Monday, July 6, 2009

Won't Miss #5 - police harrasssment

The police in Japan have broad and vaguely defined powers. The laws are sometimes intentionally contradictory to allow the police to act in an arbitrary fashion should they choose to do so. The police routinely target foreigners for (not so) random bicycle theft and identification checks and also search the baggage (backpacks, briefcases, handbags, etc.) of both Japanese and foreign people alike at big traffic areas for knives or other weapons in an overreaction to the random stabbings which have occurred with increasing frequency in Japan. Lately, they've also been drug testing foreigners without cause.

I won't miss being at the mercy of a police force that doesn't have to respect the rights of its citizens and non-citizens.


  1. Oh my god! I didn't no that they check everyone and especially foreigenrs that easy! I live in japan for one year and never had been checked..

    1. I think it really does depend on the area. In some places, the police harass foreigners a lot. In others, they don't trouble them. A lot of it depends on what you look like. Asian foreigners in Japan (Koreans, Chinese, etc.) don't get bothered so much (just as they don't get stared at on trains either) unless they talk and can be overheard. Black and white people are much more likely to be bothered because they are so obviously not Japanese.

      Thank you for reading!


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