Reuters: Japanese police urged to take “light-touch” towards NJ during Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup. Yeah, sure.


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Hi Blog.  It turns out Japan has earned a reputation from past experiences hosting international events.

The racism-riddled debacles that were the soccer World Cup 2002 and the G8 Summits (here and here) made me question whether Japan as a society (let alone its politicians and police) was mature enough to handle any temporary influx of NJ, let alone as visa-legal NJ workers and residents of Japan.

But it seems it wasn’t just me. Some months ago, the Rugby World Cup and staff from two embassies actually cautioned the Japanese police to ease up on their overzealousness towards NJ.  As previous blog entries have shown, it’s questionable whether they are actually doing that (as they are bending the law to encourage racial profiling at hotels etc.).

But the following article deserves to be recorded on because it shows at least somebody out there is taking notice, despite all the official “omotenashi” wallpapering over Japan’s latent exclusionism that goes ignored, if not encouraged, by Japanese authorities.  I look forward to seeing what the International Olympic Committee has to say in Tokyo in a year.  Debito Arudou Ph.D.


Rugby – Japan police urged to take ‘light-touch’ approach at World Cup
REUTERS APRIL 18, 2019, By Jack Tarrant, courtesy of JDG

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese police have been encouraged to take a “light-touch approach” during the Rugby World Cup, with organisers telling Reuters they had visited host cities to emphasise that while fans will be boisterous they are unlikely to cause trouble.

More than 400,000 foreign fans are expected to descend on Japan for the Sept. 20 to Nov. 2 tournament and concerns have been raised that police might not have enough experience to deal with the influx.

Staff from two embassies have expressed concern to Reuters that police may overreact to perceived intimidation from fans.

Mick Wright, 2019 executive director for operations, said host cities had received briefings on what to expect and that organisers had downplayed concerns about unruly fans.

“We have been on a bit of a mission, we have had a roadshow going around all the cities talking about … rugby fans and what they expect from their behaviour,” Wright told Reuters.

Wright, who also works as a technical advisor to the International Olympic Committee, said host cities would be swamped by large numbers of fans drinking huge quantities of alcohol but that the mood would be a positive one.

“We have been explaining to all the cities that they better stock up on beer because we know from history that rugby fans will drink a lot,” he said.

“It is part and parcel of rugby’s ethos and culture.

“The way the fans behave, it might be loud and it might be raucous but it won’t be intimidating.

“With the police, I think we have been really successful in explaining to them that the light-touch approach is going to be better,” added Wright.

Yoshiya Takesako, Japan 2019 director of security, said the police had been told what to expect from fans and how to react.

“Rugby fans may seem scary but they are not,” said Takesako, who has been seconded from the Japanese police.

“This has been explained to the police so they have been educated that fans will drink a lot and may sing or be loud but it is not like they will hurt anybody.

“I have told the police forces many, many times to respond to fans in a reasonable way.”

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20 comments on “Reuters: Japanese police urged to take “light-touch” towards NJ during Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup. Yeah, sure.

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Well, the Olympics is going to be so much fun!
    The 2012 London Olympics had 10,000 security staff. Remember, this was at the height of the ‘War on Terror’ and the U.K. was fighting alongside the US in Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.K. had open borders with the rest of the EU giving, and there was a very real risk of terrorism.

    10,000 security staff.

    Japan wants 50,000 for the Tokyo Olympics! And they are freaking out that they can’t fill the gaps! Even considering the SDF! Peace-loving Japan that didn’t fight in the war on terror and doesn’t have any free-movement agreements with other countries!

    They are so afraid! They really shouldn’t try to host these events if they are so scared of the guests.

    • Jim Di Griz says:

      Hidden in the article was this nugget;
      ‘The committee also decided on the use of facial recognition technology’.

      Use the Olympics ‘security threat’ as an excuse to beta-test the system, then nationwide roll-out?
      Can’t wait to see how that works out. Just this weekend Hong Kong made face masks illegal because it defeats facial recognition technology, and we all know how much the Japanese love their masks. What will they do when the government says its illegal to wear them? Or will it only be illegal for NJ to wear masks?
      I’m waiting for those Japanese who wear them as a physical manifestation of a psychological desire to make a barrier to others to start having meltdowns.

