YouTube video showing NPA Bicycle Instant Checkpoint supersedes attention to car accident


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Hi Blog.  More word from cyberspace today, courtesy of AT:


December 13, 2010

Hey Debito, you gotta check out this YouTube video showing a prime example of the incompetence of the Japanese police. A guy riding a bicycle gets stopped by a police officer for no reason, which happens a lot in Japan. As the officer is asking him questions (which the guy is under no obligation to answer), we can hear an obvious traffic accident take place in the background just around the corner, and both the police officer and the bicyclist hear it. A reasonable police officer would realize that that was a traffic accident and that people may be injured and need first aid, etc. But no, this cop continues to question the bicyclist as if nothing happened. At one point he even denies that it may be a traffic accident. After the bicyclist convinces him to do so, he notifies dispatch of the traffic accident, and then continues to question the bicyclist rather than tending to the possibly injured! This cop neglected to tend to a possibly serious and fatal traffic accident, all so he can perform 職務質問 (voluntary questioning) on a bicyclist!


COMMENT:  Yes, it happens aplenty to those riding while foreign in Japan, but as I’ve argued before (in my Japan Times article Gaijin as Public Policy Guinea Pig), things foisted upon the NJ population to increase police powers are soon foisted upon the Japanese population as well.  This video is evidence of that.  Since the Keystones cannot stop people ostensibly without probable cause, stopping people with bicycles (using the excuse that they might have stolen them) or with bags (they might have knives etc.) is one way for the NPA to put the people in their place (i.e., if you can’t avoid cycling or carrying any luggage in public, too bad; suffer our suspicions).  Of course, the Keystones need no excuse to stop NJ: being foreign-looking alone in Japan is probable cause of suspicion for a visa overstay.  Again, this fortifies my theory of Japan as Mild Police State.  One that I believe is trying to increase its power in the name of “making Japan the world’s safest country again“.  Even if, in this case, the safety of others in first-aid cases is subordinated to an individual cop’s power trip.  A bit of a tangent today, but it’s germane to  Arudou Debito

40 comments on “YouTube video showing NPA Bicycle Instant Checkpoint supersedes attention to car accident

  • I saw something very similar the other day. They were doing bike stops in Kyoto in pairs on either side of the large Imadegawa, Kawaramachi intersection. I have to cross this street at least twice everyday and it is an absolute festival of egregious red light running. Constant. My thought was, “Great, maybe the cops will notcie and bust some of these bastards.” They didn’t even raise their heads as cars sped through up to 3-5 seconds after the light was a solid red and pedestrian lights had turned to green.

  • That is galactically stupid. I stopped watching after three minutes and this twit of a cop is still there debating procedure with a random civilian while someone could be dying, preventably, just around the corner, but no, don’t distract me from my job! What an a grade moron, I hope the person who sent that in got his badge number and lodged an official complaint. It could be any one of us that this guy ignores one day…

  • I see Sendaiben wrote in the comments section: “この場合、「行ってもいいですか?」だけ答えればいいと思います­。

    質問を無視して、「行ってもいいですか?」何度も答える。” Yes! Yes! Yes! 🙂

  • The Youtube comments are even more enlightening. By far the most popular is:


    Which I guess means something like:

    “Are you stupid? You’re addressing the wrong point. (? not sure what they meant by 任意を取り違えてる) If you’ve got nothing to hide, then shouldn’t you answer without trouble, non-citizen? You must not be a Japanese.”

    Where does 非国民 rank on the scale of foreigner slander?

  • Ridiculous!! The officer shown in the video was under obligation to tend to the accident – no way he could have seen from the distance whether they were casualties, and no way he could have judged whether the the guilty party left the scene.
    Had I been involved and suffered injuries, and then learnt of this video, I’d sue the living crap out of this “policeman”.
    But, alas, as this is Japan, probably only to be told “You’re alive, the police wasn’t involved – so what?”

