Hokkaido Police G8 anti-terrorism measures: deputizing coke machines with scare posters, police checkpoints in Chitose Airport…


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Hi Blog.  With less than a month to go before the G8 Summit comes to Hokkaido, here’s some information on how the public is being steeled for the event.  I expect things are only going to get worse (like they did for the Sapporo leg of the 2002 World Cup), when walking while White in public is going to be cause for suspicion, with street corner ID checks by overtrained paranoid cops indulging in racial profiling.

Eric Johnston and I have already talked about the oversecuritization for both the Debito.org blog and for the Japan Times.

Here’s the first evidence of that:  Deputized coke machines… (and other places with this poster up; I peeled my copy off the wall at Odori Subway Station):

Here’s a closeup, split into to (the poster is A3 size):



Left-hand slogan:  “For terrorists, the SUMMIT is the perfect opportunity to show their own existence.”

Lower slogan in red:  “JAPAN IS NOT UNCONNECTED TO TERRORISM!” (i.e. is no exception to being a target)

Bottom caption:  “2008 HOKKAIDO TOYAKO SUMMIT: Notify us if you see anyone or anything suspicious.  HOKKAIDO POLICE.”

Poster found in Sapporo Odori Station on May 27, 2008.  Coke machine photos taken June 3, 2008, in a quiet business district of Sapporo Chuo-ku.

As for the visuals, gotta love the soft fat squidgy likeable alert cop (unlike the evil lean gray terrorists).  Good news is that the Japanese police have learned to make the terrorists not ethnic- or foreign-looking.  That’s a positive development, compared to the police’s past poster handiwork.

More on the G8’s effects on Hokkaido residents when information becomes apparent.  Here’s another one, courtesy of Sean, from Kasugai, near Nagoya–a long, long way from the Summit Site (think about 900 kilometers; I don’t remember this radius of security during the Nago Summit 8 years ago).  Received July 9, 2008:

Translation, from what I can make out:


Saluting Policeman: “The police are carrying out policing measures in an attempt to pre-empt international terrorism incidents etc. (nado)”


Sweating housewife:  REPORT TO 110 (the police number, Japan’s equivalent of 911)

Happy nuclear family:  USE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

That’s all I can read.

Another Sapporo resident, Olaf Karthaus, just sent this to The Community on Saturday evening, June 7:

Quick update on police activities related to The Summit

1. increased traffic checks on highways: Beware of new Toyota Crowns in Hokkaido. I have heard that the Hokkaido police got new vehicles for the summit and they are using them now to increasingly check people who speed. So if you see a car that seemingly erratically changes speed, takes over cars, suddenly decelerates and let other cars takes them over, beware.


2. Car checks when on your way to the airport. One lane of the two-lane access street is blocked and police is waving cars down. Dunno how they determine who is going to be flagged. Random?


3. Gaijin card checks at New Chitose airport: Plainclothes policemen (but easy to spot if you look, since they have earphones). I was politely asked (in broken English) to show my passport because of increased security measures for the summit. He immediately and unasked flashed his badge (not stolen or fake? How can I know? Never seen the real thing before). Of course I didn’t carry my passport, so he wanted to see my gaijin card. He put a pen to paper and asked if I mind if he takes down my name. I said yes, I do mind, and he complied. A quick check of the pronunciation of my name, and I was waved through. He told me that these measures will continue until the summit is over. All foreign-looking people will be checked. I still could catch my train (didn’t leave for another few minutes), but I didn’t feel to have enough time to ask him how they determine who is a foreigner and who is not. Also didn’t ask what kind of measures I could take that would ensure that I am waved through quicker (since I have a couple of more trips down south before the summit. I can already imagine the chaos when a full load of foreigners happens to be on my flight. Then I will definitely miss my train!


4. By the way, I was in Yokohama during the Africa Summit two weeks ago. Our conference happened to be in the same complex (Pacifico) as the Summit. Extremely high security (found out that evening from the news that PM Fukuda and the Tenno were there, too), but no gaijincard check whatsoever. And I was going in and out for three consecutive days!


Anyway, the inconvenience is going to increase up here. 🙁  Olaf

There are some more reports down in the comments section of what’s going on elsewhere in Japan as security nationwide tightens.  Debito in Sapporo


UPDATE JUNE 11:  Received posters from Nezu Subway Station, central Tokyo (near Tokyo University):


14 comments on “Hokkaido Police G8 anti-terrorism measures: deputizing coke machines with scare posters, police checkpoints in Chitose Airport…

  • On a business trip to Mie prefecture, I saw signs up at the hotel asking to please cooperate with police because of the summit. Mie is a long way from Hokkaido. You really have to wonder whether local police forces are just using the summit as an excuse to be more invasive than usual.


    Indeed. The Aum cult springs most immediately to mind. Aside from that, though, I can’t really see any reason for these posters — and all the other posters you see everywhere these days. For God’s sake, when I went to the au shop to pick up a new phone the other day there was a similar “special security in effect!” poster, even there. The general movement goes far beyond simply targeting foreigners — it’s a general assault on the sensibilities of the Japanese people. Ironically, what instills terror in the hearts of people is the threat of terrorism — which is being manufactured through anti-terrorism campaigns like these. It’s a bizarre vicious cycle, and it’s too bad to see it happening in an otherwise relatively safe and relaxed society.

  • Mark in Yayoi says:

    Even the Tokyo subways have prominent billingual (J-E) posters telling people that their bags might be searched because of this summit.

    I wonder if train conductors have the legal right to do this. If you refuse, will you simply be barred from the train, or will police be called in?

