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  • Tokyo police raiding Roppongi, stopping NJ on Tokyo streets for urine tests (UPDATED)

    Posted by arudou debito on June 30th, 2009

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    Hi Blog. Followup to last May’s blog entry. After the recent scandals with Sumo Wrestlers (J & NJ) smoking pot (and the wrestlers blaming it on Roppongi foreigners), I’ve been receiving reports that Tokyo police profilings of NJ are further stretching the boundaries.

    According to Debito.org readers and GaijinPot, NJ are being stopped on Tokyo streets for urine tests:

    Submitter HC wrote to me the following, with followup email when I asked for dates and times:

    On Jun 17, 2009, at 11:18 PM, HC wrote:

    hello debito, my friend and i have been stopped by police in shibuya and he, a foreigner, was asked for a urine sample. apparently it was a drug test.

    the test result was negative, but my question is: is it legal to be stopped by police for that? can we refuse to give a sample?

    btw. your page is amazing, thank you for so much work!

    ============

    hello debito,

    I think its getting common now, at least weekends at entertainment districts in Tokyo.
    In our case it it was 2 weeks ago, Saturday night, about 23:30 in Shibuya, not far from station.
    Just got stopped on the street and asked to provide a sample at the police station.

    It seems that its not the only case, as i found more cases:

    http://forum.gaijinpot.com/showthread.php?p=814224

    Hello I’ve been in japan about a year now, and live near roppongi. In the past couple of weeks, police have been stopping late night/early morning revellers when they are leaving bars and clubs, and asking them to provide urine samples. Essentially they are testing for drug use/abuse. Whilst i have nothing to hide, i cant help but think this is an invasion of my personal liberty/human rights. It also concerns me that things are quite easily added to drinks without people knowing much about it.

    its not much surprise, that out of the 40 or 50 that i saw being pulled on fri night, all bar one were gaijin. I just wondered if they are within their rights to be doing this? thanks

    Do we have a right to say “NO” to the request for an urine sample?


    The answer is, obviously, yes, you have the right to refuse. More on your rights dealing with Japanese cops here.

    Meanwhile, according to Japan Probe, last weekend saw another raid on Roppongi:

    June 26th, 2009 by James
    Last night, a task force of some 220 police and immigration officers descended upon the Roppongi area of Tokyo, tightening their crackdown on illegal activities by foreigners in that neighborhood… The massive force managed to make a grand total of 6 arrests: 5 foreign hostesses and 1 Indian suspected of visa violations.


    http://www.japanprobe.com/?p=11055
    Are things like this happening to other readers of Debito.org? Arudou Debito in Sapporo

    UPDATE JULY 1, 2009
    Hi Blog. It’s confirmed. Called Asabu Police Station today (03-3479-0110(代表)) in Roppongi and talked to an officer Teshima. He admitted that yes, they are carrying out urine tests on people. He denied that they were targeting foreigners, but he refused to divulge what sort of criteria they use to select their testees. Separate blog entry on this by midnight tonight. Arudou Debito

    62 Responses to “Tokyo police raiding Roppongi, stopping NJ on Tokyo streets for urine tests (UPDATED)”

    1. Massimo Says:

      These news are really creepy.

      I do understand for checking car/bike drivers but pedestrians ?
      And moreover, the majority of all of those checked, NJ ?
      I wonder if it is constitutional…

      Well, I do hope these are just rumours.

    2. KG Says:

      Debito how can you refuse a urine test?

      They stop you for being suspected of *insert anything* and if you fail to comply then you can be arrested for not cooperating?

      The SMAP guy had his urine tested and his apartment searched after his arrest for naked whilst drunk and famous.

      In the case of the two Canto-pop stars arrested in Shibuya (for suspected shoplifting) the guy who had a cannabis cigarette in his possession admitted it but both he and his girlfriend had urine samples taken and hotel rooms searched…

      http://thestandard.com.hk/news_detail.asp?we_cat=11&art_id=79593&sid=23112925&con_type=1&d_str=20090316&fc=1

      I do understand that I am referring to a bad example (as the girlfriend who could have been just an innocent was actually more guilty) but what are the actual laws on stopping and searching?

      – There is the issue of probable cause, no? Being foreign while walking out of a bar (lacking drunk and disorderly conduct) is hardly that. This is not a mere ID check. This is a piss check. Which is not covered by the law. Is what I would argue back. It’s worth making the argument just to see how it’s dealt with.

    3. Drew Says:

      My dojo, on Roppongi Crossing, offers classes starting at 5:45am, so I am often found parking my motorbike near Roppongi starting at about 5:30am. About a month ago, I rode my bike past a couple of cops, who seemed to take no notice of me until I took off my helmet and they could see my face. At this point they made a beeline for me and went through my bike’s luggage compartment, as well as my pockets (they made me put my hands up and they went through my pockets themselves). When they asked me my nationality and I told them “Canadian”, they said “Mmm, I hear that marijuana is pretty popular in Canada”, implying that they figured that I probably had some.

      It certainly would have been a humiliating experience, had it been on the main crossing, rather than on a quiet deserted side street at 5:30am. Even so, it was inconvenient.

      – It was also racial profiling.

    4. Doug Says:

      Although I no longer visit Roppongi or Shibuya – been over 4 years since I last was there – if this is true it is a travesty.