      Again, Japan has never had such a high number of police officers, to patrol a record small population, with a record low crime rate. And yet, the expansion of state powers to surveil expands.

      • Like the Silent J-Woman of Kawaguchi case (she would not speak a word to the Japanese police/”strangers”)’ :they thought she looked like a gaijin, you will see Japanese Civic Society tear at itself as anti-social hikkikomori trends versus increased state invasion of aforementioned desire for privacy.
        Probably just an acceleration of societal breakdown as has already been occuring.

          • Jim Di Griz says:

            Yeah, it’s ‘great’ isn’t it?
            Japanese cops arresting Japanese people for not fitting the cops image of what Japanese people should look like, and no one thinks this is a problem.

          • On Feb. 25, 2006, a 28-year-old foreign-looking Japanese woman was arrested in Kawaguchi, Saitama Prefecture, for not carrying a foreign passport.

            Grounds for suspicion? According to the Mainichi Shimbun, she was carrying an envelope with Portuguese writing on it. Unable to talk because she was reportedly “not good at speaking to strangers,” she was released when they finally contacted her family after more than a full day of interrogation.

            Begs the question “what is foreign looking?”
            The “not good talking to strangers” is just soooo Japan, but it could also be an excuse ie. she just didnt want to talk to the police, ie. you have the right to remain silent (except in Japan)

          • Police quoted the woman’s mother as telling them, “My daughter wouldn’t talk to anybody she doesn’t know.” (Mainichi)

            Or, fears the police…

  • realitycheck says:

    Talking about the Rugby World Cup, no tears were shed by me when Japan just before lost to South Africa. Despite some media cheerleading from non Japanese media about the ‘Brave Blossoms’ Diversity’, the national team is a glaring example of the utilitarianism laced with selective discrimination found in Japanese institutions.
    Foreigners are welcome to fast tracked Citizenship/PR when they can throw a rugby ball or do an Olympic sport well.
    Others who have worked in Japan for a number of years or even decades and paid their dues, especially those from developing countries, find barriers put in place to prevent even PR.
    Despite all the talk about lowered thresholds for PR it is still difficult to obtain especially compared to the ease with which Japanese citizens can get PR in other countries, particularly in western countries.
    But when it comes to competing internationally in sporting events, well then, magically the barriers melt for foreigners especially in sports at which Japan has usually been poor.
    I have heard from a number of Japanese people the expression ‘Africa won the World Cup in soccer’, usually expressed in a snide way.
    However, a key difference is the French team’s African ethnicity players were born in France to immigrant families hence the right to French citizenship or could obtain it despite being born in Africa as a natural process in France irrespective of whether they were the finished product as a soccer player – which in most cases they were not at the time.
    I am glad the fake diversity in Japan’s Rugby team paraded by the Japanese media for the international media’s benefit did not result in anything more than a quarter final appearance.
    A country that gives a seal citizenship as well as fast tracking citizenship in the case of high level foreign sports players while behaving the way it does to most of its foreign residents, doesn’t deserve to go far in any international sporting event.

    — Just for the record: The seal, Tama-chan, was given residency, not citizenship.

    • Jim Di Griz says:

      I agree with this assessment.
      According to rugby eligibility rules, Japan was able to put together a squad with 16(?) players who in any other walk of Japanese life would get asked ‘when are you going back?’. I’m not sure how many of those players are actually ‘Japanese’ by Japanese legal standards, never mind the racism they would face for not looking Japanese by Japanese cultural standards.
      Satisfying to see a Japanese team that represents Japanese double-standards, against a background of apartheid attitudes to NJ (remember Abe’s buddy Ayako Sono?) lose to a nation that has thoroughly rejected apartheid and fielded a team of players who represent the real level of diversity in their society.
      The message that diversity increases strength will yet again be lost in jingoistic nationalist fantasy no doubt.

      • Andrew in Saitama says:

        My gripe comes from a different part of the spectrum. I -despite my antipathy to sports in general – was actually quite pleased to see some diversity on the Japanese team (remembering that sports players always get special treatment in every country)
        No, my problem was that the J-media only made one distinction – Japanese and foreign-born. Somehow, obtaining citizenship is not enough.
        Moreover, the people talking about Japan’s “foreign” players included a former Zainichi Korean (only naturalised within the last decade and never talks about her Korean heritage) and a transvestite (whose gender identity is somehow not up for discussion)

        And as JDG predicted, almost none of the Blossoms’ players of international origin ever got a spot in the media.

