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  • Get Japan Times Tues July 7: New JUST BE CAUSE Column on “Random” Roppongi street NJ urine sampling

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on July 6th, 2009

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    Hi Blog. Just to let you know: Get a copy of the Japan Times tomorrow, Tuesday July 7 (Weds in the provinces). My latest JUST BE CAUSE column is a 1500-worder on the “random” NJ Roppongi police street stops, searches, and urine sampling that the NPA is putting into force without the luxury of a warrant. And what it means for the rest of the population if this is allowed to pass without protest. So let me kick off the protests. And tell you what you can do to stop it happening to you.

    The Japan Times has been very good lately about bringing up issues that matter to the NJ community in Japan. Do subscribe, or get your local public library or international institution to subscribe, if you haven’t already. The JT deserves our support. You just aren’t going to get this kind of investigative journalism out of the DY or the IHT/Asahi.

    Arudou Debito in Sapporo

    10 Responses to “Get Japan Times Tues July 7: New JUST BE CAUSE Column on “Random” Roppongi street NJ urine sampling”

    1. Jake Says:

      “urine sampling that the NPA is putting into force without the luxury of a warrant”

      This seems to be the key issue to me. Do the police in fact have the legal authority to _demand_ a urine sample from a random person on the street? Or are they simply “requesting” that people supply urine samples (with the provider at the cops’ mercy if they agree)? What happens if someone refuses to provide a sample? What do the police have the legal authority to do then?

      I have always been under the impression that unless one is being arrested or is served with a warrant, the most the police can do is check your ID and take down your details. Hence, bag searches, pat downs, urine samples, and all that is off-limits. I hope my impression is correct, because there is no way I will continue to live in a country where any old keystone cop has the authority to grab me on the street and make me piss into a cup.

      My local international association has a free legal consultation, where you can talk with an actual lawyer, coming up in a couple of weeks, and I’m planning on heading in to ask him about the legality of all this.

      Legal questions aside, I wonder what the actual ratio of foreigners to all those tested is. The cynic in me can easily imagine a new statistic published by the police where 99% of those who tested positive were foreigners, when in reality more than 90% of those tested were foreigners to begin with.

      Looking forward to the article, anyhow.

    2. A Man In Japan Says:

      I’m phoning the British embassy about this matter of having to give urine samples to ask what they are going to do stop this.

    3. A Man In Japan Says:

      I called the British embassy today and the only person who I was able to talk to was a Japanese woman who does not understand, or maybe want to admit that what the police are doing is trying to harass people who do not come from Japan. So she kept asking me if I had been harassed by the police to do a urine sample, so I said no. So basically long story short, she just said that she couldn’t do anything.

      She said to write the embassy a letter or an e-mail if I ever got harassed or got bothered by the police. Has anyone tried contacting their embassy? I say that everyone should call their embassy and see what they are gonna do, if anything, about this. What else can you do?

      She even asked me for my bithdate, and that at that point I was about to loose it, so I started asking her why the hell do I need to give my birthdate for. So I gave it to her and managed to calm down. I also mentioned about the cameras being installed to spy on us and then she started going on about the cameras all over London, as if to say “well, you guys are doing it!” I then pointed out that people in London are not too keen on those cameras either.

      I just suggest try calling your embassy to ask what they are going do, if anything….

    4. The Shark Says:

      Comment (2) and (3)

      Japanese staff at foreign embassies mainly do clerical work. Urine sample matters, however, should ideally reach somebody who is a consul or vice consul. As they are also busy, of course, the best thing might be to send an e-mail to your embassy like ‘To the attention of the consul in charge of …’ or so.
      From what I know about different European embassies, you would most likely get a reply back within a short time.

      Most embassies have published their e-mail addresses on their respective webpage.

    5. A Man In Japan Says:

      The Shark, I will try as you suggested. Does anyone else have any ideas as what we could do?

    6. adamw Says:

      british embassy is bloody useless
      dont expect them to help you
      utter waste of time

    7. Tornadoes28 Says:

      The best thing to do would be to find foreigners who have actually been “asked” to provide urine samples. We need to find many people (more than one) who have been asked this. If this problem is truly happening or widespread, specifically to NJ, then there must be many NJ who are victims. Where are they? Hopefully Debito’s J Times article will bring them out.

    8. Abouttown Says:

      2,3,4,5,6 – Your embassy is not here to meddle in local police affairs, and neither should they be. They will assist you if you are arrested – but as for rushing to you help if you are asked for a urine sample – no, it’s not their job.

    9. The Shark Says:

      What embassies or foreign governments could do is include this matter in travel warnings or advisories. Like most governments advises not to travel to Somalia right now, they could write something like ‘If you travel to Japan be aware that you may or may not be subjected to a urine test. If you are on any medication any urine test could potentially be misinterpreted.’ Or as Debito’s conversation with the infamous Mr Teshima brought to light ‘It may at times be difcicult to establish the exact rules and regulation or criteria that are in place in Japan with regard to police matters.’

      The Shark’s advice is similar to Debito’s: If you have a police encounter, just show them your alien card. Don’t do and say anything else. Just wait silently until the police move away. They can’t carry you away without formally arresting you. And for that they need a reason. I hope I am right in assuming that in Japan (like in other countries) you have the right to remain silent when being asked by police.

      Or you could try a different approach: Be very polite and try to explain why they might have mistaken you for a druguser. Sometimes maybe they just arrrest you in order not to lose face (although that’s just a Shark’s guess – haven’t got any evidence for that yet).

    10. Sean Says:

      Abouttown – I don’t agree. Just because the embassies are useless doesn’t mean that they can’t advise on legal issues which affect all of their countrymen in Japan.
      The usual embassy refrain “we don’t get involved in individual domestic issues” is fine if one is talking about a single case, but this is a legally questionable blanket policy which is also a human rights issue. It is the embassy’s duty to be aware of this policy and to have a position on it.
      If there is an inadequate response from your embassy, you should write your home broadsheet papers and politicians to complain, as I find crappy treatment more annoying than Japanese innate racist policies.

      “The role of such a mission is to protect in the receiving State the interests of the sending State and of its nationals, within the limits permitted by international law; negotiating with the Government of the receiving State as directed by the sending State; ascertaining by lawful means conditions and developments in the receiving State, and reporting thereon to the Government of the sending State; promoting friendly relations between the sending State and the receiving State, and developing their economic, cultural and scientific relations.” wiki

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