  • If that`s a Japanese guy on the bike he did a great job defending himself. Firm I must say. He basically said everything I`ve wanted to say to a cop in this situation. Good on him.

  • Very educational video.

    Now we know that we need a helmet, and a video-camera, in order to ride a bike safely.

    Maybe a Rogue`s Gallery of “Policemen stopping bikers in Japan” could be quite informative to other foreigners and Japanese alike.

    In Japan, to own and ride a bike is a RISK. But most Japanese do not think so, unless they can see things like that.
    I`ve talked about these issues with a few Japanese, sometime ago, and the reaction wa always like that:
    ” – I do not believe you. I ride my bike everyday and it never happened to me. Can you prove it !”

  • Typical Japanese moronic cops. Look at the ignorant anger in his tightly pursed lips. Fire this clown but then I suppose they would have to fire half the police force.

  • The person being questioned must have said 「協力しないのに 何で勝手にやるんですか?」 at least thirty times while the cop ignored him… Since when did the ‘voluntary’ in ‘voluntary questioning’ lose all meaning? I have to agree with the 5th comment here that policemen really do come off as bullies sometimes.

  • I totally agree with comment #9 regarding Rogue`s Gallery of “Policemen stopping bikers in Japan”. Maybe not just for bike, but also for alien card check.

  • Do you remember when Mark in Yayoi was physically dragged into a guardrail for the crime of riding his bicycle?

    Check out this video of a police officer pushing a bicycle rider down to the concrete:

    Actually, that video isn’t a perfect example, because A) the bicyclist didn’t have his light on at night, which is a stoppable fine-able offense, and B) the cop cleverly “drew a foul like a soccer pro” while pushing the bicyclist down, so people are going to argue that the cop didn’t really mean to push the guy down.

  • I’m very disappointed by the comments on the youtube video. Most criticize the man for not cooperating, even though he is well within his rights not to. Nobody seems to mind the negligence of the police officer. It seems that even today Japanese are unaware of the importance of standing up to the police.

    “well if you have nothing to hide, then cooperate”.

    Some people just don’t get the point at all.

    @4 Joe: 非国民 means bad citizen or unpatriotic. It is does not mean foreigner. also 任意 means voluntary, but it can also mean arbitrary, so basically the police can say he chose him at random for the bike-check.

    — I don’t know where you got “arbitrary” as a possible definition for 任意 from. Random, perhaps.

  • Speaking of J cops, I saw a foreign, or foreign looking (perhaps he was half Japanese) Keikan at Yokohama with 2 other Japanese cops. I had to look many times, I thought it was some sort of exchange program and he was a foreign cop but no, he had the pistol and everything. First time I have seen this in Japan.

    — Let’s keep things related back to the subject of the blog post, please.

  • So after bragging about never being gaijin-carded even at Narita, it did happen to me recently. Just after passing through the passport/ticket check, I saw a policeman apparently checking up a NJ. Having just finished, he went after the next white person, which happened to be my wife, and asked to see her passport. While she started to pull it out, I pointed out in as derisory manner as possible that we had only *just* walked though passport control (it was literally a few paces away) and he looked a bit taken aback and waved us on immediately.

    Narita is still so much more pleasant than every other international airport I have ever visited that it’s hard to stay annoyed for long!

  • Looking at the Youtube comments, I’m starting to worry that such “Pinprick Protests” do more to galvanize anti-NJ support than to help us. Instead of inspiring sympathy to our causes, I fear that we are encouraging sentiment like “they are abusing the letter of the law to cause trouble, and they are damaging the wa of Japan”

    Are we better off not publicizing our civil disobedience?

    — No. And I don’t see why you’re letting anonymous bullies on a YouTube forum get to you so. Only by paying attention to bullies do they get any power. Only by doing the right thing and leading by (publicized) example will people see what the right thing is.

    Anyway, this has nothing to do with NJ “damaging the wa of Japan” when the protester is a Japanese anyway. Take a deep breath and relax, and don’t let the end-year stress get to you, making you overthink things. (Heaven knows, I’m struggling to do that too.)