        Anyway, I’m glad the Japanese team is out of the running, so we don’t have two hours of TV dedicated to every try made three days previously.

      • Lucky they lost, tellingly by a huge margin, but now some idiot might say “its because half the team werent “real” Japanese”.

        I hope not, but lets watch out for this. Remember, Mori, the shark brained, flea hearted beloved ex leader, is the president of the rugby union. This is the sort of comment he, or his zeitgeist, would inspire.

  • More scare-mongering about foreigners;

    Shibuya cracking down on Halloween on the implausible idea that ‘many foreign tourists travel to Japan to join “Shibuya Halloween.”’.

    Really? NJ fly into Japan to spend a Saturday night standing on an overcrowded pedestrian crossing with ‘DJ Police’, and then fly back out the next day?

    Is the Halloween street gathering at Shibuya crossing really an internationally well known event that is worth flying in for? Really?

    Maybe it’s just all the eikaiwa teachers in the Tokyo area, no?

    And let’s not forget, the drunken hooligans who turned over the K-truck at last year’s were all Japanese. But I guess the police can’t crack down on them because they have narratives to uphold about racial mumbo-jumbo.

    Still, the idea that some stuffy Oyaji in the Shibuya ward office thinks that the Halloween party at Shibuya crossing is an international ‘destination’ is so beyond myopic and out of touch with self-importance that it’s almost a quaint example of Japanese navel-gazing.

    • Interestingly, there was a ‘party’ at Shibuya last night (31st) on the actual date of Halloween, in addition to the one last weekend.

      Still despite a mere nine (9!) arrests at this crowded event, it’s described in the following terms;
      ‘Mayhem unfolds’
      ‘Chaos descends’
      ‘Increased security’
      ‘Subdue the mayhem’
      ‘Absolutely insane’
      ‘A messy event’
      ‘Trash the place’
      ‘Anarchic behavior’

      But only nine arrests by ‘hundreds of police and security guards’ deployed? Doesn’t seem to match the hyperbole of the article which makes Halloween in Shibuya sound like a weekend of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong!

      More scaremongering to taint a ‘foreign culture’ event by association. Clearly, no NJ were amongst those arrested at the article gives the point short shrift and moves on to talk about nice Japanese boys who went to the event to pick up litter instead of wearing costumes (never mind that the vast majority of the litter must have been statistically dropped by other Japanese), because ‘they thought picking up trash would draw more attention than wearing flashy costumes’.
      How very alteuistic of them!

      But I guess the real cause of the bellyaching in that ‘Shibuya Ward adopted an ordinance to ban alcohol consumption in parks and on streets near Shibuya Station on Halloween and on the weekend before it.’, but ‘Many people were seen drinking on the streets’.
      Oh! The horror! Japanese people not following the old men’s rules! Damn this foreign cultural invasion corrupting Japan’s youth!

      Remember, Shibuya officials still believe this is an international destination event.

  • Andrew in Saitama says:

    Oh, good grief! The JT’s Facebook page managed to have more than its share of NJ idiots claiming that the overturning of the truck last year was at the hands of other NJ. I guess they have bought into the “all crimes in Japan are committed by foreigners” narrative.

    Are we going to have another police official talking about banning the event, not because of wild, unruly behaviour or drunkenness, but because the costumes prevent the police from “being able to tell who is a foreigner”?

    But my biggest gripe with the whole thing is the interrogations I get.
    “Were you in Shibuya for the Halloween event?”

    I don’t do Halloween. It’s not in my culture.
    But no. The Japanese are told by other Japanese that Halloween is a “foreign” event, or at least an “English speaker” event.

    Like if I started asking all the Japanese around me,
    “Were you in Kashima for the Shino-Ryu embu?”
    “What do you do for the Nebuta Festival?”

    But no one actually wants to know that Halloween is culturally irrelevant for some of us. They want to force me to fit their image of what an NJ is supposed to be.

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    I really ought to stop looking at Japan Times.
    It’s constant barrage of navel-gazing Japan is great and apologist NJ contributors doesn’t leave much room for any news.

