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  • World Cup 2014: Held in Brazil, but causes tightened police security in Tokyo due to alleged possibility of “vandalism”

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on June 12th, 2014

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    Hi Blog. As you probably know, the World Cup kicked off today. I found today’s Brazil vs. Croatia match a rather lackluster performance by the favored Brazilian team.  And for the record, I especially disliked ESPN’s announcer pointing out that the ref, who called the crucial penalty kick on questionable grounds, is a Japanese (insinuating he made the bad call BECAUSE he’s a Japanese), as it’s completely irrelevant.  Bad form, ESPN.

    But what you probably didn’t know is that back in Japan, the Japanese police are back up to their old tricks of linking foreigners anywhere in the world to domestic crime. Get a load of this:

    Police to flood Shibuya as Japan kicks off World Cup campaign
    The Japan Times NATIONAL JUN 11, 2014
    Comments at the JT at

    Tokyo police will deploy about 800 officers in the Shibuya area Sunday to control crowds and reduce jams, noise and possible vandalism as Japan faces Cote d’Ivoire in the opening round of soccer’s World Cup.

    “We expect considerable congestion with soccer fans, shoppers and tourists,” a spokesman for the Metropolitan Police Department said Wednesday. “We will take necessary security measures to ensure a smooth traffic flow, control the congestion and prevent trouble.”

    Officers will be deployed around the main scramble intersection outside Shibuya Station, as well as in the Hachiko statue square and several adjacent streets where bars and cafes are likely to have the match playing on TVs. There will also be several public viewing spots in the area.

    The police presence will last from 10 a.m., when the match kicks off, until 2 p.m., the spokesman said.

    On an average day, 2.26 million passengers pass through Shibuya Station.

    “It depends on the degree of congestion, but officers will direct the crowd of soccer fans not to flock to one area,” the spokesman said.

    The police have no plans yet to cordon off areas or enforce traffic controls, he said.

    The crossing in front of Shibuya Station attracts soccer fans every time Japan plays an international match, leading to rowdy, good-natured revelry.

    COMMENT: Sooo…. once again we see the bad precedents established by bringing any major international event to Japan.  I’ve written before on the bad precedents set by, for example, the G8 Summits (where foreigners anywhere in Japan, even hundreds of miles away in Hokkaido!, are cause for NPA crackdowns in the capital).  And also the same with the 2002 World Cup, where the media was whipped into a frenzy over the possible prospect of “hooligans” laying waste to Japan and siring unwanted babies from rapes (seriously).  This time, in 2014, the games are thousands of miles away in Brazil.  But the NPA has still gotta crack down!  Who knows what those Ivory Coasters might get up to!  The paranoia, bunker mentalities, even outright falsification of data in order to justify a more-policed Japan are reaching ever more ludicrous degrees.  How immature this all is.  Dr. ARUDOU Debito


    11 Responses to “World Cup 2014: Held in Brazil, but causes tightened police security in Tokyo due to alleged possibility of “vandalism””

    1. Edward J. Cunningham Says:

      I’m sorry that people in Japan have to deal with this crap even when Japan isn’t actually hosting the World Cup.

    2. Irezumi_Aniki Says:

      Is this really foreigner related? There was mad chaos in Shibuya during the 2010 World Cup.

      Same in 2012. I remember news reports from Sukkiri!! and Tokudane blaming drunken Japanese kids/salarymen for the problems that took place.

      — Thanks for these. “Problems”? I see nothing there that is worrisome. I was at one of these spontaneous outdoor releases (which are really very rare in Japan) with two bottles of wine in me the night that England vs. Argentina took place in Sapporo (2002). It was the same good-natured revelry both here and there. I’m just glad that some of the drunken antics did NOT involve any Visible Minorities, because they would not have been dealt with in the same measured way by the police did in the nights depicted in these videos. As we keep on seeing in NPA overreactions to anything “foreign”, cops would quickly surround the person(s) as a phalanx and very physically subdue and cart them off; none of this gently cajoling them like the drunks were in these videos to stand up and put their clothes back on. Again, the police fear anything they cannot control. Yet even this degree of “out of controlness” was nothing riotous.

    3. James Says:


      There is nothing in this article that indicates that the police are targeting foreigners…

      — You’re missing my point. I’m talking about the bad precedents set by targeting NJ during past international events…

    4. Irezumi_Aniki Says:

      Yeah, no real problems, but the world “problem” is all relative. It was made out in the media to be a large mess and that’s probably why the police are upping their presence in the area for the time being. Speculation on my part though.

      Slightly unrelated, but my boss loves to bring up a Beat Takeshi (?) quote whenever we’re talking about our customers and Japanese/fads in general:

      「赤信号 みんなで渡れば 怖くない」 “It’s not scary if we all cross during a red light”

      Going along with your “the police fear anything they cannot control” comment — which is hard to disagree with — and that sort of mentality, I can see why they’d feel the need to deploy 800 additional officers. Thousands of drunks celebrating together could potentially turn nasty. If all my boys and the surrounding revelers were drunk with me, I wouldn’t even be able to see that red light. I don’t think they’d be able to see it either. That’s something the police definitely can’t control and something they should fear. But I digress.