      Does anyone know for a fact that this is happening to non Japanese only? I think this is an extremely important question.

      If so, this falls in the “last straw” category for remaining in and staying connected to Japan. If in fact only non Japanese are being stopped, and asked for samples of body fluids when the only basis for suspicion is being foreign, I would have to say that Japan has tipped the balance and has now gone beyond tolerable for foreigners. If it is in fact true that only non Japanese are being stopped I do not think this is an over reaction.

      I have been able to tolerate the random ID checks, being stopped on a bike and questioned by the cops, etc. but this seems to be over the top and extreme and would definitely warrant legal action.

      It seems that from the news on this blog (and from other sources) things have actually gotten much worse in the last 2 years. Does anyone else feel this?

      What is even more discouraging is the fact that I am not surprised by this, which is even more scary. Do others share the same reaction?

      It is one thing for a small group of people in a country to exhibit racist or xenophobic traits, however when the government and the police (with their power to detain and arrest) constantly exhibit these tendencies it makes one ask, “Is it really worth staying in Japan?”

      As I question more frequently why I stay in Japan and why I remain connected it is getting much harder to rationalize. I have a business here but I am not married to a Japanese so I must admit my connection to Japan does not extend as far as many others on this board (I know Debito-san is a citizen and others are married to Japanese citizens) so maybe it is easier for me to walk away. But, I am still curious. Why do we stay? I am also wondering if others with more concrete connections to Japan (those that have nationalized or those married to Japanese spouses) are starting to ask the same questions?

      In many ways I think Japan is an excellent nation (it has flaws too as we all know) but I am starting to think it is an excellent place if you are Japanese, not if you are foreign and wish to have a long term connection to the country.

      – Don’t overreact yet. Let’s see if we can get some confirmation somehow that this is happening, get a reporter on it. That’s what this blog entry is for, to see if we can get conclusive evidence from cyberspace. Anyone with time to phone the NPA?

    5. Tornadoes28 Says:

      This is insane. So if you are walking down the street, they are asking random NJ for urine samples? What, do they put a curtain around you on the sidewalk and ask you to pee in a cup? This does not sound right. If this is true, can you please provide something more then a comment from a reader or a Gaijinpot post.

      If this is true, it better be illegal. If true but legal, then Japan is royally screwed up.

    6. MB Says:

      They have no real justification for demanding it. It seems like another attempt to take a [poke] at foreigners.

    7. Marc Says:

      Why they don’t bother yakusa and chinpira?
      [unsubstantiated assertion deleted]

    8. jim Says:

      yes things are starting to get more strange over here in japan. this comment maynot be related but I need some advice because yesterday in Osaka I tried to get a rental car from a company over here and they refused me because they told me that they no longer rent cars to foreignors with internation driving permits. this really blew me away since I have a valid international driving permit and I have used it several times before at different rental car dealers but this place told me point blank that they wont accept foreignors with international driving permit, so then I ask why not? and they told me the famous standard answer over here, ready? (Because this is japan, so its are choice) unbelieveable, I need help in Osaka

      – This is too much of a tangent from this blog entry. We’re talking about police power, not car rental refusals. Stay on topic.

      And get a domestic license, already. You’ve been here long enough, Jim. This might be the reason why you’re being refused:
      http://www.keishicho.metro.tokyo.jp/1/azabu/kotu/kotu5.htm

    9. adamw Says:

      i think youd have to be mad to agree to this..
      quite apart from the invasion of personal liberties,i would not trust the japanese police not to either mix up/or change a negative test to a positive if they have quotes to fill

    10. adamw Says:

      also,why are people going down the koban like good little foreigners??

      as faras i know,the police have no legal right to make you go to the koban unless they arrest you,which they havent been doing..

      there seems to be too much just blindly doing as told by the police rather than questioning it..

    11. HO Says:

      How many people here believe this story? I do not. As Debito pointed out, we will see if it is true.

      Japanese police do not have any power to force a urine test even if there is probable cause. A police officer has to ask a judge to issue a warrant first. Then he can force a urine test based on the warrant. So, if a police officer asks for a urine test, ask him if he has a warrant issued by a judge addressed to you. If he does not, you can walk away.

      Furthermore, Japanese police do not have power to arrest people even if there is probable cause. An officer needs a warrant issued by a judge to arrest people, except in case of ‘genkohan taiho’ or ‘kinkyu taiho’. The two exceptions are tricky, but generally speaking they have much less power than US police. So do not be afraid of them.

      – Thanks for the advice, HO. What’s the question for “Do you have a warrant?” in Japanese, for our readers?

      As for police power, you still seem stuck in the “powerless Japanese police” theories about law enforcement in Japan. Sorry, I don’t believe that is the case, and there’s plenty of precedent on Debito.org to back it up.

    12. Justin Says:

      Sounds like the best way to get this practice stopped would be to expose it in other countries’ media and embarrass Japan. Japan never stops doing the crazy stuff it does “behind closed doors” until other countries force it to through widespread cultural condemnation.

      I think a few complaints from other countries’ ambassadors to Japan about this racist practice, which is illegal even by Japan’s own rules on when police are allowed to conduct searches, would shut it down in short order.

      – Wait until we get final confirmation that this is happening.