  • Justice alert! We now know where this happened: 環状七号線

    This means we’re getting closer to figuring out which Police Station we must report this accident-DENYING police officer to: so that he becomes strongly reprimanded and perhaps even demoted or fired.

    This is a case of a police officer caught on film DENYING there was an accident, when obviously his duty was to run to the intersection and check for injured parties: I think the top ranking Officer at the Police Station WILL take action against this when presented with the video evidence.

    0:22 SCREEEECH…BAM!!!!!

    (accident so obvious that the police officer’s eyes naturally moved towards the intersection where the loud accident occurred)

    0:23 Bicyclist says, “A! Jiko. Hayaku, itta hou ga ii desu yo.”

    0:26 Police Officer says, “Jiko de wa nai!”

    (so, this is the illegal action, at 0:26, the police officer absolutely DENIED the accident, he DENIED the sound which his eyes had naturally dart towards, he totally DENIED the reality that his duty was to rush to the scene: all this illegal action by the police officer simply because his ego was too wrapped up into continuing to force some bicyclist to “cooperate” with “voluntary” questioning)

    0:27 Bicyclist, “Jiko datte!”

    0:28 Police Officer, “Chigau desu.”

    0:29 Right-hand-side Onlooker, “Hontoni omoikkiri shingou mushi desu yo.”

    (thus, at 0:29, the police officer started to realize that since there was an extra witness on the bicyclists’ right-hand-side, it might be a little too risky to his own employment to continue pretending there was no accident, so at 0:35 he begins to use his walkie-talkie and at 0:56 he finally admits that there was an accident at 環七 交差点 (which means “at some intersection on the 環状七号線” – which intersection???)

    Someone just needs to figure out which police station to send this footage to, together with a good letter in Japanese (probably someone with, uh, Yamato DNA, to increase the chance of the head of the Police Station even reading the letter and even looking at the footage.)

    PS – this footage might mysteriously disappear from Youtube at any moment, so someone here with computer skills should use a program to download it for prosperity quickly: my Orbit is no longer working with Youtube, hopefully someone else can successfully download it and upload it somewhere safe.)

  • This intelligent goodhearted person gave a wonderful review of the video Johnny posted.

    Notice that towards the end of the review, the reviewer reminds us of 3 important points:

    1. The police officers were attempting to intimidate and FORCE this person to show his I.D., and this person is completely within his rights to refuse to be forced to show his I.D.

    2. The police officers were attempting to intimidate and FORCE this person to stop recording their actions, and this person is completely within his rights to refuse to be forced to stop recording.

    3. At the same time, this person does NOT need to be so confrontational with the police officers, and when we find ourselves in a similar situation of police officers trying to FORCE us to say yes to something that is voluntary, we should refuse in a MUCH MORE FRIENDLY WAY.

    See, that’s the problem with the current collection of “Refusal Videos” on youtube so far, the people doing the refusals are mainly Yakuza-type folks refusing in an angry rude way, like this guy here:

    It’s wonderful to see that the police can not arrest us for refusing, great, but it seems to me that these “Rude Refusal” videos have been created and posted with the malicious goal of making people comment, “Man, lok at this jerk, I feel bad for the police officers, LET’S GIVE THE POLICE OFFICERS THE AUTHORITY TO TASER AND ARREST ANYONE WHO DOESN’T SUBMIT!”

    That’s why we it is vital for us to start creating and posting videos showing the PROPER, FRIENDLY, ACCEPTABLE way to be on your way with no delay:

    “Jikan ga arimasen, ittemo yoroshii desu ka?”
    “Jikan ga arimasen, ittemo yoroshii desu ka?”
    “Jikan ga arimasen, ittemo yoroshii desu ka?”

    Anyway, about that good-natured reviewer’s videos, here are 3 very important screen-shots relevant to this issue: Heartfelt talk – Part 1 Heartfelt talk – Part 2 Heartfelt talk – Part 3

  • While rummaging through an online garbage-can, I found this one little gem:

    Somebody took Debito’s PDF, fixed a few typos, and called it their creation.

