NPA targeting NJ zones, “to ensure safety”. (Oh, and to prevent crime.)

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Hi Blog. Read this and then I’ll comment:
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Police to take measures for safety in foreign communities in Japan

TOKYO —The National Police Agency on Thursday ordered prefectural police forces across Japan to implement crime prevention measures to ensure safety in areas where many foreigners reside. The police will sponsor seminars on crime prevention and road traffic safety in foreign communities based on comprehensive basic guidelines compiled for the safety of such communities, the NPA said.

The police will also join hands with local government organizations, business corporations and citizen groups in implementing crime prevention measures, the NPA said, adding that they will monitor employment conditions in foreign communities as factors that may induce crime. The guidelines are based on an action program the government’s anticrime council worked out last December to help build a crime-free society and make Japan the world’s safest country again.

The latest measures are designed to enable foreigners in Japan to live a better life, as well as to prevent organized crime groups and terrorists from sneaking into certain foreign communities to plot crimes, an NPA official said.

ENDS
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COMMENT:  Oh yes, safety.  Like instituting IC Chips in Gaijin Cards because it will “make things more convenient” for NJ.  It’s for our own good.  We’ve heard that one before.  And we didn’t buy it then.

As for the “action program worked out last December” in the article above, this is not phrased well, because these things have been worked out before, repeatedly.   The first anti-crime action plans this decade happened 2000-2001 before the World Cup 2002 with all manner of “anti-hooligan” measures.  Then came the “anti-NJ and youth crime” programs under Koizumi 2003-2004.  Then came the anti-terrorism plans of 2004 which resulted in passport checks (for all NJ, erroneously claimed the police) at hotels from 2005.  Not to mention the al-Qaeda scares of 2004, snapping up innocent people of Islamic appearance.  Then the border fingerprinting from 2007.  Then the overpolicing during the Toyako G8 Summit of 2008.  Now what?  The “anti-NJ-organized crime” putsch in the NPA’s most recent crime report (see Debito.org entry of last week), with little reference to the Yakuza organized crime syndicates in Japan.  

And that’s before we even get to the biannual reports from the NPA saying “foreign crime is rising” (even when it isn’t).  Never lets up, does it.

And this is, again, for our safety?  Traffic safety?  Helping us lead a better life?  Save us from ourselves?

How about giving us jobs (which according to Ekonomisuto March 10, 2009, some local governments are doing on a temporary basis; more on that next week), not more community targeting and policing “for our own good”?

Same old song and dance.  Bureaucrats are remarkably uncreative when it comes to policy justifications.  And the media remarkably dimwitted in not seeing through them.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

16 comments on “NPA targeting NJ zones, “to ensure safety”. (Oh, and to prevent crime.)

  • It’s all coming together like a “horror puzzle” of sorts. Consolidate, no matter how inconvenient that may be, NJ registration, visas, RFID chips in gaijin cards, fingerprinting, and now “organized crime” watches sponsored by the NPA!! Looks like a damn police state. What will happen when the “puzzle” is complete?
    Sometimes I think the only way the media would portray an NJ in a truly positive light is if he or she were to save the Emperor from an untimely demise!!!

    — Well, some years back we did have the case where a South Korean died trying to save a drunk guy who fell off a train platform… very positive press over that (with stress on his nationality). (trying to track down an article on that, anyone else find it, please send a link…)

  • I’m tempted to go to one of these seminars for the comedy value.

    IF they ever happen, and IF they ever bother telling us gaijin about it
    (after all, they know where we live) and IF they schedule them at a time when
    anyone with a job could actually attend.

    If you go, be sure to bring the NPA own stats in a printout, if they
    even think of claiming that “gaijin crime is rising”, throw it in their face.

    Hey, maybe they’ll give us a “chance” to rat out any illegal overstayers and mobsters we happen to know as part of the “safety”?

  • “The guidelines are based on an action program the government’s anticrime council worked out last December to help build a crime-free society and make Japan the world’s safest country again.”

    Why does this stink like yesterdays garbage? How can anyone trust the NPA since they don’t report crime fairly? I can’t see one reason why they are targeting foreigners since there are so few of us. Maybe they should be tracking down the people who cut their husbands into pieces and leave them in Tokyo city parks. Better yet, the guy who killed that Nova teacher and somehow the police can’t track down the suspect.

  • I find the NPA are just labeling things differently so they seem a little less anti-foreigner. But in actual fact we know they are just trying to keep an eye on us. If you know what I mean…

  • I get the feeling that this is not to ‘protect foreigners’ but ‘protect Japanese people from foreigners’.

  • I read this article yesterday and the first thing I thought was the witch hunt has begun again.
    I, however, want to believe, that through seminars in foreign communities, the police really wants not only to prevent the NJ crimes, but also to prevent crimes against NJs.
    The truth is that many people who come from countries with high crime rate feel too safe in Japan and easily become victims of crimes or find themselves involved in crimes, mostly because of their ignorance. I myself was such victim, and I think that if there was such seminar at the time I arrived, I’d be more aware of the types of crimes in Japan, and be able to protect myself.
    How would a newcomer in Japan know this extremely polite nice lady who is selling him something at the door isn’t defrauding him? How would he know that the cheap stuff offered him by some kind and very polite Japanese isn’t stolen?How would a foreign student who is offered a part-time as a waiter or waitress know that he/she isn’t breaking the law by working in a mizu-shoubai place, or that he/she might be working for yakuza. Or people from countries where the laws about cannabis aren’t that strict, how would they know that in Japan the law is much more severe?
    I welcome such seminars, unless they don’t focus only on NJ crimes, but on crimes at all, and their aim is to help foreigners to understand the rules of the Japanese society and to show us the best way to live a safe and pleasant life in Japan.