    13. Jav Says:

      All I have to say, is aim poorly, make as much mess as possible without being too obvious, you are
      after all slightly intoxicated on alcohol. See how long they want to keep cleaning the mess………ha ha

    14. James Says:

      couple of comments

      1. marijuana popular in Canada. I would say that it is very popular among visiting Japanese tourists and J-police on holiday.
      2. What’s to prevent our friends in blue from adding a little something to the pee cup…especially next time debito visits roppongi?

    15. HO Says:

      > What’s the question for “Do you have a warrant?” in Japanese, for our readers?

      令状はありますか。Reijou wa arimasuka?

      This will fend off most of the nuisance.

      – One would hope. Thanks for it.

    16. Mark in Yayoi Says:

      On March 20 of this year, at 4:46 AM on my way home from work, I was explicitly accused of carrying drugs (and/or knives) in my bag by a young trainee cop who spoke to me as if I were a young child, or mentally incompetent.

      I mentioned it here on debito.org at the time:

      http://www.debito.org/?p=2806

      I’m sure a few Japanese people will come out and say that it’s happened to them also, so foreigners shouldn’t be accusing the cops of discrimination, but that doesn’t make it right either way. There’s no excuse for this harassment of innocent people.

    17. iago Says:

      They’re certainly targeting Japanese as well. In Shibuya, and there’s been a marked increase in groups of poice on the streets, stopping and searching people. Outside of Don Quixote seems to be a favorite target. I’ve seem them in Yoyogi Park also. Usually three or four policeman surrounding a young male as one of them goes through his bag. It’s always been Japanese young males when I’ve seen it, but this is early in the evening usually. Five or six O’clock. I did see a group of them checking out some of the dodgy, dark-windowed cars that park up around there, also.

      If they are taking samples in Roppongi, I wonder if it’s only males who are being stopped?

      I haven’t been stopped yet. I assume it’s a numbers game and it’s just a matter of time.

      – There’s still a marked difference between a bag search and a urine sample…

    18. adamw Says:

      thanks to Ho for the advice on pee tests,but

      what about bag searches ??
      i thought that wasnt allowed either

    19. Esiliato Says:

      Hi Debito. Some days ago I went to report the theft of my bike to the Koban. They were nice and everything but they asked my inkan to officialize the report. I hadn’t brought it with me so they went for my fingerprint(s). I obviously refused and asked if a simple sign was ok. They were in disbelief, stating that Japanese people also does the same. I went home to get my inkan obviously. The questions are: “can they ask for fingerprints without any reason”? “Can they force you to bring inkan instead of letting you use a simple ball pen?”
      See you

    20. E Says:

      I posted something before but it hasn’t been uploaded yet. I will repeat in short here. I reported a theft to a Koban and they asked me for my fingerprints to officialize it (no inkan with me). They refused to let me just sign. Is this legal? Thank you

      – Like most things the police ask your permission to do, once you grant it, it’s probably legal.

    21. iago Says:

      “– There’s still a marked difference between a bag search and a urine sample…”

      I don’t doubt it. Wasn’t really my point.

      Wait. Because I said “they’re targeting Japanese as well,” you wrote me off as an apologist, right?
      OK. Consider me written off.

      – Er, no. We were talking about urine samples. You were talking about bag searches. Sorry, wasn’t writing you off.

    22. Matt Baker Says:

      “HO Says:
      June 30th, 2009 at 11:46 am
      How many people here believe this story? I do not. As Debito pointed out, we will see if it is true.”

      it was me who posted the thread on GP. it was me who had several friends tested that night, and it was me who watched as they took away at least another 50 people.

      unfortunately, i was unable to take picture to prove it, but one of the guys i know who was tested, was initially released and told he was clear, the police then re-arrested him at his flat a week later and told him that the test was actually positive, even though i have no reason to believe it was. he has now been deported back to NZ even though he had no bad history and all his papers etc were in order.

      i still struggle to comprehend the situation can occur in a “civilised” country

      – Thanks for posting here. Anything else you can give us to corroborate your story? Anyone else in your group take a photo, for example?

      Also, did anyone try to refuse to cooperate, and if so, what happened?

      Please tell us in as much detail as you can muster (where this took place, what the procedure was, etc.)? Thanks.

    23. TJJ Says:

      jim Says:

      Debito – sorry I don’t mean to hijack this discussion, but I want to respond to jim, and I want to ask him a question.

      I’ve also been refused a rental car before in Osaka, even though I have a valid Japanese driving license, simply because I looked foreign. The minute I walked in the door of the rental company the young guy behind the counter kind of panicked threw up his arms in the all too familiar cross gesture. When I asked him, in Japanese, why there were no rental cars available, he just threw up his arms again and said in English “no car”.

      Really? Toyota has no cars? But I didn’t even tell you yet on what date I needed the car. But still you have no cars for gaijin, it seems.

      This shop was a Toyota rent-a-car shop in Uehommachi, Osaka. Jim, was that the same shop?

      I left the establishment in a bit of annoyance but have since then had a very good relationship with a different rent-a-car company in Osaka, and since I always bring the car back without damage, with a full fuel tank, and clean, I now have a special gold membership with them.

      Some companies will accept your business other wont, TIJ.

    24. KG Says:

      E: I too have been asked to use my fingerprint as an alternative to a seal but that was back in the day when you had your fingerprint on your ARC.

