and rolling papers.

This is when the real problems started. I was taken to the small koban and they removed my jacket, hooded fleece and also tried to take off my t-shirt (in public view). I stopped them from taking off my t-shirt. They took me to a room inside the koban and had me remove my belt, which the same old officer would not let me have back. I then was told to sit as they went through my belongings. He accused me of taking drugs, I said that I had done no such thing! A female officer (Nakajima Yuka) then told me to remove my shoes and socks, which I did.

After, they drove me to the big police station in Shibuya for interrogation and drug testing. A small detective dressed in black sat me down and tested the incense. Surely enough, it came out as negative. They then asked why I was carrying rolling papers, I said I like to smoke roll up cigarettes if I run out of tobacco at home. They then made me sign (fingerprint) numerous forms giving them permission to take the incense and also a urine test. The forms were voluntary, so I asked them what would happen if I refused to give my urine sample. Another detective (sorry for not taking names, there were 8 police officers in the room at the time) told me I would be taken to the hospital where a very painful procedure would be performed to take the urine by force.

I gave the sample, as I had finished, they brought in an officer who was bald (as am I) and said 'He is your brother!'. I did not find it amusing, I really wanted to get the hell out of there.

They performed the test in front of me and it came out negative (surprise surprise!). The whole ordeal took around 3 hours, and I pushed them to give me a lift to where I was going which they did.

The worst part I have to say was the initial stop... I never expected them to pull my bag and off and take everything out. Then the big shot detective sitting in front of me with his drug testing kit, and more police piling into the tiny ass interrogation room to see if the gaijin will go to prison... He actually said it maybe 'cocaine or heroin' after it turned out negative! I started laughing which made him bark at me in Japanese.

Same with the urine test, maybe 8 or 9 police officers all stood inside as they waited for the result, it came out negative.

The one thing I did regret was signing the papers. I always promised myself not to do so, but the way they did it was 'do this or you will not leave this police station'. They did not stop boasting about Sakae Noriko being brought in, and how she paid 5,000,000 yen bail. Poor woman must have been so relieved to get out.

At the end there was no apology of any sort, they said I should not buy incense that is not well known! The big shots went back to their PCs and laughed amongst themselves. I really wanted to get a hold of the police offenders that searched me in the first place, they were absolutely racist in the way they treated me, and quite proud of the fact too.

GenieZero also adds this information about himself:

I'm Pakistani in origin, I was dressed in casual street clothes, jeans,sneakers and jacket. I can speak enough Japanese to get by and I can understand it alot better than I speak. And I'm 25, but due to my shaved head I probably look older to most Japanese. Louis Carlet told me that I was not stopped because of my race but simply because I an not Japanese, I like to believe that as the former would infuriate me.

I'm also 6'3 so that also may have given them reason to be intimidated enough to prompt a search.

It just so happens that Debito met with the Special UN Rappoprteur for Human Rights of Migrants, Jorge A. Bustamante, where he spoke about how non-Japanese are treated in Japan. The folder he gave to Mr. Bustamante is full of information on the abuse of police power and racial profiling of non-Japanese.

This shit has to end. Fortunately, genieZero has reported the incident and it has apparently been forwarded to Amnesty International. It's possible that resisting the police's illegal search may have invited more trouble for genieZero, but on the other hand, police abuse of power won't end if people resign themselves to the fact that they cannot effect change.

Comments

I think that ICE T and Body Count can best sum up how I feel about this reported incident:

" For every cop that's ever taken advantage of somebody...

Beat 'em down or hurt 'em.

Cause they got long hair.

Listen to the wrong kind of music.

Wrong colour.

Or whatever they thought was the reason to do it.

For every one of those fucking police.

I'd like to take a pig out hear in this parking lot and shoot 'em in their mother fucking face! "

a bald, 6'3, humourless Pakistani, with an attitude.....? I think you would have been stopped in Pakistan!!

... and I would not listen to Louis Cartlet even if you paid me!

I would have to agree with Shawn's sentiment. This shit has to end.

I don't agree with the bully-boy tactics of the Police but it seems like the guy in the first post was given such a bad time because of his attitude. It's a good idea not to aggravate the Police in Japan because they tend to have greater powers to harass people in the street than most western countries.

Like I said, the Police were disgraceful in this case but it's a good idea to act calm and try to minimize any kind of conflict.

By the way, I've never, not once, been stopped by the Police in Japan. I guess I'm just lucky.

