G8 Summit Security in Roppongi: Flyers asking NJ for cooperation “in carrying out security inspections and police checkups”


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Hi Blog.  Your taxes at work again, steeling the foreign enclaves in Tokyo for being carded and treated like criminal suspects during the G8 Summit–more than 700 kilometers away in Hokkaido.

Received from a NJ friend, who got his on Friday, June 13, 2008, 6:30PM at Roppongi Crossing right as he exited the subway station.  Not handed out as far as I know to the general public in an area without a NJ population:

Never mind that Roppongi isn’t a hitherto designated “security zone” (unlike, as the Yomiuri reported in their April 14, 2008 podcast, Shinjuku and Ikebukuro), and that this notice wasn’t handed out AFAIK in other parts of Tokyo.  I guess this notice isn’t necessary where there aren’t enough foreigners.  Or something.  Doesn’t matter.  Any excuse to keep expanding the security radius.

It’s of a genre so far.  More police warnings so far related to the G8 Summit on Debito.org here.  

And I too was stopped (along with other White, and only other White, people) in Chitose Airport for a security and ID check after baggage claim.  I voice recorded it and took photos.  I should have that up by tomorrow, if I have time.  Arudou Debito back in Sapporo

17 comments on “G8 Summit Security in Roppongi: Flyers asking NJ for cooperation “in carrying out security inspections and police checkups”

  • Nice pictures. I can’t exactly make out what the one on the left is — a snowplow or something? Are the terrorists going to plow away sections of Tokyo to “demonstrate their existence”?

    It would be laughable if this “culture of fear” wasn’t so widespread these days.

  • I’m not saying that there isn’t some sort of racism at play, but I will point out that this seems like an initiative of the Azabu Police, rather than the Tokyo Metro Police, and really, Roppongi is really the only big area in Azabu Police’s jurisdiction.

    With how disorganized the bureaucracy tends to be in this country, it wouldn’t surprise me if each individual precinct were all coming up with their own ideas about what to do during the Summit, because they haven’t been given a lot of guidance at the national level…

    –Then damn the Azabu Police for going rogue like this–especially in this time of high security when even more coordination is necessary!

  • To be fair, (but only in my empirical evidence of travelling around the Capital) other posters of a similar ilk in Japanese only, are going up all over the shop.

    *I* know Repuggni is a foreigner enclave…so do the Keystones. Probably many factors come into play – budgets to be spent, meetings to be held on how to “enlighten” the *local* populus…

    What’s with the picci’s? Is it Japan? If not – they shouldn’t be there.

    This kind of stuff used to annoy me – now the Keys bumbling inefficiency just make me think they’re “kawaii” (wait for the flames).

    Sorry, to hear about another run-in at your favourite airport, Debito. If they were indeed stopping only foreign-lookers (were you hanging around long enough to get a legitimate sample?), then it is indeed a disgrace.

    –Yes I did hang around long enough. The sample is legit. More tomorrow…

  • Hi Debito,

    Really looking forward to your account of your recent mishap, was it the first time you were asked for ID after your naturalisation? If I were naturalised (with my gaijin face) I would be just waiting for that to happen. I can picture it already:

    Plod: ID please.
    Me: I don’t have it. Oh, and I don’t speak Japanese. So there.
    Plod: What? You must carry ID.
    Plod: OK, you are under arrest.
    […one month later…]
    Plod: We are sorry about all the pliers and electrodes, but you should have told us you were Japanese.
    Me: (With the few teeth left, perhaps in Japanese) You should’ve asked me.

    @Jake: Haha, the picture on the left is not a snowplow, silly. It’s the bus they blew up in London a few years ago. A snowplow, hehe…


  • I think there is a lot of variation between the attitudes and tactics of different police units in Tokyo. Azabu Police Station seems like one of the more “activist” ones, probably rightly so given the level of shenanigans that go on in the Roppongi area. I mean, they have a giant English banner outside telling people to lock their windows…

    Manseibashi Police Station (which covers the Kanda and Akihabara areas) is another one–they had loudspeakers up on the Kanda shopping street a couple of years ago, warning people about foreigner crime (at least that’s what the announcements seemed to be saying; they were kind of hard to hear).

