Kyodo: Police raid car scrap yards run by NJ, suspecting them as “breeding grounds for crime”


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Hi Blog.  Comments?  My main one is the majority of the raids were conducted without warrants, something I’m not sure would be permissible at Japanese-run chop shops without a suspicion of a crime.  NJ, however, fall under immigration law, meaning they are more vulnerable to random search for suspected visa violations (and oh by the way we’ll check the business you run too while we’re at it).  I don’t know much about the subject (or the market), so those who do please feel free to fill us in.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo


Police launch nationwide raids of car scrap yards
Kyodo News:  Wednesday 23rd June, 2010, courtesy GB

TOKYO — Ten prefectural police authorities on Tuesday launched coordinated on-site inspections of around 426 car scrap facilities across the country, suspecting that the facilities, run mostly by foreigners, could be breeding grounds for crimes such as vehicle theft, auto parts smuggling and harboring illegal immigrants.

The inspections were conducted based on the antique dealings law, the immigration law, the building standards law and other legislation, with the participation of immigration authorities and some local governments. Of the 426 facilities, 14 were raided based on warrants issued by courts.

Investigators said the raids are part of Japan’s efforts to tighten security ahead of a meeting of government leaders from Asia-Pacific rim countries in Yokohama in November, as some of the facilities could be linked to international terrorist groups.

The inspections and raids had led to the arrest of seven foreigners including Iranians, Ghanaians, Vietnamese and Chinese in Kanagawa, Saitama, Tochigi and Chiba prefectures on suspicion of violating the immigration law, police said.

Saitama prefectural police also arrested 17 Vietnamese and a Japanese national who is of Vietnamese descent on suspicion of stealing 250 million yen worth of heavy machinery parts in Saitama and four neighboring prefectures, including Tochigi and Gunma, they said.

Car scrap yards are often located in suburban areas with convenient access to highways and ports, and obscured from the outside by containers and other barriers.

In 2007, a grenade and live ammunition were confiscated from a yard in Niigata Prefecture. Forged alien registration cards have also been found at other yards, they said.

According to the National Police Agency, there are around 1,400 car scrap yards nationwide, of which 1,100 are run by foreigners, including Pakistani, Sri Lankan and Chinese nationals.

Car theft is the most notable crime linked to such facilities, the investigators said. Stolen vehicles are often shipped to the Middle East, Africa and other locations overseas after being disassembled at the yards.

The Toyota Hiace is one of the most popular targets for theft by foreigners as it is known for its durability in tough environments.

Aichi prefectural police cracked a car theft ring last year consisting of 15 Nigerians and Ugandans who specialized in stealing Hiace vans.

‘‘Stolen cars have been exported with vehicle identification numbers taken from scrapped cars, but they’ve begun dismantling stolen cars before shipping as customs authorities have tightened monitoring,’’ a police official said. ‘‘That’s why they need scrap facilities,’’ said the official.


6 comments on “Kyodo: Police raid car scrap yards run by NJ, suspecting them as “breeding grounds for crime”

  • The reason this is likely not an issue is that businesses are generally open to the public. Police are free to wander around wherever they please and see what they see, and as long as they don’t enter a private, closed space without permission, they won’t need a warrant.
    Japanese police absolutely have violated foreigners’ constitutional right to peace and quiet in their home through illegal entry and search without a warrant, but I would guess that these being businesses, most or all of these particular searches involved going in to a public place and asking to see alien registration cards, all of which is probably legal.

  • “…Investigators said the raids are part of Japan’s efforts to tighten security…”

    So, let me get this straight. Before the conference, Japan is considered safe and has sufficient security? If not, then the Govt/security/defence forces of this country are not doing their job.

    “..could be breeding grounds for crimes such as vehicle theft, auto parts smuggling…”

    So, auto parts, vehicle theft et al,…how does this affect security. Does driving a car with “stolen” parts make the car prone to illegal behaviour…since all cars in Japan are ‘automatics’ god knows what the automatic car may do!!

    “…and harboring illegal immigrants..”

    Ah, now we get there. So again, my assertion that the Govt dept.’s are not doing their job as they should be. Since if the100% fool proof finger print scanning and photographs are not able to spot illegal immigrants, the raison d’être of this, who else is there to spot them?

    Sounds like keystone kops again….trying to clear up their shoddy indolent behaviour to suddenly impress their superiors!

  • “Pachinko shops, police thyselves! Thou may be a breeding bed for crime!” As the pachinko shops, which provide lush slush funds for the local constabulary, are most definitely breeding grounds for crime. All police supervised, of course. “They’re OUR thugs!” so to speak, so it’s OK? Reminds me of the old bumper sticker: “Don’t steal, the government hates competition!”

  • Maybe there is nothing bad about it, as long as they have warrants. But I wonder why they don`t do the same with Yakuza run night spots. I am sure there are a lot of illegal workers there too. But guess it is not such a big news and they don`t want to make the general male public angry 😛

  • Deepspacebeans says:

    I have a funny feeling that if Japan were to conduct on-site investigations and raids of 426 of ANY sort of facility, they could probably scrape together at least 7 people to arrest. This report seems to be nothing more than statistical background noise than indication of any sort of endemic criminal activity.

  • There is a 5-page follow up article by Sankei on this matter. It mainly reports the argument by the police headquarters.

    【衝撃事件の核心】“鉄板の要塞”ヤード 警察当局が一斉捜索・立ち入り調査した狙いは… 
    産經新聞 2010.7.11 12:00



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