I got sprayed with bear repeliant in Kyoto leaving Bar Isnt It about 10 years ago and dragged off to the river and left for dead by the bar staff spraying bastards, 3 hours later I was found by 2 Kiwi guys. (no Japanese would stop to check) Ambulance came took me to hospital. Still couldnt see. Wife came took me home couldnt open my eyes in bright light for 3 days. went to the poloce with my wife where this Moron started to take my statement. Three fucken hours later it was finished. One week passes by, the poloce want to ask further questions, again My wife and I go, another 3 fucken hours and his note pad is filled with beautiful kanji and great sketches.
One more week passes and yes you guessed it. More questions this time I said to the police I am not coming in for another 3 hour grilling of useless facts. I was sprayed and I know who did it. A week after that a Police detective called and said he had some photos of the staff and that he would like to come to my house and get me to ID the person who sprayed me. Sure come around , great I thought.

He came I pointed out the fucken jerk, Then the police said to my wife and I that they couldnt Lay charges as they would also have to lay asualt charges againts me as I had kicked the guy in the photo and there were 3 witnesses. I was told I could persue it in a civil court.

I told the cop that it was bullshit and asked him to leave. apon him leaving I asked him if it is ok to carry pepper spray and use it in Japan. he said no it is illegal as it is a weapon. I said well at Bar Isnt IT they have weapons maybe you should go and arrest some criminals instead of just going around asking questions.

The whole thing took up about 20 hours of my life so I thanked the police officer for wasting my time and that he woulnt be wasting my time anymore and if I ever had problems in Japan in the future I would not ask the police to help.

I put it down to one of lifes experiences.

Japan doesn't care about what Amnesty International reports about them. They always report of the abuse of power Japan's police force has... and no one in Japan ever cares about it. Ever.

@7:07

I'm not Pakistani, I'm British born and bred, and secondly, I showed no attitude, just merely asked them for a search warrant which they need by law to search someone. And I'm sure your sense of humour would not stay for long if they did that to you.

It's easy playing cool tough guy behind a computer screen isn't it??? Keep it up troll!

GenieZero

To GenieZero

Don't worry about these idiots - they don't have any happiness in their own lives and to make themselves feel better all they can do is shoot other people down at the nearest oppertunity.

Far too many of them roaming about on this website unfortunately...

Sorry to hear about what happened to you.

Haven't had any run-ins with the police myself.. but can certianly imagine that's what they could be like. (I've experienced my fair share of initimidations out here...)

Yes Genie - dont worry about these other people who have a different take on things. They'll just be deleted, right Shawn?

Anyway... about those police officers.... take it all the way to Hatoyama goddammit!!

Well done to GenieZero for reporting this,unfortunately I seriously doubt there will be any action taken against the Police.
The union I belong to Freeter,had an event called `The Reality Tour`which filed past the ex-PM`s house,now they had permission to do this from the Police,BUT the PM`s security started trouble,[NHK etc reported that the union caused the trouble,shame they never bothered to watch the youtube footage !!!!!],union members were arrested and were kept locked up for a week !!!!

"Yes Genie - dont worry about these other people who have a different take on things. They'll just be deleted, right Shawn?
....
......Yes, by all means... we would not want to acknowledge any other view points other than the correct ones!

"I got sprayed with bear repeliant in Kyoto leaving Bar Isnt It about 10 years ago and dragged off to the river and left for dead by the bar staff spraying bastards,..."

just minding your own business were you...

genieZero.. sorry this happened to you, I've never had problems with police in Japan myself but I've heard a whole list of things that have happened to friends and acquaintances that ably demonstrate that the police service here are an ineffectual, lazy bunch of racists.

Seriously though, "taking it to the top" is not going to make one jot of difference (and I'm not even sure what this means anyway). Until Japanese people themselves recognise how broken their justice system is and demand something better nothing will change.

Bear repellant? Maybe they have a problem with fat hairy gay guys coming into their bar..

Seriously though, "taking it to the top" is not going to make one jot of difference (and I'm not even sure what this means anyway)

Seriously though, no seriously you dont get sarcasm. I think it meant original poster should stop bitching and whining and STFU. (hang on - this doesn't support the police are bad and all foreigners in Japan get a raw deal tone - sorry delete away Shawn)

Leaving the bar drunk does not give someone the right to spray a person, putting that persons life in danger, but as I said I put it down to experience and don't trust or like cops in this country.

"Leaving the bar drunk does not give someone the right to spray a person, putting that persons life in danger, but as I said I put it down to experience and don't trust or like cops in this country.
"

yes, there really must be something done to protect the rights of the inebriated not only in this country, but in all God-fearing countries with honest hard-working tax payers like yourself!!

