The following text is available for one-page download at http://www.debito.org/shokumushitsumon.doc.
I suggest that people print it up and carry it around for easy
reference when situations require. Shrink it down to fit in
your wallet or purse as necessary. 1)
IF SOMEBODY ASKS FOR YOUR I.D. (namely your "Gaijin Card", or Zairyuu
meaning a hotelier, a video store, a JR staff member, etc., tell
them that only the police can demand it,
under Immigration Control Act (Nyuukoku Kanri Hou) Art. 23
==================================== "Foreigners, when asked to show their Gaijin Cards, passports,
or other official ID by immigration investigation officials,
police, coast guard, or any other national or local public
official or group empowered by the Ministry of Justice as part
of the execution of their duties, must show."
This means that if you are asked to show your ID by a non-cop (say,
ID at a bank), you may choose to do so that
does not require your Gaijin Card (use a Japanese driver's
license or health insurance card), like any other Japanese resident.
2) IF THE POLICE ASK FOR YOUR I.D.:
ask if this is shokumu shitsumon (professional inquiry
職務質問). If so, they need a reason. Because, under Police Execution of
Duties Law (KeisatsukanShokumu Shikkou Hou), Section
==================================== "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 (utagau ni
tariru soutou na riyuu) that a person will commit or has
committed a crime, or else it has been acknowledged that a
particular person knows a crime will be committed. In these
cases a police officer may stop a person for questioning."
警察官職務執行法 第二条 警察官は、異常な挙動その他周囲の事情から合理 的に判
meaning that there must be probable cause (soutou
na riyuu) a *specific crime* or *suspicion of a crime*
occurring before questioning can occur. Just being a
foreigner is insufficient probable cause, and without a good reason
a policeman's arbitrary questions to a stranger are against the law.
If they say yes, this is Shokumu Shitsumon, ask if there is
a reason. If they say it is Shokumu Shitsumon but
there is no suspicion of a crime, then ask if you may leave.
Repeat as necessary.
3) IF THE POLICE COME UP WITH A REASON FOR
such as, if you are riding a bicycle, stopping you on the suspicion
that you may have stolen it (moreover, a sapient cop will know the Nyuukoku
Kanri Hou trumps the Shokumu Shikkou Hou here), then,
as a foreign resident you will ultimately have to show your
ID. However, there is a check. You can also ask the cop to show his ID (as in his police
badge, or keisatsu techou), under Nyuukoku
Kanri Hou Art. 23 Clause 4:
"Public officials governed by the previous clause, if asking
for the Gaijin Card, must carry a certificate of their identity
and present it if asked."
Once displayed, write down or photograph the cop's ID details FRONT
AND BACK (you must get a name or you cannot file a report if the cop
becomes abusive). Audio/video record the conversation too; you can
legally do this – research on
YouTube for 職務質問).
4) IF THE POLICE TRY TO TAKE YOU TO THE POLICE
they cannot do so against your will, unless they formally arrest
you, under the Shokumu Shikkou Hou Art. 2, Clause 2 and 3:
==================================== 2: "It is possible to ask a particular person to accompany the
[police] to a nearby police station, police branch [kouban], or
any police administration area for questioning if it is
determined this place is unsuitable for questioning because it
obstructs traffic or is disadvantageous to the questionee." 3: "Unless there is a regulation relating to
criminal action, officials may not confine, bring back to any
police administration area, or else coerce a person to reply to
questions against his will."
警察官職務執行法 第二条 第二項 その場で前項の質問をすることが本人に 対して
which means that a cop has the right to ASK you to accompany him to
the Kouban, but you have the right to REFUSE, and he has no
right to restrict your movements without a formal charge or arrest (taiho).
Do NOT, however, become loud or aggressive, or the CAN arrest you
for obstruction of an official in the course of his duties. It
may result in a tense stand-off, but keep calm and repeatedly ask if
you may leave.
5) IF THE POLICE REQUEST A SEARCH OF YOUR BODY
Ask for a warrant, and say that you cannot
comply without one: “Reijou wa arimasu ka?
Nakereba dekimasen.” 令状はありますか。なければできません。I suggest you do not
submit to the search, because police (particularly those in
Roppongi) have been taking it too far (like they did back in 2009
with their spot urine tests, thinking that NJ are all drug users,
which only stopped when it was exposed in The Japan Times) and
putting their hands in your pockets. If you don't stand up for
yourself, cops will just keep taking liberties.
6) REPORT ABUSIVE BEHAVIOR TO THE AUTHORITIES:
To the Public Safety Commission (Kouan Iinkai) in your
prefecture. Tokyo: www.kouaniinkai.metro.tokyo.jp/osirase.html.
You can file the complaint in English – they have translators, but
only if you have the cop’s full name and badge number.