    — Somebody please attend one of these seminars in future, and give us a report! 🙂

    BTW, what crime was perpetrated against you?

  • Norik has some good points,

    Perhaps such a seminar would be a good place to ask questions about how the police plan to change their attitude.

    “When my blonde female co-worker was attacked by 3 Japanese while walking home from work at night [because most eikaiwa teachers work until 9PM] and she reported the incident to the police, why did they yell at HER, scold HER for walking alone at night, and never do anything about it?”

    or

    “When a psychotic stalker has been after another co-worker for months, and the police do nothing. Until the day when he attacks her in class, then the police show up, talk the the dude, and SEND HIM HOME, no arrest, no jail. Why did they do that?”

    No these are not friend-of-a-friend stories. These are only 1 degree of separation.

    Though I have a good 2 degree of separation story, too.

    Innocent gaijin cleaning house. Drunk Japanese barges into his open apartment [cleaning] and complains about the noise and starts to hit him. Gaijin runs to conbini to get help, drunk follows him and keeps attacking. Combini staff call police. Police come. Police propmtly slap handcuffs on the gaijin! Combini staff explain to J cops that the drunk screaming Japanese guy, and not the gaijin cowering in fear with bloody injuries to his face, is the actual culpirt. Cops say “sorry” and uncuff gaijin, then arrest Japanese guy.
    [And probably send him home after a chat at the koban.]

    Bsically, one big question.
    “In my experience, if a gaijin is a victim, the police either don’t help at all, or just let the Japanese off with verbal warning where a gaijin would be spending 23 days in a holding cell, or worse, assume the gaijin victim is the criminal. Why is that, and what do you plan to do to bring your attitudes into the 20th, let alone 21st century?”

  • We should all attend these seminars, for sure. I’ve got a lot of questions I’d like to ask myself. Frankly, in my near decade in this country, the vast majority of times I’ve felt unsafe was when being eyed suspiciously by a cop (or being harassed by one). Anyway, it will be interesting to see what sort of content the seminars have.

  • Word!

    That Korean guy (student) who was killed by the train trying to save that Japanese guy will be forever remembered a true hero!

    My experience here in Saitama with the police has actually been very pleasant and one officer in particular has gone out of his way to be helpful, multiple times. But I would like to talk about the point, “places where foreign residents live”. From what I understand, the city hall does not give the NPA specific info on foreigners living in any jurisdiction. Privacy rights. So how does the NPA determine where they will set up these seminars? Targeting kabukicho would be a joke. So should I wait for the police to come to my door to give me an ivitation to my local setsumeikai for personal safety, or will it come in the mail? Will i need to bring ID to attend? And then which gov’t dept should I name in my lawsuit when I sue for illegal disclosure of my residency status and location?

  • at first I thought this seminar story was just another waste of my tax money. but after thinking more about it, and reading the other comments I believe that these safety seminars are long overdue. I plan to go if these seminars are offered in the yakuza infested city of osaka where I live..
    then I can give the police a pieace of my mind about how I feel, about the need for more police accountability and oversight in the way that they conduct there so called police activities. they also need to be more responsible when they carry out there airport ID checks (I was a recent victim of one of these racial profileing checks at itami airport last week)..

  • “The police will also join hands with local…citizen groups in implementing crime prevention measures”

    Will FRANCA be involved? 🙂

    — We’ll try. 😉 It would be interesting to see what the agenda is.

  • Onthe question:

    BTW, what crime was perpetrated against you?

    Briefly said, robbery. I lost 100,000 yen just 2-3 months after I came to Japan because I lowered my guard too much. The problem is that I knew who took the money, but all Japanese I asked for help at that time told me that it is entirely my fault, I should have been more careful and the police wouldn’t help me too. One Japanese even mentioned that if I went to the police the thief would decide to “shut me up”and I’ll end up like Lucy Blackman- a case still fresh at that time(I didn’t know about Lucy Blackman before that).”No one will find you. Is it worth risking your life for 100,000yen”, she said.
    Had I known that Japanese steal, defraud, assault/grope/rape women, and comit many other crimes just like in any other country;that Japan is not a pink safe paradise the way it was described to me before comming to Japan, maybe I’d be as careful as I was in my own country.

  • “…as well as to prevent organized crime groups and terrorists from sneaking into certain foreign communities to plot crimes..”

    Ah, so they will eliminate all the yakuza now will they??..and all the home grown terrorist groups, since there are non other in Japan?

    I was stopped at a routine police check 2 nights ago. Everyone was being stopped. The asked me had i been drinking…er…on….and that was it…thank you, and good night!

    What utter incompetence. No please breathe into the bag/tube to prove it…..ah, but there you are, proof is meaningless, only confession count! Hence a yes is guilty, a no is innocence. Maybe i should have spluttered and slurred my words….i wonder what he would have done then?

    As if anyone who is drunk and driving is going to say yes!…just say no…kind of reminds of a catchy tune from years in the US ago….hahaha

  • I have to wonder if this is being so reported because it appeared in English newspapers, ie to tell the foreigners what they want to hear. Today I rode the Yamanote line and apparently the 警視庁 has spent a lot of money (our tax yen, I suppose) on advertising: every advertisement, both inside and outside the train, on every car were about the police and their various activities for preventing crime. I did not notice any particular mention regarding foreigners. It would appear to be a major campaign, regardless of the foreigners.

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