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Hi Blog. It’s been difficult for me to blog much this year (beyond my monthly SNA columns), as I’ve had the busiest semester on record. All of my writing energies are being absorbed by coursework. So in order to keep up with events, I’m going to try to post more but feel the need to comment less.
Instead, Debito.org Readers are keeping us all updated in real time in their comments to various blog posts, but in particular see their updates and reposts of news articles in the Comments Sections of all Debito.org NewsLetters. They’re doing a far better job than I am. Many thanks.
On to the Kyodo article, which is more quantifiable grist for the mill for Debito.org’s longstanding substantiated claim that Racial Profiling is standard operating procedure for the Japanese Police. Read on. Bravo Tokyo Bar Association for getting us some citable statistics. Debito Arudou, Ph.D.
63% of people with foreign roots in Japan questioned by police
April 10, 2022 (Mainichi Japan/Kyodo News), courtesy of lots of people
PHOTO: Foreign residents take to the streets in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward on May 30, 2020, in protest against the alleged mistreatment by Japanese police of a Kurdish man. (Kyodo)
TOKYO (Kyodo) — A total of 62.9 percent of people in Japan with foreign roots were questioned by police over the past five years, preliminary results of a recent Tokyo Bar Association survey showed, with the group saying the outcome is evidence of biased behavior by officers.
The survey on racial profiling drew responses from 2,094 people with roots in foreign countries. The association said it conducted the poll after receiving complaints that many such people had been questioned by police apparently due to their appearance.
Among individuals who were approached by the police over the past five years, 50.4 percent were stopped “two to five times,” while 10.8 percent were questioned “six to nine times” and 11.5 percent “10 times or more,” according to the survey conducted between Jan. 11 and Feb. 28.
A total of 70.3 percent of those individuals said they “felt uncomfortable” with the police questioning, while 85.4 percent said the police approached them upon recognizing they have roots in other countries. Most of those people believed officers had such an awareness because of their appearance.
A Japanese law governing police officers on duty allows them to question people if there are reasons to suspect they have committed an unusual act or crime. But 76.9 percent of people who were questioned by police officers in the survey said there was no reason for being treated with suspicion.
In a free description section, some wrote that after officers learned of their foreign nationality, they showed “overbearing behavior” toward them.
The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo had warned on its official Twitter account last year that it had been receiving reports of “suspected racial profiling incidents” with several foreigners “detained, questioned and searched” by the police.
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5 comments on “Kyodo: “63% of people with foreign roots in Japan questioned by police”, part of systemic racial profiling by the National Police Agency”
Was hoping this would be translated into Japanese article from Mainichi, but unsurprisingly it’s not.
I guess the Japanese media doesn’t want to sully Japan’s image now wouldn’t they, even though there are years of stories and singlehanded accounts and the bulletin from the US embassy all out on the internet, haha.
Japan just never gets it and never will.
— It can’t, with the narrative this tightly controlled.
The only Japanese version of the article I found was from Huffington Post Japan here:
This is the actual PDF with the preliminary results from the Tokyo Bar Association:
The Japanese version was published 1 month prior the Mainichi English version btw.
A point of importance to me is question number 16 “Number of people with you at the time of questioning”.
It would be an easy guess that as long as there’s a not person you’re with who “looks” Japanese to the policeman, they would question you and the person you’re with.
Similarly, Yahoo News Japan published that same article:
And in case you’re interested on the comments (18 at the time of writing):
(all 4 links above are archived in the internet archive’s wayback machine as well)
Seems the publishing was limited to that one outlet or so (please share if you have more info), but I can easily guess how the narrative is so controlled on that matter as mentioned by Debito.
@user79, thanks for posting the link to yahoo article comments.
Dr. Debito should archive them as proof of what happens when Japanese people are constantly fed the myth that NJ are more criminal than Japanese because Japanese society is somehow superior.
I found quite a few Japanese-language articles searching for the terms 外国人 and 職務質問. Among them was the original survey (now closed):
And here are some others:
This is another example of why I left Japan.