Leaving the bar... ??? Wait, you said you unable to extricate yourself under your own power and were instead tossed out on your business end!! We are missing a whole lot of the story about what happened to get you face down near the river to begin with...

Parable of the story... stay home and drink!

I will let you know what Amnesty International does as soon as I hear from them.

And to those who take a different 'opinion' on the issue. It's all good acting smug in front of a computer, giving snide and humorous comments... But when you eventually DO get stopped by the Police, let me tell you, you won't be thinking it's a joke... They were aching to find something to find me guilty, but it didn't happen... So after 3 hours they told me to leave without saying anything else.

@8:50 - That is simply unbelievable, what kind of police work is that? Should he not visit the bar after taking your statement, ask questions and find out the facts? No. Simply ignore the fact that you were physically assaulted and left for dead, because your not Japanese. If we switched you for a Japanese then 200 police cars would be sweeping the streets.

@19.54
Well you must be the most well behaved visitor in this country and never cross over any boundries or is that you are just selfrightious and want everybody to live and act the way that you think is correct.

Not all people who get drunk are rolling around the floor or throwing punches, and from what I have seen of Japanese people drunk,you wouldnt even know I was. Or maybe you are just part of the fun police who try to stop people having fun, (read, living without being dictated how to act or think what is right or wrong for themself)
I suggest you try letting your hair down and if anything bad happens, just deal with it. Or better still go back to your Nanny state of a country you came from because it sounds like you need to be there.

There's having a difference of opinion, which is fine, and then there's shooting someone down from the security of your keyboard simply for the sake of it.

I'm not so sure the search warrant being necessary is true for non-citizens. Also, all the cop has to do is state you fit the profile of a suspected criminal or exhibit behavior that seems suspicious and you could be a terrorist. So, unless you have a video of yourself and the cops, there is no way to disprove his/their false assumptions. Finally, even if it's your right to refuse search, it probably isn't a wise move. You'd have to be prepared to remain silent and demand a lawyer, AND be prepared to sit in jail for up to 28 days... only to released with no apology.

The sad fact is the police profile and if you fit it, then they'll single you out.

What kind of incense was it?
Stick incense?
Cone incense?

Loose leaf incense sold for 7000 yen at headshops under the brand name of Spice or Genie, which when smoked, gives similar effects to illegal drugs?

A lot of people have been jumping on the racism bandwagon in this thread along with the forum that this originated from, but I'm thinking that we're missing a piece of the information here.

@17:26

It was not Spice or Genie, they were made illegal in the U.K last December (I think) and it Japan last November. The incense I bought was a while ago in a small store in Saitama, Omiya. It was a tiny bag, and you dissolve the powder in water on the incense burner.

You're skepticism is warranted, but the legal highs the ARE sold in head-shops are just that, 'legal highs'. There is no law being broken, so there is no case for the police to get involved.

and now Ice-T plays a cop on TV.

I been here 10 years, I have had my fare share of the "Japanese Police Probe" Last one was a simple "running out of gas in my van" Police guy stopped , helped me push it off the road, I thanked him and then the questions started ..."how long are you here", "wheres your Alien monster card" "do you play surfing hahaha" followed quickly with "you must do drugs" etc etc etc etc, Ya know, as angry as i was, i just shut the f"#k up and followed the guys every instruction, even though it sucked!! He called the main station, checked my drivers licence, and i was on my way within 20 mins! Want to make it easy for them!!!! Open your mouth and give a bad attitude!! then cop the 3 hour grilling! I actually felt better afterwards that i had shut my mouth, gave good manners and was on my way!! with a little time taken!

Some will say your weak, I Dont give a shit, Im a decent sized lad, but just shut ya trap and get on with your life here!!

Dazza

You're such a hard man Dazza!! Big lad n'all that... Shut your mouth coz no gives a shit if you are a 'big lad'... Troll!

I don't even think it is appropriate at all to even joke about this, especially to a person who had claimed they were subject to this.

No one was asking anyone to listen to Cartlet but at least is out there trying to handle business.

Firstly let me state that I am an Asian-American, although I may look to some as Japanese, my gestures, movements, and American-thought, and lack of Japanese speech are what distinguish me from the millions. I also had a belittlling experience with a certain policeman at Kasugimasaki station restroom.