    Fortunately most of my home neighborhoods have had more low-key cops around. (This includes Akasaka, which is chock full of yaks and yet has very nonchalant police.)

  • For the first time since I grew a beard, I was *not* stopped when I went to a Japanese airport yesterday. (I’m of Jewish decent, so beard= terrorist)

    Having heard all of this, I really wonder why.

  • This is pretty laughable–and a waste of ink and paper.
    Anybody with savvy Photoshop skills who could whip up a few “correct” version of those fliers with pictures of the only terrorist attacks on this country? It would sure change the demographic they need to be handed out to.

    I’m curious what Azabu’s police department has to say about these. It wouldn’t surprise me if one random guy thought to print them out. And what are these “special security measures”? Our taxes pay for them, right? We should have at least a general idea of what’s being done.

  • I know that we have to show the Gaijin card if they ask for it, but can we legally refuse a “security inspection” (i.e. search of my bag or body search) ? I’m often in shitamachi and recently I’ve seen a lot of p0lice checking bags and every little things in it. The “special security measures” sounds a lot like a “kind-of-martial-law-but-not-really-please-cooperate-kind-of-yeah-OBEY”.

  • Whoops. That’s the Vermonter in me — I could have sworn it was a snowplow. I certainly didn’t mean to poke any fun at that tragic event in any case.

    On a related note, while waiting for my train in Hankyu Umeda station today I noticed all the garbage bins have been boarded up, with little placards on them explaining that they will not be in use during the summit as part of security measures. The paranoia is pretty ridiculous.

  • I have recently seen on the toilet in metro stations, a sign “we will be patrolling in the toilets, please forgive the inconveniences”. Even the toilets! could you believe it?. Why so much paranoia? let’s see Japanese police, repeat with me… the only acts of terrorism in Japan have been carried by japanese, the only acts of terrorism in Japan have been carried by japanese, the only acts of terrorism in Japan have been carried by japanese, the…

  • Just out of curiosity what if you were stopped and asked for ID and you told them you were Japanese even though you weren’t? Yes, I know it’s wrong but in this situation what can the police do?

    Just curious…

    –They can keep asking for ID (like they did me, see today’s blog entry) and judge whether or not you’re lying based upon your language ability. Which means, you’d better bone up on your nihongo if you’ve got the balls to lie.

  • On the boarding up of the garbage bins, it was understandable in Northern Ireland – where such bins were used to hide bombs. In the case of Japan it’s pretty silly.

    To be honest, if the Japanese Police were really interested in combating ‘foreign terrorism’ they should be asking foreign security agencies and police forces to second personnel to them – as it’s obvious the J-Police can’t ‘spot them’.

    –As was brought up in last night’s speech by a person with military experience, a terrorist wouldn’t be much good if he or she were spottable… and terrorists know that; which means these basic means to “spot” them are useless.

  • Debito, what’s the answer to Martin’s question? Although we have to show our gaijin cards on request, can we legally refuse a “security inspection” of our pockets, bags, etc? I seem to recall from this blog that the answer is “Yes”. And if so, what is a good thing to say in Japanese to a cop to let him know you’re asserting your rights and he can go get his power-trip jollies somewhere else?

    –Start here:

    ID Checks do not include bag inspections. I’ll have an article out on this for the Japan Times in a couple of weeks.

  • here we go again with the keystone j-cops, they are know starting to check ID cards again in june because they just got there big summer bonus and so they feel guilty and they want to try and justify there large bonus or you can call it the old window dressing trick at the gaijins expense. remember the keystones get 2 yearly bonus payments a year, so watch out again in december for the gaijin checks….

  • There is a special resonance with the London bombing of course – that happened the day after the G8 summit started in Scotland, which is some hokey northern backwater many miles away from the capital, where the actual bombs went off…

    So perhaps the paranoia isn’t entirely misplaced.

  • Mark in Yayoi says:

    Dan, the paranoia is misplaced because it puts all “Japanese-looking” people on one side as honest and innocent and everyone else — Muslim, Christian, white, black, whatever — under a giant cloud of never-ending suspicion that is almost impossible to avoid if you do any domestic travel at all.

    Being paranoid might be forgivable; it’s who the paranoia is directed at that’s totally misguided and discriminatory.


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