    Well, waiving that paper will show you know the laws, but still, even quicker is: “Am I free to go?”

    Notice that all the refusal videos waste a lot of time asking police officers, “Why are you doing this? You can’t do this. I know my rights, blah-blah-blah.”

    The police officers simply think to themselves, “OK pal, I’ve been trained to stand here and listen to refusers like you voluntarily giving statement after statement which I will write down later totally incorrectly, I’m simply fishing for statements, if I had any ability to arrest you guy I would have done it already, if you had done anything illegal the cuffs would be on you already, I’ve got nothing on you so I’m simply trying to get you to say something suspicious, go ahead punk, talk yourself silly for hours, I’ve got all day buddy, keep on making logical debate-style statements that I’m just gonna’ ignore and brush away with continued demands for you to submit, eventually you’ll decide it’s ‘quicker to just give up and submit’ like most weak suckers do, or you’ll mess up and say something arrestable because you got too emotional, or you’ll accidentally brush up against me while waving your hands around, then I get to arrest you, then you’re going to be in jail for 23 to 33 days waiting to tell your sob-story to a judge, go ahead, keep imagining that your debate technique is somehow going to affect me.”

    Meanwhile, when someone simply calmly gets the police officers’ precinct, name, and number recorded, and calmly asks to leave, the police officer thinks to himself, “Damn, he got my info and he clearly asked to leave, he’s even recording himself asking to leave, so in this case: I have no choice but to say ‘Mochiron, ittemo ii yo.’

    “Of course, after I admit to this clever guy that he is free to go, and he starts to walk away, I might ask an innocent-sounding parting-question like they taught me at the academy, which often fools the guy into turning back around and voluntarily continuing the conversation, for example ‘Doko ni iku no?’ or ‘Nande sonnani hayaku nigitai no?’ or ‘Nanka poketto ni nanka aru no?’ heh-heh. Those kind of parting-questions often fool the victim into restarting the voluntary conversation process, in which case if he ever wants to escape again he’s going to have to ask the magic question again.”

    In summary, you have 3 options, which will you choose:

    Submit to the demands.
    Stand there arguing for hours.
    Politely ask if you are free to go.

    — For the record, the original PDF was not my creation — it was kindly created by a volunteer. Efforts much appreciated.

  • Found it! 🙂 Here is the exact 7-11 Address: “東京都世田谷区代田3-41-8”

    Here is the Google Maps link:

    The road is 環状七号線 and that particular intersection is 宮前橋交差点.

    Setagaya Police Station is obviously the station with jurisdiction, yet…
    Kitazawa Police Station happens to be physically the closest station.
    I think someone should send notarized letters to BOTH stations’ Chiefs.

    By sending a letter to the closer Kitazawa Chief as well, we get him involved.
    The Kitazawa Chief might then get angry if the Setagaya Chief takes no action.
    The Kitazawa Chief might then refer the evidence to an even higher boss.

    For the letters to be effective they must ONLY complain about the fact that the Police Officer said, “Jiko De Wa Nai” and that he did not attend to the accident. Case Closed.

    (The decider’s logic and motivation would be turned off, leaving you with no concrete results, if you were to complain about the action which they are trained to commit and rationalize everyday: interrogating people. Shokumu Shitsumon is not going to get this guy fired. Instead, leaving car crash victims to possibly die in the street is what might get him fired.)

    The ONLY action you should complain about is the Police Officer’s initial Denial of the Accident and his subsequent Refusal to attend to the Accident:

    “Chief, if YOUR baby was in a small car hit by a big truck, injured and losing blood, while a police officer heard the accident yet refused to attend to the accident, what penalties would YOU suggest imposing?”