      HO thanks for the clarification re: needing a warrant.

      Incidentally Roppongi is one of the few places I have yet to be stopped. When I had the misfortune of living out in the suburbs I was stopped a lot and asked if I was Russian. Reason given for stopping me was the predictable ‘overstaying’.

      Re: Doug. I noticed a few of the researchers on another thread had had enough too. Debito maybe this could be a poll idea. ‘Who is getting to the stage of thinking about getting out?’ I know I am.

      – Polls are currently offline due to the latest SNAFU after downloading the latest version of WordPress. It’s screwed up a lot of my functions, including using WYSIWYG for formatting and collecting poll votes. I look forward to WordPress correcting its own mistakes. But after two weeks or so, it seems they haven’t gotten around to it. I’ll have Polls back up when WordPress lets me. Sorry. End of tangent.

    25. Mark in Yayoi Says:

      Iago, you make a very important point that I don’t often see mentioned when it comes to police harassment: they harass men much more often than women. I may have posted here about how the police had a bicycle-checking station set up right in front of my house for a while. A few times I sat peering out my window keeping count of how many people they stopped, and it immediately became apparent that no women were being stopped at all.

      About 60% of the male cyclists who rode past them were stopped, including 100% of the four foreign-looking men. No foreign-looking women appeared; it would have been interesting to see if their femaleness were enough to balance out their foreignness.

      Now I’m curious as to the gender ratio of who’s being stopped for urine samples. If it’s anything like what they’re doing with bicycles, it’s grossly unfair. Imagine a situation where police were stopping only young women and inspecting them to make sure that their Louis Vuitton and Coach handbags aren’t fakes!

      Esiliato, I experienced the same thing, and I too went home to get my inkan (which they had no problem with). You have to use a “real” inkan — carved into wood, ivory, etc., and not one of the ready-made types like Shachihata — so my best guess is that they’re concerned about scammers signing other people’s names. Yes, a scammer could steal or borrow someone’s inkan, obviously, but I’d call this system “archaic” or “overly traditional” and certainly not “discriminatory”. If you live in Japan, get an inkan made. They’re not expensive.

      Drew, why did you let the cops go through your luggage compartment? I hope you at least put up an argument. And your pockets too? If they try that again, refuse. I refused, and I didn’t even know the number of the article in the Constitution that forbids it. Now you know that (Article 35) and how to ask if they have a warrant (HO’s post above); don’t let them get away with this again!

    26. Marc Says:

      Regarding E’s comment about being asked for fingerprints to “officilaize” a document – in the absence of an inkan/hanko, it’s common practice in Japan to use the print of the right index finger as a substitute. If your fingerprints are being taken for the system, you’ll be having your hands scanned by a machine as they do each finger and palm and partial prints.

      Regarding the urine sample collection, for what it’s worth, there’s no mention of it in the Japanese press or on 2ch, or any of the other English forums – just a single post a 6 weeks ago on Gaijinpot. I find it hard to believe that the police would have the budget to be randomly urine testing hundreds of people a night in a dragnet operation, not to mention the logistics of the situation… are they carrying a porta-potty around the streets?

      I would hazard a guess that the Gaijinpot poster saw a rousting of a bar – something that is becoming more commonplace in Roppongi and other areas as the police crack down on public morals violations at the behest of Ishihara – and a few select individuals “invited” back to the police station for questioning.

    27. Mumei Says:

      Mark in Yayoi,

      While I agree with your comment, let me follow up for the sake of discussion.

      Article 35 may be found here:
      http://www.houko.com/00/01/S21/000.HTM

      Excerpt and surrounding context:
      第3章 国民の権利及び義務
      第10条 日本国民たる要件は、法律でこれを定める。
      第33条 何人も、現行犯として逮捕される場合を除いては、権限を有する司法官憲が発し、且つ理由となつてゐる犯罪を明示する令状によらなければ、逮捕されない。
      第35条 何人も、その住居、書類及び所持品について、侵入、捜索及び押収を受けることのない権利は、第33条の場合を除いては、正当な理由に基いて発せられ、且つ捜索する場所及び押収する物を明示する令状がなければ、侵されない。
      2 捜索又は押収は、権限を有する司法官憲が発する各別の令状により、これを行ふ。

      These rights (and obligations) are bestowed upon “kokumin” (国民). The legal definition of a kokumin is one who has that nations citizenship. (Daijirin: その国の国籍をもつ人々。) This definition, or its application to the law, is problematic to say the least.

      I am all for asserting ones rights against those who abuse their positions of power. However, be aware that things may not be as clear as you may think if challenged.

    28. Mark in Yayoi Says:

      One more comment I wanted to make about this drug testing: how accurate is it? What kind of appeals can someone make if they test positive? Remember, even with a highly accurate test, a positive result doesn’t necessarily mean that the person is a drug user, or even that the probability is very high that the person is a drug user. Since the vast majority of the population isn’t taking drugs, there will be a huge number of false positives — possibly outnumbering the actual drug users whom they’re trying to test for!

      (Here’s an explanation of the theory behind this, with a calculator built in:
      http://betterexplained.com/articles/an-intuitive-and-short-explanation-of-bayes-theorem/

      …for example, even if Roppongi is a den of iniquity where fully 10% of the people are taking drugs, a test that’s 95% accurate will still result in one false positive for every two correctly-assessed drug users. Administer 95%-accurate drug tests on an innocent population, where only one person in 100 is a drug user, and you’ll have more than five wrongly-accused innocents for every guilty person you catch!)

