Books, eBooks, and more from Debito Arudou, Ph.D. (click on icon):
UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
DEBITO.ORG PODCASTS on iTunes, subscribe free
“LIKE” US on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/debitoorg
Hi Blog. I’ve written at length about how demonizing foreigners will lead to official racial profiling, and how deputizing the general public to target NJ will lead to abuse.
Well, SITYS. (See I told you so.) Check out this article from Nikkan Sports. (Translation mine, corrections welcome.)
Muslim Woman in Her Forties is Subjected to Wrongful Questioning by Police: Submits Complaint to Tokyo Public Safety Commission.
Nikkan Sports, July 6, 2021, courtesy of lots of people
A Muslim woman in her forties from South Asia living in Tokyo, who was subjected to wrongful voluntary questioning by officers of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police and had her name, address, and other private details leaked to a third party, submitted a formal complaint to the Tokyo Public Safety Commission on July 5. Her legal representation criticized, “This is a use of public power grounded in discriminatory attitudes towards foreigners.”
According to documents from her legal group questioning the Tokyo Metropolitan Police and other connected people, on June 1, the woman was letting her 3-year-old daughter play in a neighborhood park when a man rushed up to her and claimed her daughter had knocked his son down. “Gaijin”, “show me your Zairyu Card”! He then called the police, and six officers rushed in and used rough language towards the woman (who has limited abilities in Japanese), saying things like, “Hey you (omae), you want us to believe you really can’t speak Japanese?” Following that, they took the woman and her daughter only to the nearest police station, and voluntarily interrogated them about two and a half hours.
The woman and her daughter denied that she had knocked anyone down. However, they were not allowed to go home until they had acknowledged there had been some physical contact (boukou), and they had agreed to release their contact details and phone number to the man involved. On a later date, the police told the man more personal information, such as the names, ages, and address of the woman and her daughter so he could begin a civil lawsuit against her. It is said that Child Services were also contacted in case the woman would be unable to take care of her daughter.
The woman claims that being alone and interrogated by four officers during questioning has made her unable to sleep due to PTSD.
Her lawyer, Nishiyama Atsuko, pointed out that even though these are “voluntary” interrogations, foreign suspects often feel they cannot refuse police due to fear of forced deportation. Moreover, “Being a foreigner in itself is enough to justify wrongful treatment by the police. This situation is but the tip of the iceberg.”
The woman herself made the following statement to the press: “My daughter absolutely did not do what they said she did. Now that my address has been leaked, I’m uneasy and cannot live my life in peace. I want the police to be admonished so that they cannot repeat this sort of discriminatory behavior over and over again.”
ENDS (Original Japanese below comment.)
(More commentary by Debito.org Readers on a separate site from here.)
COMMENT: Look, it’s as I’ve said here for decades, and in a number of books: When you train police to see foreigners as social destabilizers, that’s how foreigners will be treated in most circumstances involving them. When the only tool in your training is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.
Nowadays, when you get people who aren’t trained police at all made aware that foreigners have Gaijin Cards (more specifically Zairyuu Cards), and who are now not only encouraged but also empowered by official online apps to demand them, then you have people in a social status so weak that there will be abuses by bullies, or by anyone on a power trip.
And that’s clearly what happened here. Let’s recap: A man accuses a three-year-old kid of assault, gets aggressive with a Muslim woman (and reportedly SPECIFICALLY demands her Gaijin Card), and then siccs six also-aggressive cops on her. Then the cops cart only her and her toddler daughter off to the nearest cop shop for hours of interrogation, and hold her hostage until she releases her private information to this strange man. And later cops give that man even more information in case he decides to sue a three-year-old!
Clearly this has been blown out of proportion. And the cops abetted it! What a nightmare.
I’m pleased the woman sought out legal representation and filed the formal complaint with the Public Safety Commission. But that will probably result in nothing. (I’ve done the same for over-the-top police reactions in the past, and never gotten any satisfactory conclusion.) You can’t expect much when it’s wolves policing other wolves.
So I hope she files an actual civil suit against the police and the person who harassed her and her daughter, so we can get some legal precedent behind this complaint. We need some kind of damper put on all the social damage done by the Japanese police demonizing foreigners for decades, and then deputizing the general public to target them.
Finally, kudos to Nikkan Sports and Kyodo News for taking this issue up. Here’s hoping more media pays attention to this case. Debito Arudou, Ph.D.
Do you like what you read on Debito.org? Want to help keep the archive active and support Debito.org’s activities? Please consider donating a little something. More details here. Or if you prefer something less complicated, just click on an advertisement below.
12 comments on “Nikkan Sports: Aggressive Japanese man harasses Muslim woman and 3-year-old daughter in park, demands her Gaijin Card; then aggressive Japanese police detain, interrogate, and release the woman and child’s private info. I told you this would happen.”
Oh wow, it requires six brave cops to drag a woman and her 3 year old child down to the koban. Amazing! And of course this guy requests her zairyu card. This is what happens when the government puts up posters at train stations that promote the new illegal card reader. As user Baudrillard once said, Japan is a country where random people somehow think that they have the right to harass and deport foreigners. Now the government even provided a tool for that, so get ready for even more entitled ojisans harassing NJ and demanding to see and scan their cards.