    5. Jim di Griz Says:

      @ Irezumi_aniki

      I think the problem is that the police are deployed because it’s the world cup, and the misplaced connotations that the police have about rowdy NJ soccer fans in Japan.
      After all, they didn’t feel the need to deploy extra cops during the winter Olympics, did they?
      But, after all, soccer is one of those dangerous foreign ideas, imported from abroad, and therefore must be controlled, because Japanese people enjoying soccer and getting drunk in the street is automatically seen as a bad effect of non-Japanese culture eroding Japan’s unique culture of heiwa.

    6. Andrew in Saitama Says:

      If my memory serves me correctly, the 2002 World Cup produced some vandalism, exposure and general disruptions at the hands of “overly enthused Japanese supporters”. (They would only have been “hooligans” if they had been identified as NJ, but I digress)

      I imagine the Tokyo Police Dept. sees crowds at night as an indesirable thing and don’t want deaths or desctruction on their watch. (I’m thinking of the Edogawa fireworks a couple of years ago and the police crowd management there)

      As Debito has said so many times, once the populace becomes used to a police presence to keep the NJs under control, it is easier to have the police there to keep the Js under control.

      @ Irezumi_Aniki #2:
      If Tokudane and Sukkiri! are blaming Japanese, it MUST be a problem! (given these programs tendencies to link NJs and social disorder/crime)

    7. Baudrillard Says:

      Are they going to deputize oyaji to stand on every street corner again? Seriously this “part time kempeitai informer” system is seriously paranoid, paranoia inducing (oh, how 21st C Tokyo) and borderline harassment.

      Of women and children too. Had one coming to the door and telling my (NJ) GF she was “Kawaii”. This is just not professional, just read the damn meter and leave us alone.

      Ditto the one in Shinagawa who literally waits ALL DAY on the corner to make sure the young kids from the school up the road cross the street safely (Ostensibly, that is his job role) in the morning, lunch, and at home time. But he literally stands there, at the end of our street the whole time.

      It just is not fair. If an NJ did that the local neighborhood busybodies would probably feel “fuan” and call the cops, but not so the oyaji.They are made allowance for in Japan.

    8. Blackrat Says:

      @ Andrew in Saitama:

      I clearly remember 2002. There was one incident where a drunken Japanese fan broke a plate glass window because he couldn’t get a ticket. I can’t recall any incidents of crimes committed by NJs. There was, however an incident where some hats were stolen. That was also apparently not related to NJs.

      Fast forward to 2014. I am not particularly a fan of football, in spite of being British. However, I dropped in one of my local bars to see what was happening on Sunday morning. Somebody stole MY hat while I wasn’t looking. They were definitely not NJ. Oh well, the more things change and all that.

      @ Jim Di Griz – since when was Japanese people being drunk on the street anything new!

    9. Becky Says:

      It’s too bad one of those “busybodies” wasn’t around when this poor little girl was getting the spit kicked out of her in Shibuya Station, by her own mother. By the way, I’ve seen far worse … in Japan.

    10. Jim di Griz Says:

      @Becky #9

      Thanks for posting that link!
      It is shocking, but from reading the Japan Times, I’ve seen that pretty much everyday in Japan a parent/step parent beats a child to hospital, or kills them.
      I guess video helped this case get international coverage, which is needed to blow away the myth of ‘safe and harmonious Japan’.

      — Child abuse in public isn’t the point of this blog entry. Let’s get back on track.

    11. Baudrillard Says:

      @ Becky, was there any coverage by the Japanese media? As this incident took place in Shibuya I am kind of disappointed in the Shibuya oyaji busybodies gang werent there to enforce the “rules” but again, would they get involved? The pervading culture of misogyny and the idea that child rearing is women’s work/domain only suggests they wouldnt do much.They wouldnt know what to do. Thus
      (note-or ignore- the rose tinted western take on Abe here).

      The busybodies are only good for enforcing, bullying their World, their “This is Japan” on the naive, the disempowered, the NJs. They may claim they are being socially responsible, but they are only interested in pushing their idea of “good manners” etc.

      But at least one guy in the clip on the link had the guts to shout at the woman to stop. Kicking her kid in the head went too far.

      Fear probably plays a factor too in paranoid Tokyo (and no, I will not accept the comparative argument that any big city breeds paranoia, I have never seen in other cities the level of paranoid behavior I witness in or experience in Tokyo). Fear that they might get accused by something, fear its a scam etc etc.

      There is no social cohesion or responsibility. A forgone conclusion, the decision has already been made, just going thru the motions, a stagnant non communicative society with no meaningful dialog at all levels- other than the tatemae lip service to the team, the group. You said on the Ichiro thread said he was basically anti social. And yet he is the heroic product of this society- someone doing his own thing. It is hardly surprising. I am glad he found an outlet, and thousands of herbivores are also enjoying their hobbies.

      In an anti social, inert society where everyone does his/her own thing, there can be no strong opposition. The bullies, the traditional power elite get default free reign to interpret reality as they please (foreign crime wave?) and impose rules as they want. Hence the increased police presence.

      Hell, what attracted me to come to Japan in the first place was precisely this; I wanted to be left alone.But the price is ultimately too high.
      You shut up and dont question anything, your freedom is your hobby, and thats how the authorities like it, the “wa”, the harmony.

      The Silence (of the Sheeple).

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