    In addition to Youtube, the video evidence is now posted here too:

    And you can download it onto your own harddrive using the most recent version of Orbit:

    Merely telling the Chiefs to “check out some internet link” might not help his investigation much, because the police stations usually don’t have internet connections (they only have INTRA-net) and even if the chief does check out the internet link from his home he probably doesn’t know how to download the file.

    So, to make it easier for the Chief to actually enter this important video evidence into his investigation, you should include in your letter envelopes a few USB drives with the video evidence ALREADY conveniently copied on it (USB drive price: 1,000 yen each. Feeling of helping justice be done: Priceless)

    BTW, as a “paranoid” person (meaning, a person that realistically acknowledges that innocent people are unjustly jailed and imprisoned by authorities everyday, both by mistake and on purpose, and simply not wanting to become an arrest quota statistic), I’m not going to be sending any letters out to any authorities (perhaps maybe AFTER I receive both Permanent Residency and Nationalization, I might become brave.)

    Meanwhile, I hope that one of the readers here braver than me who happens to be a “Nationalized Citizen of Japan” will successfully convince his/her “Real Yamato Citizen of Japan” spouse to write the effective notarized letter outlined above and send it to the 2 Police Chiefs, plus CC the letter to the all the major media outlets in Japan.

    The chance of the Chiefs taking action will be increased if you add to the bottom of the letter:

    CC: 日本放送協会, 日本テレビ放送, 東京放送, フジテレビジョン, テレビ朝日, テレビ東京, 読売新聞, 朝日新聞, 毎日新聞, 東京新聞, TBSラジオ, NHKラジオ, etc.

    Whoever has the courage to send the letter (with USB drives included with the video evidence file) to 2 Police Chiefs and 12 News Editors, will definitely deserve a free round or three of drinks from the human rights community! 🙂

  • @Debito ”Take a deep breath and relax, and don’t let the end-year stress get to you, making you overthink things. (Heaven knows, I’m struggling to do that too.)”

    End of year stress, or end of decade stress? It is hard to think about objectively but let’s try; was it ever this stressful here 10, or 20 years ago? My job is realtively easy now, but I still find myself really stressed out due to a growing frustration and paranoia from being in this increasingly (to me) unfriendly, pseudo police state, and all I can do is think of ways to relocate to another country.

    This might need a new thread to close the year and invite perspectives from all readers.Especially those who remember the old days.

    To sum up from my western perspective, once upon a time certain gaijins were welcome guests (though still kept separate) and weren’t expected to pay all the taxes either, because they were seen as temporary.(This is where G.Clark is coming from, though he is clinging to the past).

    Now they re seen as having outstayed their welcome. Rising taxes without comensurate benefits and the “guest” treatment basically you are penalized for remaining or even naturalizing.

    No wonder not a few posters think about leaving, who have the option.

    I wish you a Zen Xmas and a Stressless New Year.

    — Thanks. Sorry to hear. I’ll create a Weekend Tangent about this and open Saturday and Sunday for discussion about whether people are thinking of staying or leaving here.

  • The badge number is specific to the station that he works at. I believe the station can be identified by the first 2 alpha (A to Z) digits, in this case “OO” or “OD”. All police officer badges in Japan are 2 alpha digits followed by a 3-digit number. And I’ve noticed that police officers from the same station have the same 2 alpha digits.

  • Even if you don’t know which station the police officer works at, you can still call the main complaints number for Tokyo Metro Police headquarters: 03-3501-0110 and give them the police officer’s badge number. They can track which station he works at and process your complaint at the same time. Translators are on duty.

  • Great catch James! You’re right, his badge number DOES say OD 254. There we have it, Setagaya Police Station OD 254.

    By the way I see that the Vimeo link above allows one to download the file WITHOUT having to use Orbit (because Vimeo has a nice “Download” button – you just have to sign up for a free Vimeo account and sign in to use the Download option.)

    I also see that the file someone uploaded to Vimeo has been converted from flv to AVI. Sweet. That means it will be easier for non-tech savvy people to easily open it and play it and see it. 🙂

  • I called the Setagaya Police station and asked if they have an email where I can send the link to the YouTube video, but they said no. Anybody want to help me on this?