      This is why the NPA’s policy of detaining and investigating otherwise-non-suspicious people is so dangerous. You’d better hope that their investigation and testing methods are perfect, because you’re the one on the hook if they make a mistake.

    29. level3 Says:

      If the cops are being more blatant, stop merely observing and start taking video.
      It should be easy to do it if they’re actually travelling in packs and pulling people aside again and again for no reason in certain locations.

      Start posting on Youtube, in Japanese.

      It’s one of the only “weapons” we have.
      We all know the gaijin eyewtiness testimony means nothing here, and anonymous internet stories hold little weight either.

      Debito, maybe you can make money selling “令状はありますか” T-shirts. ;)

    30. level3 Says:

      Sorry for quick second post, but the Twitter thing just gave me another idea.

      I have no idea if there are enough Twitterers in Tokyo, but the next time you get stopped, Twitter to everyone in town or just phone your friends and start a phone chain, give them your location, and get them to show up to give urine, too. You can soon get 500 gaijin showing up at the police checkpoint.

      Bring video cameras. Get on the news.

    31. Mark in Yayoi Says:

      Mumei, articles 33 and 35 assert the rights of “any person” (何人も なんぴとも), not just 国民. The word 人 has never been limited to people of a particular nationality. I recall Debito once posting that the courts have consistently upheld the rights of all people with regard to the Constitution. (Consider the alternative — if article 29 (財産権) applied only to nationals, it would be legal to steal from non-nationals, and if article 31 (生命) did, it would be legal to murder them.)

      During the early Meiji era, extraterritoriality, in which people of other nationalities are governed according to their own countries’ laws, existed in Japan for Westerners, but since then, all people in Japan have been governed by the Constitution.

    32. Matt Baker Says:

      “Anything else you can give us to corroborate your story? Anyone else in your group take a photo, for example?”

      unfortunately none of us decided to take pictures.

      “Also, did anyone try to refuse to cooperate, and if so, what happened? ”

      those that refused to co-operate were still put in the van and whisked off to the station with the others, what happened after that i dont know, as i wasnt there

      “Please tell us in as much detail as you can muster (where this took place, what the procedure was, etc.)? ”

      it was between 6 and 8 am on a saturday morning and there were a big group of police and police vans. it took place right outside gaspanic/odeon/wall street etc in roppongi, the littl side road near donkeys. they were basically stopping 75% of all non japanese as they left the clubs and bars there, and were speaking to them. my friend and i decided to not hang around, so we shuffled off and were able to watch from pretty much across the road for about half an hour. in that time i must have watched at least 50 people get pulled, with only one looking as if they were japanese.

      its not the first time its happened in the pong, people have mentioned similar things happening 3 or 4 times in the last 2 months

    33. KG Says:

      Mark/Iago: I was stopped because I am a woman – in the eyes/words of the suburban keystones (and most other folks by the comments that were made in my presence) blonde female = Russian hostess overstayer.

      And as a tangent during the Lucie Blackman case I was investigated at Narita for being blonde English and thus a possible victim of trafficing – well that is what they told my company when they called for verification.

    34. Ken Says:

      Just 2 weeks ago I witnessed something very strange in Shibuya. 6 cops from 2 police cars where searching a Japanese guy. They found a transparent plastic bag with what exactly like Marijuana in it. They smelled on it and confiscated it. Searched further and found a small bag with equipment like a pipe etc. Also confiscated the whole little bag. They talked to the guy for about 15 minutes, arguing about the stuff they found and he defended himself as if nothing bad had happened. Finally they just took the Marijuana and the bag and left in their police cars. Not further action, the guy still sitting there with his friend. I could be wrong that it was really Marijuana in the transparent bag, but even then, with the pipe and everything, how could they let him go like that. Didn’t look like they even checked his identification. Puzzled.

    35. Johnny Says:

      We obviously do need to substantiate these things before getting them out there, but given the atrocious track record of the NPA in its dealings with non-J, this kind of thing is easy to believe.

      Frankly, I feel less and less comfortable about paying my taxes here the more I hear about this kind of thing.

    36. Shibuyara Says:

      It is critically important to build awareness of what’s going on. Many J residents might be sympathetic but in fact have no idea that the concerns even exist. And the police can do whatever they wish because there’s no concrete, indisputable, in-your-face proof out there for the locals to see.

      Suggestions:

      1. Visual record. Have a camera on your keitai? Take a photo of the interaction, involving yourself or others, without direct shots of faces. Send the photos to Debito for posting on a dedicated page. 50 of those would say a lot.

      2. Awareness campaign: insiders. Write to the immigration guy quoted in the recent JT article. Write to politicians. Write to the Minister of Justice. The point is to help them understand the concerns and the NJ point of view. Keep comments extremely brief and to the point. People are much more likely to read text that is short.

      3. Awareness campaign: media. We must change the perception among the larger J community, who do not read debito.org or the Japan Times. Contact Newsweek, which publishes in Japanese. Contact the New York Times, which is frequently quoted in the J media. Ditto for the FT and Wall Street Journal. A country perceived as intensely anti-foreigner is less attractive as a target for foreign investment. That message could trickle down to Keidanren, which must then go to the GOJ and say “stop this nonsense”.