    Case in point;

    The Rugby World Cup is almost over.
    Aside from this one widely covered story of a team disturbing the ‘wa’ in a restaurant, I didn’t see any trouble reported;

    And these were team players! The very people Japan entered a bidding competition to host (N.B. These micreants were allowed to leave the country normally. Not arrested, detained in solitary, separated from family contact etc.).

    Conversely, another team helped clean up typhoon damage;


    But the JT can’t stop itself from putting out an article by an NJ complaining about rugby fan’s bad behavior reflecting poorly on her.
    And she’s angry. Never mind that even by her own admission, Japanese drunks are equally obnoxious, she feels tainted by it.

    Don’t drink the koolaid. Just because Japanese people may feel personal responsibility for the success and failings of other Japanese they have absolutely no connection with (Nobel Prize winners, Ice Skating golds), the truth is that everyone is solely responsible for their own behavior, period.

    People come on holiday to relax and let off steam. Some will drink. Some will drink too much and make a scene. It’s ‘normal’ for holiday makers, even if it is obnoxious.
    People didn’t come for a cultural retreat, they can to let their hair down and have ‘fun’.

    The onus is on Japan to consider this when it bids for international events, rather than win hosting rights and then worry about how to ‘educate’ the guests;

    In the same way, the onus is on Japanese society at large to recognize the difference between tourists who don’t care about social norms because they are going home next week, and NJ residents who go along with all the societal straitjacket norms of Japan.

    But I guess it’s difficult for many Japanese to differentiate since there’s officially no immigration and the presumption that all NJ are temporary visitors with no investment in Japan.

    Complaining NJ JT contributor should focus on that point instead of complaining and ask herself why her fragile sense of inclusion is so easily shattered.

    • The proverb 旅の恥はかき捨て points exactly to that: it’s normal to behave more outrageously on a trip compared to when at home. Not condoning bad behaviour of course, but you make a good point about the huge difference between a tourist and a foreign resident.

      Good call also about the JT contributor who “should … ask herself why her fragile sense of inclusion is so easily shattered”.

      • Jim Di Griz says:

        Thank you Gulf. You are absolutely right, well played sir!
        I note with interest that blondein_tokyo made a comment on the article along the same line, and took the argument one step further. Kudos to her. She’s an incisive observer, and always makes excellent comments.

        • AnonymousOG says:

          Good points.

          I’ll paste that perfect comment written by blondein_tokyo here for posterity:

          “Why should I be ashamed because some tourists don’t know how to behave themselves?

          Why does someone else’s behavior reflect on me, when I don’t even know that person?

          I don’t think the author thought this through, because she doesn’t seem to have considered that stereotyping all foreigners based on the behavior of a few poorly mannered tourists is racist.

          We should not give even the slightest support to the racist supposition that the bad behavior of one foreigner reflects on all foreigners, and therefore somehow justifies personal prejudice.

          In addition, if we consider that the foreign population of Japan is around 2% of the whole, I think it is clear that the majority of bad behavior in public and on trains, statistically speaking, is more likely to come from Japanese people. Or maybe I imagined that loud, drunk Japanese salarymen who shouted “Oi, mune ga ooki desu ne!” (Hey! You’ve got big boobs, haven’t you) at me the other day?

          I would also like to point out that this is the same kind of thought process Japanese real estate agents use to justify not renting to us. Considering that a survey reported on in this very paper (“Japan’s foreign residents offer up insights in unprecedented survey on discrimination,”) found that:

          “The study found that 39.3 percent of 2,044 respondents who applied to
          rent apartments over the past five years got dismissed because they are
          not Japanese.”

          We should not be so quick to put forth the idea that Japanese people are justified in judging all of us due to the bad behavior of a few of us.”

          ~ comment posted by blondein_tokyo

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Here’s the daily dose of police state propaganda;'-wild-brawls-at-shinjuku's-golden-gai-a-taste-of-the-olympics-to-come

    “Since the World Cup began, crimes by foreigners have exploded,”

    But no NJ have been charged for these alleged crime because the police don’t come because;
    ‘they’re short of manpower these days they don’t patrol.‘

    Got it? NJ crime wave. Not enough police.

    We know this is rubbish. The NPA’s own figures put NJ crime rate below that of Japanese, and Japan has more police than ever before! There is no shortage.


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