THE JAPAN TIMES, July 27, 2004

Know the law
As terror fears cause crackdown, foreign residents should know their legal rights

(Click here to read the brief this article came from, with full Japanese text of laws and referential links.)

Courtesy http://www.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/getarticle.pl5?fl20040727zg.htm

PHOTO: A Police officer stands guard at Shinbashi station in Tokyo
in March. More police have been deployed in train stations and
transport hubs as fears of a terrorist attack increase.

You might have noticed the dragnet in Japan these days.

Law enforcement's crackdown on foreigners (bolstered by official
declarations on the subject, including yesterday's speeches by
Emperor Akihito on rising crime and international terrorism and Prime
Minister Junichiro Koizumi on the growing threat of foreign crime
has resulted in a lot more people being stopped on the street for
identity checks.

After all, the current logic runs, who knows how many foreigners
have overstayed their visas? Best to check anyone foreign-looking
just to make sure.

However, "Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?" asks the responsible
society, and Japan is no exception. What's to stop the authorities
from going too far? Japanese laws, of course. And readers who are
Japan residents should be aware of them.

What should you do if somebody asks for your ID?
Your "ID" is essentially your "Gaijin Card," since that is the only
form of identification all foreign residents by law must carry.

When asked, say that only the police can demand it. Anyone else,
such as a hotelier, a video store clerk, a JR staff member, etc.,

Check this out: Alien Registration Law: ("Gaikokujin Touroku Hou")
Article 13; Clause 2: "The alien shall present his registration
certificate to the Immigration Inspector, Immigration Control Officer
(meaning the Immigration Control Officer provided for in the
Immigration Control Act), Police Official, Maritime Safety Official
or any other official of the state or local public entity prescribed
by the Ministry of Justice Ordinance, if such official requests the
presentation of the registration certificate in the performance of
his duties."

This means only those officials certified by the Ministry of Justice
can demand it.

Still, some companies refuse foreigners service unless they display
their passport or Gaijin Card. Why? In many cases, such as Shinjuku
sports clubs, the police are asking them to help find overstayers.

Deputizing the business community is authority overstepped, and at
variance with the law. So show them the above law, and ask to be
allowed to display the same ID as any other Japanese customer.

What if the police ask for your ID?
Ask for a reason why.

Under Police Execution of Duties Act ("Keisatsukan Shokumu Shikkou
Hou"); Section 2 (my translation), Clause Two: "A police officer is
able to ask for a person's ID, but only if based on a reasonable
judgment of a situation, where the policeman sees some strange
conduct and some crime is being committed, or else he has enough
reason to suspect that a person will commit or has committed a crime,
or else when it has been officially determined that a particular
person knows a crime will be committed.

In these cases, a police officer may stop a person for questioning."

You cannot just arbitrarily come up to a person and ask him who he
is. There must be a "specific crime" or "suspicion of a crime"

The act of being a foreigner in itself is insufficient probable
cause, and you should calmly let a cop know that.

However, if a cop knows his laws (and chances are he will), he might
assert (incorrectly) that the Police Execution of Duties Act does not
apply to foreigners. The Alien Registration Law (Clause 2 above)
trumps it.

Or he might just come up with a reason, such as "crime prevention,"
for stopping you on your bicycle. What then?

Well, sorry, you will have to show your ID.

But still there is a check. You can also ask the cop to show his ID back. How?

The Alien Registration Law; Section 13, Clause 3: "In case the
official mentioned in the preceding paragraph requests the
presentation of the registration certificate in a place other than
his office, he shall carry with him the identification card showing
his official status and present it upon request."

So make the request. Once presented, I recommend you, again calmly,
write down the cop's details. He will do the same for you, of course,
but holding a cop personally accountable might give him a little
incentive to treat you responsibly.

Note the loophole. The cop only has to show I.D. if he stops you on
the street, or anywhere other than the police box. So to avoid
showing you his ID . . .

A cop may try to take you to a police box.

They cannot do so against your will, unless they formally arrest
("taihosuru") you.

Under the Police Execution of Duties Law; Article 2 (my
translation), Clause Two: "It is possible to ask a particular person
to accompany the police to a nearby police station, (police box), or
any police administration area for questioning if it is determined
that this place is unsuitable for questioning because it obstructs
traffic or is disadvantageous to the questionee."

And Clause Three: "Unless there is something connected with a
criminal court case, officials may not confine, bring back to any
police administration area, or else coerce a person to reply to
questions against his will."

This means that a cop has the right to ask you to accompany him to
the police box. But you have the right to refuse, and he has no right
to restrict your movements without a formal charge or arrest. This is
not, fortunately, trumped by the Alien Registration Law.