      4. Activity with economic impact. Stop going to bars and clubs. Yes, I’m serious. When consumers get pissed off with a particular food company for poor hygiene, they simply stop buying their product. Same idea. This forces the owners of the establishments to take action.

      Tks. to Debito for this very informative site.

      Cheers

    37. HO Says:

      Matt Baker, thank you for the additional information.
      You say he was deported?

      To deport a foreigner, GoJ needs to cancel his visa.
      To cancel his visa, one of the following must be proven.
      1. He cheated when getting the visa.
      2. He violated visa restrictions.
      3. He is a member of a terrorist organization.
      4. He was convicted of drug abuse or other felony.
      5. He was engaged in prostitution business.
      6. He is a threat to national security.

      Mere allegation of drug abuse is not enough to cancel a visa and to deport a foreigner.
      What was their rationale for canceling his visa?

      – Source for these visa cancelling requirements, please.

    38. KG Says:

      Source for HO…

      http://www.moj.go.jp/ENGLISH/IB/ib-01.html

      DEPORTATION
      The following nationals are subject to deportation in accordance with procedures provided for by law : foreign nationals who have landed in or entered Japan illegally, nationals who are illegally overstaying the authorized period of stay in Japan, those engaged in any activity other than that permitted under the status of residence, those foreign nationals who have been sentenced to a punishment for violation of any Japanese laws or regulations while staying in Japan and other nationals who are found to be unsuitable.

    39. HO Says:

      It comes from Article 23 of Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act, though not word by word. The article is too long to post here, but you can check it from this site.
      http://www.japaneselawtranslation.go.jp/?re=02

    40. Doug Says:

      Debito-san and all

      First, Debito-san you replied to me, “Don’t overreact yet.” Yes I agree, that is why I would like to find out some facts on this one. It is opening a very interesting discussion here and bringing additional things to the surface.

      I have been following this blog for years and I have to say this is probably the #1 most important posting I have seen due to the invasiveness, potential for abuse, and severe consequences. This exceeds fingerprinting, etc. I wish I had the resources to get more verifiable facts as thank God this has not happened to me or any friends of mine. I hope there is some way to get closure (wishful thinking is positive closure – this is not happening – but I am skeptical)

      As a side note to the new Alien Registration procedures (and off topic – sorry). I moved within the last week and reported my new address to the Ward office this morning. This took an entire 10 minutes. The people handling this were respectful, friendly, and helpful….overall a good experience! I moved from one ward to another and they even welcomed me to the ward….Tragic that we will now need to undertake such activities at immigration. I have always had good experiences with the ward offices.

    41. debito Says:

      Hi Blog. It’s confirmed. Called Asabu Police Station today (03-3479-0110(代表)) in Roppongi and talked to an officer Teshima. He admitted that yes, they are carrying out urine tests on people. He denied that they were targeting foreigners, but he refused to divulge what sort of criteria they use to select their testees. Separate blog entry on this by midnight. Arudou Debito

    42. Drew Says:

      Drew, why did you let the cops go through your luggage compartment? I hope you at least put up an argument. And your pockets too? If they try that again, refuse.

      To be perfectly honest, I complied because I was anxious to get out of there and get to the dojo. If I’d put up a fight, chances are good that he would have taken me to the koban… at the very least, if he decided he didn’t like me he would have been well within his rights to ding me for illegal parking (it’s in an area that is officially no-parking but in practice ignored by the cops at night).

      Selfish, probably, but I just wasn’t in the mood to get into a big thing over it.

    43. adamw Says:

      there we go.
      thanks for doing this debito-though i wonder why its always you that ends up having to do it…
      surely this is illegal as long as people dont give their consent to it..
      as i said before,i think you would have to be mad to give a urine samples like that when there must be a high chance of it being misdiagnosed,mislayed or tampered with..

      to say this is frightening is an understatement..
      only way to deal with this is point blank refuse

    44. Mark in Yayoi Says:

      Debito, minor bit of pedantry:

      Asabu Police Station today (03-3479-0110(代表))

      The 麻生 in Sapporo is Asabu, but the one in Tokyo (麻布) is pronounced “Azabu”.

      – Quite so. Sorry. Darn you linguists!

    45. Massimo Says:

      “It’s confirmed.”

      This is just another small piece that goes into the puzzle.
      The overall image is coming out little by little.

      I’m quite worried lately just as Doug says in his posts above.

      You just have to look at the “tendency” of the past few years:

      - fingerprinting

      - big police raids in different areas (just for show-off, like the
      last one in Roppongi where 200 !!! policemen arrested 6 !!! hostesses
      for visa violation…..I wonder if this is not a waste of public money
      but nobody complains…and they are laughable)

      - less and less respect for privacy and personal rights
      (this not only for foreigners, I saw many times policemen humiliating
      even Japanese for nothing, police have too much power)

      - more control on the streets with cameras, private associations,
      common citizens (in Japan you may see all kind of posters, advertisement
      on “report this “, “report that”, “report your neighbour”…I always
      laugh at the cinema where they show the spot telling you that “some
      people record movies with a videocamera, it is illegal, if you see somebody
      suspicious report him/her”…lol)

      - more and more steps up to tighten the control on foreigners, first, but in the end
      I get the feeling that this is just the step before going on the Japanese.

