DEBITO.ORG NEWS FLASH
JAPANESE POLICE NOW DEMANDING URINE SAMPLES
FROM FOREIGNERS ON THE STREET
RECOMMEND JOURNALISTS AND OTHER CONCERNED PARTIES
READING THIS INVESTIGATE FURTHER
Released July 1, 2009, freely forwardable
By Arudou Debito (www.debito.org, firstname.lastname@example.org, twitter arudoudebito)
Sapporo, Japan. Freely forwardable.
Debito.org has received a number of reports that police in Roppongi and Shibuya are rounding up Non-Japanese exiting bars, and bringing them in police wagons for drug testing.
They are demanding urine tests from their detainees.
This is an act of extremely questionable legality.
This was confirmed at 3PM July 1, 2009, when I telephoned the Azabu Police Department (http://www.keishicho.metro.tokyo.jp/1/azabu/index.htm) phone 03-3479-0110 (dai) and talked to an Officer Teshima, who refused to give more details about his official rank in the police department, what sort of methods are being used, their criteria for selecting their detainees, what they do if detainees do not cooperate, and if they have warrants. Our conversation in paraphrase below. Further links to sources also below.
If true, this could be the dawn of new practices and extensions of police power in Japan. This author believes that racial profiliing, already standard operating practice for bicycle checks and ID checks on the street (http://www.debito.org/?p=1802), is now involving more invasive methods– bodily fluids.
The testimonials of eyewitnesses to these raids in Roppongi and Shibuya are blogged and linked at Debito.org at
The conversation I had with Mr Teshima today went approximately as follows:
ME: My name is Arudou Debito, calling for Human Rights Group Ippan Shadan Houjin FRANCA (I gave the full official translation of the group (http://www.francajapan.org), and I have heard that there are police stopping foreigners exiting bars and asking them for urine tests.
TESHIMA: Who is this and why are you asking?
ME: (repeats name and details about FRANCA).
TESHIMA: We have been doing more policing.
ME: Are you doing urine tests (nyou kensa)?
TESHIMA: Depends on the situation (toki to baai ni yoru).
ME: But are urine tests happening?
TESHIMA: Depends on the situation.
ME: But they are happening.
ME: Are you doing this as part of clamping down on drugs?
ME: Are you targeting foreigners?
TESHIMA: We are testing people. We are not just testing foreigners.
ME: What are your criteria for choosing people for testing?
TESHIMA: I don’t have to answer that. (kotaeru hitsuyou ga nai)
ME: Would you answer me if I asked the question as writer for a newspaper?
TESHIMA: I am under no obligation to answer.
ME: Do you have warrants to ask for urine samples?
TESHIMA: I don’t have to answer that. Depends on the situation.
ME: But you can’t ask for urine samples without a warrant, right?
TESHIMA: We don’t always need a warrant. Depends on the situation.
ME: What situations do you not need a warrant?
TESHIMA: I don’t have to answer that.
ME: But if they give you their permission for a sample, you don’t need a warrant?
TESHIMA: If they cooperate, we don’t need a warrant.
ME: What if they don’t cooperate?
TESHIMA: I’m not going to answer that.
ME: Can they be charged under the Interference of Duties–?
TESHIMA: Look, I’m busy.
ME: Understood. Could you please tell me your position in the police department, Mr Teshima?
TESHIMA: I don’t have to answer that.
ME: Okay, thank you for your time.
Give Mr Teshima a call yourself at 03-3479-0110 (dai) and see if you can get any clearer answers.
In recent months, there has been a lot of scandal about sumo wrestlers (Japanese and Non-Japanese) using cannabis, and media (including Japan Times, see http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/ss20080903a1.html) have reported them saying they procured the substance from Roppongi foreigners. There are police raids continuing on Roppongi bars (http://www.debito.org/?p=3305), most recently last Friday (http://www.japanprobe.com/?p=11055). Plus stoppages on the street, according to commentators to Debito.org, and searches of bags and pockets for being of foreign extraction.
This indicates that the Japanese Police seem to be targeting areas with high foreigner concentrations. Foreigners may be being singled out on the street as more likely to be possessing. Given that Japan has no right of habeas corpus (http://www.debito.org/whattodoif.html#checkpoint), no clear checks against interrogational abuses (http://www.debito.org/whattodoif.html#arrested), and few recourses against wrongful arrest, police with this much power using racial paradigms against Non-Japanese and people who look foreign will result in racial profling — with innocents being targeted, detained, and subject to police practices of interrogation under questionable legality. Such as the circumstantial evidence of exiting a bar while looking foreign.
I encourage readers to read, investigate, and report these developments.
Arudou Debito in Sapporo
www.debito.org, email@example.com, twitter arudoudebito
July 1, 2009