By DEBITO ARUDOU
My blog has been getting periodic pings about rumblings in Roppongi: Tokyo cops cleaning out pesky foreign touts before Olympic inspectors see them; the U.S. Embassy warning Americans to stay away from the area after reports of drugged drinks and thefts.
The latter was particularly embarrassing (coming from the Americans, of all people) given Japan's reputation for having the world's safest streets. So police have begun reasserting their control, cracking down on — you guessed it — foreigners. And where might you find them? You guessed that too.
I heard about police raids in Roppongi in May and June. But now they are going beyond ID checks for visa overstayers. Regular customers have been apprehended for drinking while foreign, bundled into police vans and shuttled off to HQ for urine tests for drugs. According to their associates, those testing positive for controlled substances have been deported.
What triggered this drugs dragnet? A few months ago, several sumo wrestlers (Japanese and otherwise) were discovered possessing and puffing marijuana. Then it turned up in universities and rugby teams, and suddenly reefer madness was toking its toll on Japan's youth. Some reeferers referred the cops to foreign dealers in — where else? — Roppongi.
Full Story: http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20090707ad.html
underestimate the power & change Japanbases.com members can have."
Regular customers have been apprehended for drinking while foreign, bundled into police vans and shuttled off to HQ for urine tests for drugs. According to their associates, those testing positive for controlled substances have been deported.
While Americans testing postive would be transported back to the U.S. Naval base and Sofa status would kick in, its still appauling, that the Japanese government would just do random tests on individuals that post a threat due to a T-Shirt, or Hairstyle. Roppongi is suppose to be a place of entertainment, not an apprehention festival.. I personally havent been out there since last year, but I know its changed drastically every year I visit. I remember 9 years ago, there were not many Africans that attacked you just walking down the street..
Hey you, my man, where you go.. I'm like you, I know what you want..
- Huh... Are you crazy.. I am not interested...
You want T$$$$$ bar.. I know you want, please come with me, I show you..
This is the type of scene in Roppongi now.. 9 years ago, it was not like this.. Trust me.. We just were able to have fun, walk, drink, socialize.. Now its becoming more and more dangerous to browse the streets at night..
Mike LNCM Ret.
I'm not trying to be a "Sea Lawyer" here, but I found this advice for this type of situation on this web site: http://www.debito.org/?cat=10. I cannot vouch for the veracity of what appears on this web site, but it appears that the guy who runs it is on top of legal matters for foreigners living in Japan. On a personal note, I would imagine that once you show your Military I.D. card, and you were suspected of committing some type of crime, that the Japanese Police would contact U.S. military authorities themselves.
Police cannot search your person, property or possessions without a warrant. Ask for one: “Reijou ga arimasu ka?”
If they threaten to take you to a police box for questioning, refuse and don’t move. Police cannot force you to go anywhere without a formal arrest (taiho).
But be careful. Do not raise your voice. And never ever touch the cop, or they could arrest you for “obstruction of duty.” This is why sometimes you see street standoffs between cops and questionees during which nobody moves or talks until somebody gets tired and goes home.
Know your rights by checking out http://www.debito.org/whattodoif.html" target="_blank">www.debito.org/whattodoif.html, or read more in our “Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants.” But don’t assume the police will give the public the same cooperation they demand from the public. Accountability gets in the way of their modus operandi. Laws protecting people against invasive procedures interfere with keeping the streets safe from foreigners.