      Maybe I am paranoid.
      I don’t have a good feeling.
      I don’t like to have to watch my back even if I am not doing anything criminal.
      Japan is becoming more and more a “police state”.

      In Japan I am not able to feel protected by laws as it should be,
      and I don’t like this feeling.
      I feel too vulnerable, not to criminals, but to the same system/people
      that should protect me…
      I’ve seen too many scenes around too think that the police here are
      doing a good, impartial job.
      Laws are too vague, with many escape routes, police too free to do
      whatever they feel (f.e. no cameras in interrogation rooms…etc.).

      I don’t want to count on luck to see if I can get my rights covered
      in a place that I could call home.

    46. KG Says:

      Just a quickie until your update… It seems as though the keystones are playing with their new toys…

      http://www.thermo.com/com/cda/newsevents/news_detail/0,3081,20517,00.html

      May 26 2009

      Japan’s National Police Agency (NPA) has purchased 51 Thermo Scientific LXQ linear ion trap mass spectrometers and 27 Thermo Scientific Nicolet 6700 FT-IR spectrometers with Continuμm microscopes.

      SAN JOSE (May 26, 2009) –Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., the world leader in serving science, today announced that Japan’s National Police Agency (NPA) has purchased 51 Thermo Scientific LXQ linear ion trap mass spectrometers and 27 Thermo Scientific Nicolet 6700 FT-IR spectrometers with Continuµm microscopes. The NPA will use the LXQ™ LC/MS/MS system for toxicology screening in each of its 47 prefecture offices and will use the Nicolet™ 6700 FT-IR system for forensics in nearly half of those offices.

      “Teamwork was a key component in the success of implementing a solution across Japan,” said Murray Wigmore, managing director of Thermo Fisher Scientific’s Scientific Instruments Division in Japan. “The high technology we provided and robust products offered make our solution a winning combination for the NPA. We were able to specify, manufacture and install these products in a timely manner due to our understanding of the Japanese local market needs.”

      Prior to purchasing the LXQ system, the NPA used single quadruple LCMS for analyzing drugs and toxic substances. The LXQ’s ion trap technology provides high sensitivity and specificity, which enables it to analyze hundreds of analytes in blood and urine samples, significantly more than other screening methods. The NPA noted that one of the reasons it chose the LXQ was the time and labor it saved with the total solution offered by Thermo Fisher Scientific, including the company’s ToxID software. The software performs automatic data analysis and reporting, eliminating the need for manual data interpretation and increasing confidence in compound identification.

      The NPA saw a similar opportunity to improve both the quality of its forensic analysis, as well as to optimize cost-per-analysis and lab productivity with the Nicolet 6700 FT-IR spectrometer and Continuµm microscope. This system combines visual microscopic analysis with valuable and discriminating infrared chemical information, ensuring sensitive, accurate interpretation, while preserving the sample. For instance, one reason the NPA cited for purchasing the Nicolet 6700 FT-IR was its ability to analyze paint chips, a key piece of identification evidence in a hit-and-run crime. Normally, identifying auto paint requires dissolution and chemical extraction, but FT-IR microscopy provides quick chemical identification of each paint layer without degrading the sample.

      (…)

    47. KK Says:

      Any chance the International Olympic Committee will be informed of this? If they are, do you think it could hurt Tokyo’s chances at getting the games?

      – Let them know.

    48. Mumei Says:

      > International Olympic Committee

      For those wishing to notify them, there is a contact form, addresses, and phone numbers here:

      http://www.olympic.org/uk/utilities/registration_uk.asp?prm_action=req

      If there is a more appropriate or direct contact, please let us know.

    49. adamw Says:

      tokyo bid page here

      https://www.tokyo2016.or.jp/contact-new/?lang=en

      can let them know that you have written to ioc about the racism and asked that tokyo doesnt get the olympics

    50. Brad Says:

      This news just hit the net in a big way. It’s on the front page of boingboing.net, which has a huge number of readers worldwide.

    51. Frodis Says:

      This added information about all the testing equipment being bought makes me wonder if this could be another misguided ‘training’ activity like the one where airport narcotic officials were using unwary mules in order to train/test their drug-sniffing dogs and related systems. Maybe the journalist who covered that would be interested in pursuing this latest along those angles.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if the NPA start using urine testing to charge people with public intoxication. They could start really clearing foreigners out and truly making criminals out of the bunch of us.

      Re: the above comments about the guy who was allegedly nabbed and then tested and then busted the following week and sent packing back to NZ, I think it was. Perhaps the cops made him an offer he couldn’t refuse — face public prosecution and spend the next 6 months in a Japanese jail waiting for a chance to defend yourself and good luck finding and paying for your legal representation or — leave ‘voluntarily’. Even a completely innocent guy would think twice about tangling with the man under rules that so clearly seem to favor the house.

    52. lumpi Says:

      Jesus christ, can’t they just leave this behavior to crappy UK cops? I never heard of Japanese police being so creepy. How disappointing.

    53. Bill Says:

      Anyone ever been body-searched at Narita when arriving in Japan?

