Thursday, May 01, 2008

The Kanagawa Police Force

by John Ward

"Hi Blog. Developing a case for police patterns of behavior. If it’s a foreigner allegedly committing a crime against Japanese (as in the Idubor Case), the police go after it even if there is no evidence. If a Japanese commits a crime against a foreigner, it’s either not pursued (see the Valentine Case, for the time being) or handled with different standards (see the Lucie Blackman Case).

And when it’s a foreigner on foreigner crime, free pass."

--Arudo Debito (Dave Aldwinkle)

From the Official site of the Kanagawa Police:

"How was your day?" Smiles appearing on faces of a family. Pleasant dinner with family members. Lively conversations at the table.
An everyday affair at home.
Day after day, we patrol in the community hoping smiles of the residents never vanish.

One Japanese friend living in Kanagawa complained
if you call the local police:

They will ask you if it`s an event.
If it isn`t they won`t come.

For a comic take on the Japanese police go to Kevin`s
Strait Jacket.

Just don`t make the mistake of asking them to stop
the bosozoku like I did.

The police routinely visit the houses of the area
to pay a visit
and get to know
the local residents. Two officers showed up at our home
one day to say hello and ask about who lives in our home,
which was fine. All was very friendly and cordial until
they asked if there was anything I was troubled
by. If there was to just let them know.

I thought, what better time than right now.
They were right in front of me afterall...

I proceeded to mention that cars travel very quickly
up and down our street and the bosozoku too make a racket
often on Friday and Saturday nights.
It`s dangerous.

You should have seen their faces drop...

Their smiles and friendliness instantly vanished. I had
been very polite all the way through, and friendly
to them as they had been to me, but as soon as
I mentioned that something might be amiss or
that things were out of sort, they immediately
became obviously uncomfortable and bid a hasty farewell.

I talked with several Japanese friends about it
afterwards, and they all agreed that the police don`t
like to be told what to do even in a polite
manner. Moreover, they feel embarrassed if
it seems they are not doing their job.

I think too, it is often unstated, but some Japanese
have a tendancy to feel inferior in front of Westerners.
It is silly but it still happens too often. So my
telling them the above, may have been too much for them.
Instead of taking me as a fellow citizen of the community,
I might have sounded like an arrogant Westerner.

It certainly wasn`t my intention to offend or cause
discomfort. I worry about my children and the children
of the neighbourhood. If bosozoku are driving
crazily down the street or people are rushing
to work in the morning when children are going to
school it is dangerous.

I think Canadian police--many of them anyway,
would have listened and perhaps commented on the above.
They probably would have made a comment to the fact
that they would do their best to stop it (of course
depending on the police person you were talking with).
My father would probably have disagreed but that is my take.

So to make a short story long, I found the
reaction of these two Kanagawa police quite
surprising....Oh well, another cultural difference?

At least I don`t see the Kanagawa Police spending
hours hunched over their gut horking down Tim Horton`s donuts.

We won't absolutely forgive the extreme left wing groups for their violent acts such as burning down or blowing away public buildings and private houses. They tend to go underground these days hiding in their friends' houses, private apartments, rented houses, company dormitories, and so on. When your neighbors act strangely, for example, being secretive more than necessarily or suspiciously looking around when entering or exiting their houses, let us know.
--from the Official Site of the Kanagawa Police

Note that in the above quote, they make no mention
of right wing groups. Groups for example, that have
shot at elected officials and the like. Interesting.

Does the above quote sound a little too eerily like
"1984" by George Orwell? I often look around when I
leave the house. I just think it is good sense.
There are breakins in the area so I take a look as I
leave. But according to the above quote, that could
look suspicious.

I made the mistake of noticing the flashing lights of
a police car in southeast Kanagawa one night walking
back from a jog. I merely glanced at the car as it
pulled up next to me at a stop light. I must have
looked surprised, which I was by the flashing lights.

Well they stopped in my path two times. Once they pulled
into a 7-11 parking lot and so I figured they were checking
out some problem there. Then they pulled out and stopped
in front of a liquor store (No joke!) and proceeded to
banter away about the prices of different kinds of beer in
the beer machine. Ostensibly they were checking me out
I surmised as I had looked surprised. But frankly who
wouldn`t be a little surprised at seeing flashing lights
right next to them when you are not expecting it.

To their credit they never stopped me. But it felt
intimidating to say the least. I felt that this
must be how some African Americans must feel in a
city fully of white folk. Some of my friends in Tokyo
have been stopped by the police and questioned. I never
have thankfully. Arudo Debito has written extensively
about this topic and what to do if stopped.

Now I know that the police of the area routinely drive around
with lights flashing, and if you look a little concerned
that makes you an "event." So I ignore the police cars.
Whereas before I might gaze at them out of interest--wondering
what`s going on.

Now I know better.

"One day I went for a walk in Odawara
and I came down this street. A couple of police on motorcyles stopped in my
path on the sidewalk and really stared me down. I hadn`t done anything
but the effect of these two police with guns staring at me very coldly
was chilling. I almost wanted to run away. But I had done
nothing wrong. Strange. They didn`t stop me. Another time a policeman
drove right at me with his motorcyle--also in Odawara. I was handing
out pamphlets for my boss for our school. I got out of the way but
I was angry with the policeman. These kind of tactics are dangerous
and offensive. I imagine they are against the law too!"

-Name Withheld Upon Request

The Kanagawa Police Force`s Official Site in English

Debito`s take on the Kanagawa Police

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