My plan for the day was to take a brisk jog about the imperial palalce jogging grounds. As I was about to use the restroom at the station to change into jogging clothes, upon entering I noticed a strong stench and thought it better to find another restroom, there was a policeman inside at the time taking a piss, I do give him the benefit of the doubt that it may have looked suspuscious and being that it was in the vicinity of the imperial grounds, after looking about for a minute I went back into the restroom thinking that "mind as well" since there were no other restrooms around, upon entering the police guy was just exiting and shaking off his urine-drenched hands then took a glance at me and notice me from before, he said a few words sternly in which I only nonchalantly said in my best japanese speech "just go restroom" but he started reaching for my bag like a subway bus molestor, he asked for my passport, but I told him I had it in my hotel, I said "Hey! Ill show you my ID just dont touch my bag" So i quickly whipped out my california ID he saw my college ID and asked about that too, what a fuggin idiot, This young prick which i was giving my entire respect went completely out the window when he wanted to pat me down after I let him search my bag rummaging through with is urine-drenched hands, a facial expression he showed seemed to be of some sick satisfaction he was getting from the authority of a foreinger in "his" land, that was when I became enraged and let him have it in Japanese I didnt even know i knew, I said no let me talk with your shachoo or boss, why not search that man or that woman for bag how come me only why! You don't touch me, I have nothing so I started making a big ruckus and everybody was looking at us and i pulled out my pockets and shouted nothing okay this is har rass mento! all this trouble because I did a double-take into the restroom , he felt embarrased at the attention it seemed and gave me back my bag and i just walked away in a jeered manner, but in retrospect I really should have gotten his name down and report it to his boss for harrassment. This type of feeblemindedness only undermines Japan's civility.

I’ve been stopped 8 times in a period of one year since I’ve been in Tokyo. The first 3 times, I simply complied like most foreigners new to this country. I think it’s instinctive for law-abiding foreigners to want to comply initially when they get stopped by the Japanese police (if they’re stopping me, there must be a good reason…). Well, after learning that there *is no* good reason (i.e. no probable cause), my attitude completely changed, and the last 5 times they stopped me they haven’t been able get anything out of me, gaijin card or otherwise.

It’s very easy to do this and has worked for me the last 5 times I’ve been stopped: Just keep walking while waiving your hand in front of your face when they show their badge. Waiving your hand in front of your face is Japanese for “I’m not interested, leave me alone”. Don’t make eye contact, don’t say anything, just keep walking and pretend they’re one of those people trying to sell you something. Just KEEP WALKING. One time at a train station, three of them tried to block my path and were very persistent about it and kept asking me in both Japanese and English “Where are you from?” etc., but I just pretended they didn’t exist and finally they just left.

The law says you have to show your ID *ONLY* if they ask for it. “Where are you from?”, “Are you Japanese?”, “Where are you going?”, etc. DOES NOT equal “Show me your gaijin ID.”. Wrong question = no prize. Remember, the law doesn’t require you to answer any of their questions, and they will almost always ask you something like “Where are you from?” before they ask you to show your gaijin ID. So just keep walking.

After the last stop, I decided to step in up a notch and call the police station directly (not 110) and complain after each and every incident from now on. Tokyo Metropolitan Police is broken down into many stations (警察署 keisatsusho) which in turn operate koubans. Remember where you were stopped and call the station that has jurisdiction over that area. I called the Shinjuku station, and was basically given the answer “Just tell them you don’t want to be questioned.”, meaning police questioning is completely VOLUNTARY. For your info, here’s the number for the Shinjuku police station (not kouban): 03-3346-0110

It’s very easy to do this and has worked for me the last 5 times I’ve been stopped: Just keep walking while waiving your hand in front of your face when they show their badge. Waiving your hand in front of your face is Japanese for “I’m not interested, leave me alone”. Don’t make eye contact, don’t say anything, just keep walking and pretend they’re one of those people trying to sell you something. Just KEEP WALKING. One time at a train station, three of them tried to block my path and were very persistent about it and kept asking me in both Japanese and English “Where are you from?” etc., but I just pretended they didn’t exist and finally they just left.

I did that too in for a number of years in Japan and got away with it...but I was eventually arrested for it twice, once in Okayama in Sept. 2008 and again Feb. 2010 in Yokohama because I walked away, walked around j-cops, refused to stop and answer questions and pretended to ignore them and pretend I couldnt understand Japanese.