    54. Mark in Yayoi Says:

      Here’s the article Brad mentioned:

      http://www.boingboing.net/2009/07/01/japanese-cops-hassli.html

      There’s also (on the front page as I type this) an article about racial profiling by cops in France.

    55. Kim Soon Says:

      my wife and i are Korean and were stopped near Roppongi for test. we do not speak Japanese and when I showed my Korean passport they acted disgusted and called us “trash” in English. Why are Japanese police so racist to outsider? We have to be in Tokyo for work, and most people very nice to us, but never police.

    56. Jean-Jacques X. Says:

      One thing worth pointing out vis-a-vis urine tests is that, as far as I am aware, Japanese laws concerning marijuana criminalize possession. A urine test suggests evidence of use, but use itself is not criminalized: they actually have to nail you for having it in your possession, not in your system. So I am unaware of what crime they can charge you with in this case.

      I am no legal expert, but I had this explained to me by somebody (Japanese) who had done his research into the topic.

      Re. telling the cops they have no right to take your piss (or search your car, whatever) without a warrant, the problem with this is that at the end of the day, assuming you wait out the detention in jail and take it to trial, they will probably claim you were drunk & disorderly or resisting arrest, and it will be their word against yours, and we all know who the judge is going to believe. So unless you have witnesses, not a good idea.

    57. Sean Says:

      Is there any precedence of someone asking the cops if they have a warrant?
      令状-new word for the day!
      Debito – when you called the Azabu police station, did you ask under what power they were able to take urine samples?
      I assume they have a duty to quote the law and to understand the limits of their own power.

      Isn’t there a free legal advice centre in Japan? – the powers of the police should be clear.

      This post isn’t about people being caught with disco biscuits, it’s about the extent of the police power to search without a warrant. It boils down to:
      Can the police do this to anyone (J&NJ)? If so, welcome to Police State.
      If so, it should be a domestic rights issue as well, I doubt if Japanese people would react well if they knew about it.
      Anyone who ever passed through an airport over the last few years knows that Gaijin profiling is rife. It also seems to be a Shibuya/Roppongi-based activity – I wonder if the xenophobe Tokyo mayor has anything to do with this?

      Anyway, interesting stuff!

    58. Fiona Says:

      I am so pleased by Mr. Debito’s work for the foreigners of Japan!
      If I am stopped around my home ( near Roppongi and Shibuya ) as I have been before, I don’t mind the police searching my bags or even my pockets but what about my blood/urine? I don’t even take illegal drugs but I don’t think this is reasonable…I think if there are many police as Matt Baker described and only me they can do what they want, right?
      Also – how to extract blood or urine?In the street?!

    59. Mark in Yayoi Says:

      If I am stopped around my home ( near Roppongi and Shibuya ) as I have been before, I don’t mind the police searching my bags or even my pockets but what about my blood/urine?

      Fiona, forgive me, but please don’t say this. Just because the police are trying to do truly outrageous things (like hauling innocent people to the station for drug testing) doesn’t mean that we should accept the mildly-outrageous things. The law prevents a search of your person and belongings without your permission. If people keep giving in to them without protest, the police will only push harder. Defend your rights!

    60. Hubert Says:

      One of the most disturbing things about this is that while police are harassing preppy middle-class foreigners who would blanche at committing a parking violation, real criminals are getting away scot free. My guess it that they probably have a ‘noruma’ (target figure) for how many stop-and-searches they have to do a month, and that they’re looking for an easy way of bumping up the figures. Soft-looking foreign guys who wouldn’t say boo to a goose will be an immediate target because they will be docile and do as they’re told. They don’t vote, after all, so they don’t matter.

      I was identity-checked a couple of years ago while walking down the street minding my own business (in a suit). What upset me most about it was that at the time I was having problems with somebody throwing stones at my windows and vandalizing my mail box. When I called the police they said it was too trivial for them to bother with.

      I do know of Japanese people who have been similarly harassed – a student, for example, who was accused of being a chikan for no discernible reason other than visiting a convenience store late at night. But that doesn’t make the issue any better. All this time is wasted checking out innocent people because they’re easy targets, while Tatsuya Ichihashi and his ilk are left free to roam the streets.

    61. Bradley Says:

      havent been stopped for a urine test ever but it wouldnt surprise me if these rumors are true. Personally, I have been stopped and identity checked on my way back into Narita airport from overseas trips 5 times in a row now. 5 TIMES IN A ROW. At first they were using the SUMMIT in Hokkaido as an excuse but #4 and #5 was after the summit. Also been stopped once downtown by two cops that assumed I was carrying drugs and asked me to show my bag’s contents. Definate racial profiling. Ive lived in Japan longer than any other country in my life including my “home” country. Sad and annoying to have to deal with this crap.

      – To address your first sentence, these aren’t rumors. The cops themselves confirmed that they are stopping and apprehending NJ for urine samples. They’re just denying it’s racial profiling. Yeah sure.

    62. KG Says:

      Will tag todays news on this thread as it may be interesting to see what comes from the ‘arrests’ and J not knowing their stop and search rights…

      http://www.japantoday.com/category/crime/view/actor-oshio-arrested-for-drug-use-after-woman-found-dead-in-apartment

      http://www.japantoday.com/category/crime/view/actress-singer-noriko-sakai-missing-since-husbands-arrest

      As hopefully a couple of high profile cases will keep the keystones at bay…

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