    –Send us a keitai snap of the posters, or peel one off on the way to work, scan it, and send it to Debito.org? I know a number of reporters who want this information…

  • the only terrorists ever in japan have been only good old home grown terrorists. this terrorists talk by the j-government is the new flavor of the moment in a bid to close all the immigration and human right loopholes, and another way to justify the keystone j-cops budget and big bonus…….

  • I’ll be arriving in Tokyo in about 10 days time for a holiday, so I’m sure I’ll be hit full-force with this stuff… I’ll be sure to document everything I can about it.

  • ThePenguin says:

    The Keio line in Tokyo was running a Japanese message on its electronic display system to the effect that it will be untertaking special measures in cooperation with the Tokyo and Kanagawa police (the prefectures it has stations in, note this list does not include Hokkaido) to act against terrorism… Local koban also has a sign up to the effect that “Your eyes are a vital part of the fight against terror in this district”… Even the drinks vending machine on the corner had a message on its digital POS unit saying “Danger! Look behind you! The terrorists are taking the Calpis!”

    (Actually I made the last one up, but reality is frequently stranger than fiction…)

  • Daniel J. says:

    Is it me, or does it seem that the GOJ seems to actually WANT a terror attack so they can justify their ridiculous actions? Maybe they feel left out of the rest of the world.

  • I went into Nagoya today and saw some bright yellow posters in Japanese and English at Nagoya Station telling everybody there is extra security measures in place on the railways and to ‘Watch Out!’ for terrorist and suspicious activity. I presume they are the same as the ones in Tokyo and elsewhere. When I got back to my local station (20 kms from Nagoya) they had a different poster specifically mentioning the G8 Summit. I don’t have a problem (to a certain extent) with increased security but the poster designs and drawings are ridiculous. They look as though they are aimed at children. I took a photo of the second poster and will send it to you.

    –Here it is!


    Dear David,
    I want to let you know what is happening at entry points to Hokkaido. There are police checking all foreigners. I picked up a friend at Memambetsu airport last week. While I was waiting for my friend to get his bag, a policeman came up to me, showed me his badge and told me that he wanted to check my friend’s passport and asked me if it was alright. I asked him if he was only checking foreigners and he said, “No it’s a random check. We are also checking strange Japanese backpackers.” I told him I wanted to actually SEE him check a Japanese person. His partner was checking a young Japanese and he told me, “See, my partner is checking that guy over there.” The policeman wanted me to translate, but I refused. He wrote down my friend’s passport number and asked how long he was staying and what he was doing. He was polite, but I was rather disturbed because it is a whole month until the summit. On Saturday I met a backpacker who came to Hokkaido by train. He had to change trains in Aomori and he was stopped there by a policeman and asked for his ID.

    It seems to me that they are trying to stop the protesters which usually show up at all the G8 summits. My question is, “Are they going to round up all the foreigners within a 10km radius of the hotel and put them on ships in the Pacific until the meeting is over? Of course I’m being sarcastic, but still I’m rather concerned. There were 2 or perhaps 3 policemen at Memambetsu last week, greeting all the foreigners and “Strange Japanese backpackers”. I bet if you go to Chitose, you’ll be checked.

  • Anonymous says:

    If they are doing that to foreigners randomly, guess what they will do to Muslims at their local few small mosques around Japan? Today another strange Japanese man (we are used to receive those strange people who try to pretend being passers-by, who any child can guess that they are spies for the police or intelligence and not lay people) came to our mosque. He said the most funny and most stupid thing I have ever hared!!!! He said: I am interested to contact Taliban, can you help me with that? Of course, the man who met him simply told him that no one here can help you but the strange man said that he will be back later to ask some others who may be able to help him!!. I can not even guess what and how those people are thinking…

  • I travel to Chitose (Sapporo) once a week via airplane. Every time I leave the baggage area plane close policemen approch me and ask for my ID.

    I suggest that all fellow gaijin give the uncover police a really hard time on this racist check. Here is a bit of what I have been doing:
    1) When I leave the baggage area I am always pretending to be on the phone
    2) When the plain clothes policemen approachs I point to my phone and say I don’t need a taxi and walk fast.
    3) The plainclothes policemen will probably follow you. I shout “henna hito” “shirotaku iranai” as loud as I can and find the nearest uniformed policmen.
    4) I take photos of his IDs
    5) Next time I am going to take a video and post on youtube
    6) I am going to go back to speak them to and file a formal complaint.

    Please give them a really hard time. Just don’t get arrested!

    It really isn’t fair that they are picking just on a gaijin like me who have been here for 18 years, married to a Japanese with kids and who has paid more than enough taxes to employee several policemen for life.

  • Just came back from a one-night stay in a hotel in Kaminoyama, Yamagata prefecture. IT was booked by a Japanese co-worker but he put it under my mates name (a non-Japanese) and there were four of us – 2 NJ 2 Japanese. The staff were very helpful but we (the two NJ) got to the hotel first and were asked if the other two people were also foriengers. On hearing that they were Japanese they told us that we could go to the rooms without having to show passports (which we didn’t have with us being permanent residents). The guy explained to us in very polite Japanese and appearing embarrassed about haivng to ask about the other two people but said it was because of the G8 and the home office had issued strong requests to check all gaijin. It seems a bit odd that we didn’t have to show identification just because we were staying with 2 other Japanese – a loophole for would be activists maybe.

  • So when is this summit over? The hubby and I were thinking of taking our car on the ferry up to Hokkaido for some camping and hiking in August but I don’t want to deal with the nonsense of us being terrorists because we’re OMG TWO WHITE PEOPLE IN A CAR.

    –Should think the system and the aftermath will be reasonably clear by July 15…


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