I know its all too easy for me to say this, but I would and have given as good as I have got with such Ojisans along the lines of “show me your card too, then” and have even sicced train staff on them with the threat of calling the police (at which point they backed down).
Still, a non Japanese speaker with a young child might not fare so well in such an altercation.
However, if he has asked and got her address for allegedly wanting to take court action, she can also ask the police the same thing for her counter suing.
And if they refuse on the grounds of violating his privacy, then we know its clear discrimination.
Ah, Japan. So much for the Wa and Omotenashi (wa nashi yo). I got to thinking that such altercations were becoming more and more frequent requiring a siege mentality, until I concluded it was no longer the effort. I came here for a quiet life but those days are gone.
This *article* is actually good news. No, not the horrendous harassment of a mother and her child for the crime of being foreigners. The fact that Japanese media picked this up is good news.
Those who suffer it know racism happens daily regardless if it’s reported or not, but broadly speaking the media appears to think that discrimination in Japan is not newsworthy. (Because it’s commonplace?) Articles like these will shock and enlighten common folk. So keep them coming! Kudos to Nikkan Sports and NHK (for the Itako City scandal a few days ago: http://www.debito.org/?p=16674)
The function of the police is never to protect the NJ. I’d argue it isn’t even to protect locals, at least not unless they’re wealthy. Entitled oyajis like the one in the article just do the dirty work of getting into confrontations. And the newly introduced residence card reader only emboldens them. I’d really like to know how the mind of someone works if they think they’re in the right by having a mother with a three-year-old child interrogated because she didn’t want to reveal her personal information to a stranger. The fact that the police did disclosed that information should have every NJ alarmed. Nobody knows what an angry right-winger is going to do with that information and the police is, obviously, not going to help us.
I don’t want to put on my tin-foil hat here, but this country and most of its large corporations are run by people who see resident NJ, at best, as a necessary evil that can be invited to serve capital and kicked out once useless to that end. I’m not aware of an explicit policy on that, but one can’t help but think of the “hostile environment” programme introduced years ago by the British Tory government. Make them feel unwelcome, harass them, encourage ordinary folk to harass them and they won’t want to stay.
If there is any positive spin that could be given the events we’ve recently been reading about in the media, it’s the fact that we read about them in the media. Because Japan isn’t as sealed off from the rest of the world as some of its neighbours, it could be that enough of its population is at least open to even mentioning these issues. It could indicate a tendency that might leave those at the top on the wrong side of history. But I don’t think that’s much of a consolation to anyone presently affected by the cruelty of Japan’s “justice” system.
Japanese police don’t swear to ‘protect and serve’ the community, they swear to ‘uphold the Emperor’s peace’, and to that end, do everything they can to suppress the crime rate to ‘prove’ they are doing their job.
Idea’s of fairness, justice, truth don’t come into it.
In fact, translating 警察 as ‘police’ in English is deliberately obfuscating.
Colin Jones wrote and excellent article about it for the Japan Times way back.
It explained the high conviction rate and the role of prosecutors, and how police effectively refuse to allow the reporting of crimes to avoid lowering the conviction rate. It also explained how not having a legal ‘right to self defense’ permitted the J-cops to threaten to charge both the perpetrators of aggression AND the victims equally, unless both agreed to drop the matter, hence the low official street crime rate IIRC.
Unfortunately I can’t find the link now. JT has been housecleaning?
Jim, can’t find the article, but this one does focus on how laws are not clear because the important thing is keeping the peace (making sure the boat is not rocked):
Incidentally, Debito.org recognised it as “an excellent explanation of just how powerful the police are in Japanese society”:
Thanks Gulf, that looks like the article I was thinking of.
Was the Japanese oyaji pushed by a 3 year old and is now claiming damages for assault? Is that the gist of the situation? It seems that the pushing is unclear and from the report I can’t tell if it happened spontaneously or as the result of a prior verbal altercation.
—- That’s kinda the point. The police got involved yet their investigation apparently did not conclusively settle the facts of the case, even for Kyodo News.
My read is that the Wajin side of the power equation overreacted because a foreigner (who also happens to be a Muslim) was involved. As I argued here, that is by design. SITYS.
As I understood it the daughter allegedly pushed the son of the wajin. No account given if the son got injured or not. So I think, if it even happened as claimed, the son got not injured. If the pushing or knocking ever happened in the first place, then it was an incredibly silly overreaction to rough but still normal child’s play. Playing toddlers are bumping into each other all the time. Absolutely no need to play deputy sheriff or getting the real cops involved over something like this.
If the wajin child was injured you can bet your bottom dollar there would have been graphic details in the news report: “sustaining multiple contusions” “lacerations” etc.
Apparently, if some 3 year old in the park pushes your kid you can abuse the parent and call in the police.
Really. Send in one cop to check on the matter? Maybe.
Half a dozen to drag a mother and child off to the station, separate them and have FOUR officers interrogate a kid not yet old enough for kindergarten? I’m lost for words.
Good follow-up article by Tokyo Shinbun on this matter. The mother has apparently filed a formal complaint. Good.
東京新聞 2021年9月8日 06時00分