However, please don't misunderstand. I am not advocating that you
give a cop a bad donut day just for the sport of it. Police in Japan
have a lot of discretionary power.

For example, if they feel you are being uncooperative, and that
includes claiming your right to remain silent ("mokuhi ken" -- which
automatically carries a suspicion of guilt here), they can arrest you
for "obstruction of official duties" ("koumu shikkou bougai") and
question you for up to 23 days on a single charge
. So don't do this
for fun.

Nevertheless, checks and balances have become necessary.

As seen in previous Zeit Gist columns, foreigners are being targeted
these days, often regardless of any legal grounds or extenuating

Japan does in fact have laws to curb this. So know about them. I
even suggest you print them up and carry them around with you. I do.
As residents, we should let people know that we won't accept wanton
questioning without some kind of justification or explanation.

So keep a cool head and make the authorities obey the law. It is
also there to protect us.

For a walk-though an ID check scenario, see
http://www.debito.org/instantcheckpoints2.html< FONT SIZE="4">. You can download and print up the Japanese text of the laws presented in the article from
this link, and you may like to stick a copy in your wallet or bag for
future reference or to show to a law enforcement official.

Send your comments to: community@japantimes.co.jp

The Japan Times: July 27, 2004
(C) All rights reserved
ENDS< BR> July 29, 2004

< BR>

Date: Mon, 26 Jul 2004 16:33:36 +0900
From: Arudou Debito <debito@debito.org>
Subject: FLASH: Emperor talks about rising crime

Hi All. Dovetailing with my recent post concerning my upcoming Japan
Times article on Gaijin Card Checkpoints, a bit of hot news:

The Police Law (Keisatsuhou) which we all know and love for its
thoroughness and high conviction rates was passed exactly 50 years
ago. To commemorate this event, there was a ceremony today, where PM
Koizumi made a reference to "foreign crime" (according to NHK today
at 1PM) in a speech about public safety. Preliminary background
information in Japanese for now:

http:// www.yomiuri.co.jp/national/news/20040726ic05.htm
http://www.mainichi-msn.co.jp/shakai/ koushitsu/news/20040726k0000e040047000c.html
(Text of the Mainichi article below in case the link is dead)

Even The Emperor was fed a speech which said, according to the
Mainichi (my translation):

" In recent years, with the rise in crime, and the threat of
international terrorism, the importance of your duties is increasing.
I ask you, in accordance with the ideals of the laws, to redouble
your efforts to realize a society where citizens (kokumin) can live
peacefully and securely (anshin)"

 天皇陛下は「 近年は、犯罪増加に加え、国際的なテロの脅ミもあり、任務の
重要性もますま す高まっております。今後も現行法の理念に従い、国民が安心
して暮らせる社 会の実現に一層尽力されることを願います」と述べた。
===================== ===============

Great. Now the media-manufactured fear of crime, especially the
international dimension, has reached the very top of the pyramid. I
admit that The Emperor did not refer in specific to "foreign crime"
(Koizumi did), but given the current climate of racial profiling and
targeting, I see that redoubling of efforts soon affecting the
domestic international dimension.
http:/ /www.debito.org/TheCommunity/communityissues.html#police

(I won't even get into the insensitivity of the "kokumin" (citizen)
rubric. "Juumin" (resident), anyone?)

Anyway, keep your Gaijin Card on a string. Thanks to Mark for the
links. Debito in Sapporo

Mainichi article text:

両陛下迎え記念式典 首相ら が約300人出席

http://www.mainichi-msn.co.jp/shakai/ koushitsu/news/20040726k0000e040047000c.html

 都道府県の警察に 捜査活動など主要な権限を与えた現行警察制度の発足から今月で50年を迎えたこと を記念し、「現行警察法施行50周年記念式典」が26日、東京都内で開かれた。天 皇、皇后両陛下と小泉純一郎首相らが列席し、各都道府県警本部長ら約300人が出 席した。
 天皇陛下は「近年は、犯罪増加に加え、国際的なテロの脅威もあり 、任務の重要性もますます高まっております。今後も現行法の理念に従い、国民が安 心して暮らせる社会の実現に一層尽力されることを願います」と述べた。
 佐 藤英彦・警察庁長官は「警察はこの制度のもとで幾多の困難に直面しながらも、治安 維持の責務をまっとうしてきた。今後も民主的管理運営と能率的任務遂行を目指す現 行法の理念を末永く守りつつ、治安の復活に全力を傾注していきたい」と決意を表し た。
 天皇、皇后両陛下は式典の後、生物化学テロ発生時の防護服など警備資 機材を初めて視察した。【窪田弘由記】

毎日新聞 2004年7月26日 12時 04分

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