In Feb. 2010 in Yokohama I was arrested and charged with "obstruction of official police duties" (Koumu'in Shikkou Bougai Hou, or the "Obstruction of a Public Official in the course of his Duties" Law)
and spent 3 days in jail and endured about 25 hours of questioning over those 3 days, they called my employer to inquire if I was employed with them, as well as asked personal character questions about me (which I believe caused my work contract not be renewed in July 2010, as well as a big deduction in my salary for worked missed), they called my j-wife and her mother to the police station to answer questions about me and my character, as well as sign for my release which made them legally responsible for me to appear in court. Papers were sent to the prosecutors office and had I to appear in court the following month where I was found guilty and had to pay a 120,000yen fine. So, maybe the cops in your neck of the woods dont care...but the cops in the area of Yokohama where I live isnt going to allow any gaijin attitude or misbehavior. How cops respond to you and what action they take aginst you is purely ARBITRARY in Japan!! It will be decided by each and every individual cop.....just like dealing with immigration.

My other experience with the j-cops in Okayama City in Sept. 2008 was more serious, where I pretended I didnt understand Japanese and was trying to walk away from them...got nailed for that....they grabbed me and showed me a professionally made flashcard in that said, "Please, accompany us to the police station for further questioning" in english/chinese/korean/russian. During their investigation at the police station...I told them I walked away because, "I didnt understand Japanese and I couldnt speak Japanese" (which they provided me a translator). While I sat in the interrogation room at the police station they went through my cell-phone despite my objections and called my Japanese wife and japanese friends..and asked them, "Does your gaijin (husband)/friend speak Japanese?"...my j-wife/j-friends answer was, "sure, he speaks Japanese really really well!"....I was ARRESTED and CHARGED with "making a false statement and obstruction of an police investigation". Spent more than 24 days in jail (they wouldnt release me until I went to court). I paid a 223,000yen fine (and another 300,000yen in attorney fees). Lost my job over that too. If I didnt have a spouse visa....I would have been kicked out of japan or ran out of money while looking for another job after being released from jail.

BTW: My lawyer mentioned to the judge in court in Okayama how the cops took my phone and viewed ints contents WITHOUT my permission and the police didnt tell me I had the right to remain silent during questioning...the judge said, "if thats true, then the police commited misconduct, but your actions where suspicious and illegal, and their misconduct cannot reverse your crime",...so I was SOL.

I dont like J-cops anymore than anyone else and I dont like being stopped for an ID check. BUT having a recalcitrant and uncooperative attitude will lead you to alot trouble with the j-cops. After my two experiences, Im now cooperative and polite...as before I was difficult and used alot of passive resistance. Putting up with j-cop harrassment is apart of living in Japan for foreigners....if I cant stand it anymore...I can always leave. I spent A of total of 28 days in jail and paid 343,000yen in fines (much more in attorney fees and court fees) for having a "F-you, walk away and ignore you j-cop attitude"...and it also cost me 2 jobs. IT WAS NOT WORTH IT!

BOTTOM LINE:
My advice is to cooperate with the J-cops. Telling people to walk away and ignore the cops is totally irresponsible and flawed. Walking away and ignoring the cops in Japan is NOT a game to be playing here. If you dont like Japan police harrassment, then you should return to the US or Canada or whatever country you come from and play the "walk-a-way and ignore game" with the cops there.

Read:
WHAT TO DO IF...
...you are stopped by the Japanese police.

http://www.debito.org/whattodoif.html#checkpoint

Backs up my experience for acting up with the cops. You better cooperate.

J-cops have the power to detain you for any reason...laws are different for foreigners and j-people and gaijins need to understand that. The cops here have the right to racial profiling and ask for ID...they also have the right to ask any question they want...they have the right to detain you and take you the police station for more questioning. The j-cops can decide right then and there if their questions are VOLUNTARY or NOT, (YOU DO NOT get to decide if their questioning is VOLUNTARY)....if you refuse, they can decide right then and there you are "suspicious" and in need of further investigation. If you do not know that fact, you are in for a very RUDE surprise.

They have the right to call your employer/friends/neighbors/spouse/bank (they called my bank to verify the amount of money had in my account to match my statements, as the cops asked me "How much money is in your bank account?" etc...lots of financial questions....do NOT lie..they will check EVERYTHING). Yes, the cops can and will call the bank and get your banking information without any court documents. How do you think city hall can remove money (for back taxes) from your bank account without notice or your permission or any court documents?? Its not illegal in Japan. Banks are more than happy to cooperate with the cops and government officials. You are a gaijin in Japan...your rights are greatly diminished here. Google it.

Taken from: http://www.debito.org/japantimes072704.html

"A cop may try to take you to a police box."