    Also, everytime I get stopped from now on I plan to take a video of the encounter. You can file a complaint by either calling the Tokyo Metro Police headquarters at 03-3501-0110; or by filing a paper complaint with the Public Safety Commission, which explains the procedure in Japanese at

    But as far as sending a link to a video, I don’t know how to do that. It would be nice though and definitely would streamline the complaint process.

  • That DVD idea is great, thanks. The Kitazawa and Setagaya police chiefs (and even the Kouan Iinkai” folks, and even the media folks) might be reluctant to put a USB thumbdrive into their computers (for fear of a virus) but they will certainly put a DVD into a DVD player.

    Now let’s remember, even more important than the police chiefs, and the Kouan Iinkai, is: sending the DVDs to the head editors of 日本放送協会, 日本テレビ放送, 東京放送, フジテレビジョン, テレビ朝日, テレビ東京, 読売新聞, 朝日新聞, 毎日新聞, 東京新聞, TBSラジオ, NHKラジオ

    Because without outraged media journalists making a big deal about this “Jiko de wa nai” scandal, the police chiefs are not likely to punish their own.

    This DVD needs to be sent to media journalists so that THEY will be properly outraged about this scandal (a police officer who HEARD and even SAW a car run a red light and slam into another car, yet he said “Jiko de wa nai”, and then he refused to walk 20 meters away to the 宮前橋交差点 intersection where the accident occurred, and finally when he used his walkie-talkie: he only mentioned that “an accident has occurred somewhere on 環状七号線” thus since he didn’t tell the name of the intersection: he didn’t help any police or ambulance come to the accident at all.)

    Whoever sends the letter to the media with the DVD should also mention that this probably occurred on November 18th or 19th (since the video was uploaded by the outraged witness on November 19th.)

    When the TV channels start calling the Setagaya Chief to get his comment about the video evidence which they are going to show all of Japan, THIS will create the proper motivation for the Setagaya Chief to do what he should do: distance himself from this disgraceful scandal by firing the perpetrator, and perhaps even arresting and prosecuting the perpetrator for possibly leaving someone to die in the intersection.

    The Setagaya Chief will thus be inclined to reply to the outraged journalists, “ABSOLUTELY. I’m glad this was brought to my attention. Refusing to attend to an accident is NOT proper procedure, this is NOT what we teach at the academy, and this is NOT going to go unpunished. This officer will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, just as civilians are prosecuted for not checking for injuries when they are involved in an accident.”

    Please, somebody with a little courage, burn the DVD and send it to a few TV channels, at the very least. As soon as the packages are sent, we can relax knowing that we did our duty.

  • Judging from the photo at and the fact that the police officer stopped the bicyclist directly in front of the 7-11 store, the intersection on the left of the photo, where the accident occurred, is pretty damn close. That was just a few steps away for the police officer actually!

  • If someone could post the email addresses of 日本放送協会, 日本テレビ放送, 東京放送, フジテレビジョン, テレビ朝日, テレビ東京, 読売新聞, 朝日新聞, 毎日新聞, 東京新聞, TBSラジオ, NHKラジオ, and any other news stations and newspapers, I would be happy to send the link to this YouTube video and a nice letter as well. I can’t burn the file to dvd format though.

  • @alex

    run the file through g-spot:

    DVD “VOB” format
    MPEG-2 Program Stream << { 1 vid, 1 aud }
    Sys Bitrate: 10080 kb/s VBR

    It's ready to be burned as DVD, change the file extension to .VOB and use your VIDEO DVD burning application.

    — Can we take this discussion off-blog now, please?

  • Can I just add that when you see situations like this, where someone is being “randomly questioned,” it may be good to stop and bear witness. In my neighborhood Asian immigrants are often stopped, and I’ll support with an attentive but non-intrusive observation of the cops’ procedure.


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