This means that a cop has the right to ask you to accompany him to
the police box. But you have the right to refuse, and he has no right
to restrict your movements without a formal charge or arrest. This is
not, fortunately, trumped by the Alien Registration Law.

However, please don't misunderstand. I am not advocating that you
give a cop a bad donut day just for the sport of it. Police in Japan
have a lot of discretionary power.

For example, if they feel you are being uncooperative, and that
includes claiming your right to remain silent ("mokuhi ken" -- which
automatically carries a suspicion of guilt here), they can arrest you
for "obstruction of official duties" ("koumu shikkou bougai") and
question you for up to 23 days on a single charge. So don't do this
for fun.

Gaijins should think twice about being uncooperative with j-cops.

No, individual police officers in Japan DO NOT have wide discretionary powers. Since when did any individual working for a large institution in Japan have discretionary powers? They do what they're told. That's why they always ask you the exact same questions when they stop you, in the same way.

I find it hard to believe you were arrested simply for walking away if the officer didn't have a warrant or probable cause to arrest you. In America, you may get arrested for walking away since American police are required to have probable cause to stop you, so if they stop you they believe they have probable cause. In Japan, police can *stop* you, but not *force* you to do anything without probable cause or a warrant. It's called 職務質問 (shokumu-shitsumon) and is VOLUNTARY. However, if they find something on you such as a knife, then suddenly the game changes and they then have probable cause. So I find it extremely hard to believe that you were arrested simply for refusing to answer questions.

There's a difference in asserting your rights and "obstructing official duties". If you had to give permission to every police officer's request or answer every question asked of you, why don't you just give them the keys to your house, wife, and kids?

Ever hear of 任意 (nini - voluntary) and 強制 (kyousei - compulsory)? It categorizes police powers in Japan and police officers are required to follow it very strictly. A police officer coming up to you asking questions such as "Where are you from?" or "Can I search you?" is in 任意 (nini - voluntary) land. Whereas if you let him search you and he finds a knife, you're now in 強制 (kyousei - compulsory) land. Unless a police officer informs you that you're now in 強制 (kyousei - compulsory) land, you ARE free to walk away. You were probably arrested because crossed into 強制 (kyousei - compulsory) land.

The j-cops can decide right then and there if their questions are VOLUNTARY or NOT, (YOU DO NOT get to decide if their questioning is VOLUNTARY).

Really? I thought lawmakers decided this.

The j-cops can decide right then and there if their questions are VOLUNTARY or NOT, (YOU DO NOT get to decide if their questioning is VOLUNTARY)

I don't think anybody said that they themselves decide if police questioning is VOLUNTARY, they said that they're simply asserting a right already decided by law. You don't decide if a green light at an intersection means GO, you simply assert your right to go because by law green = GO. Get it? And by your logic a police officer in Japan can give a traffic ticket for running a GREEN light because he decided that GREEN = STOP?? Think about that for a sec.

So, maybe the cops in your neck of the woods dont care...but the cops in the area of Yokohama where I live isnt going to allow any gaijin attitude or misbehavior.

How is it "gaijin attitude or misbehavior" to exercise your rights? You don't make any logical sense.

I called the Shinjuku station, and was basically given the answer “Just tell them you don’t want to be questioned.”, meaning police questioning is completely VOLUNTARY.

I think this pretty much sums it up if the Shinjuku police station itself is saying this.

Here's a YouTube video showing a prime example of the incompetence of the Japanese police. A guy riding a bicycle gets stopped by a police officer for no reason, which happens a lot in Japan. As the officer is asking him questions (which the guy is under no obligation to answer), we can hear an obvious traffic accident take place in the background just at the corner, and both the police officer and the bicyclist hear it. A reasonable police officer would realize that that was a traffic accident and that people may be injured and need first aid, etc. But no, this cop continues to question the bicyclist as if nothing happened. At 0:25 into the video he even denies that it was a traffic accident. After the bicyclist convinces him to do so, he notifies dispatch of the traffic accident, and then continues to question the bicyclist rather than tending to the possibly injured! This cop neglected to tend to a possibly serious and fatal traffic accident, all so he can perform 職務質問 (voluntary questioning) on a bicyclist!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGFY2EXvYoQ&NR=1

The 7-11 store where it happened in front of is located at 東京都世田谷区代田3-41-8
The road where it happened is 環状七号線 and the intersection where the accident occurred is 宮前橋交差点
Either the Setagaya or the Kitazawa police station have jurisdiction over that location.

the police are a mixture of good and complete jackasses

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