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Taken to the police station for not carrying documents... please, help!

WonkoTheSane

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Its a wonder anybody loses anything, isn't it? Apparently its just not possible. People lose things on purpose!

Okay, I will explain how doing nothing with something gets it lost. Lets say you put it in your pocket. Then you are looking for something else. You put your hand in that pocket and when you pull out your hand, the thing comes out too and hits the ground, but you don't notice. Or you take something else out of that pocket and same thing. You take it out, but the document comes too.

Or it slides out as you are sitting on a bus or train.

Or you get pick pocketed.

Or you put it in your wallet and any of the above happens to the wallet. People get wallets lost and stolen all the time.

And you know what makes it all worse? The fact that you don't actually use it. You could lose it in the morning and not realize until evening and good luck retracing your steps.

I actually keep my ID in a separate wallet and my money in another wallet, because it is true I am less likely to lose my ID if I never take it out of my pocket. However, I still have to be careful as all the above could still happen.

But my passport does not fit in my wallet. It also does not really fit in most pants pockets.

I have not lost anything in a really long time. You know why? Cause I am getting old. Experience has taught me how not to lose stuff. But I lost plenty of stuff when I was young, and a big reason was: because I thought there was no way I could lose it!

So either through being careless or getting pick-pocketed (which I presume you listed because it happens on such a consistent basis that it's best to leave all items at home to avoid the risk)...

How about instead of leaving items at home you stop being careless?
 

Mark of Zorro

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I am sure you never lost anything Mr. Perfect.

I would not say its a matter of being careless, but rather being careful about the million other things people have to deal with everyday.
 

WonkoTheSane

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I am sure you never lost anything Mr. Perfect.

I would not say its a matter of being careless, but rather being careful about the million other things people have to deal with everyday.

Well, since you said I'm perfect, I must be right since if I weren't I wouldn't be perfect, which makes you wrong about whether it's being careless or not, hmm?

Glad we cleared that up, so feel free to keep track of your wallet instead of constantly losing it because your focus is on figuring out how to count change for a coffee or being pick pocketed.

Seriously, is losing ID that common in your life that you leave it at home to avoid the risk?

I guess just can't imagine being that absentminded and unable to manage more than one thought at a time. Of course people lose things but if it happens so often that you leave your ID at home due to the risk, I'm thinking the problem is pretty clearly you.
 

Majestic

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One point that needs clarification: you are required to carry the residence card at all times. You cannot carry your passport in lieu of the residence card.

Q42: 窶愿コ窶怒窶堙可催昶?板ッ窶堋キ窶堙ゥナ?Oツ坂?伉人窶堙固?F窶堋ウ窶堙ア窶堙?012窶扼7ナ椎ス9窶愿コツ(ナ椎スツ)窶堋ゥ窶堙ァツ新窶堋オ窶堋「ツ催昶?板ッナ?テ??板敖青ァ窶忸窶堋ェニ湛ニ耽ツーニ暖ツ!

Regarding the question of profiling; stories of Japanese people getting stopped by the police for not having their bicycle lights on at night comes up so often on the Japanese language forums, there should be no doubt that it is not a particular tactic used to target foreigners. Since the policeman in this instance had an open and shut case for two infractions (bicycle light and residence card) and yet decided to let the person go without any fine or formal charge, indicates to me that if this can be called profiling, than anything can be called profiling.
 

Mark of Zorro

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Of course people lose things but if it happens so often that you leave your ID at home due to the risk, I'm thinking the problem is pretty clearly you.

Once is enough. It need not be multiple times. It happens to pretty much everyone.

But of course there are people who live more on the wild side than me and you and therefore are more at risk. And why not? Its their life. And it being their life they may realize that they are at more risk of losing these things than straight laced you.

And then of course there are those that live in constant fear, and they are the types who make rules like you must have your ID at all times. They don't see the problem. But of course, they die without ever having really lived.
 

Mike Cash

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Numerous times I have been parked along the side of the road in my truck and watched over an extended period as Japanese policemen did the bicycle check thing....in areas where there were no foreigners coming by and where I can't recall ever having seen any. (Believe it or not, we're nowhere near as commonplace as we like to think we are).

The cops hold all the cards when they decide to do a 職質, so the best thing you can do is to always have your crap in order and not be breaking any laws. You can't shame them....the idea is ridiculous, but I do wish I had a nickel for every big-talking gaijin who blathers about how he verbally dogged the cops out (usually despite having Japanese skills that range from utter crap to absolute zero).

Be polite, answer their questions cheerfully, cooperate with their pat down and search, and you'll be on your way in probably not over ten minutes. Is it pleasant? No. Can you get out of it without things escalating to your getting hauled in so they can do it in the comfort of their police station and you start down the bureaucratic/prosecutorial rabbit hole? No, you can't. This isn't a country which places high value on protection of individual liberties over the interest of preserving public order. Illegally obtained evidence is admitted in court. There is a history of falsifying evidence and doctoring "confessions". They know the game and the system infinitely better than you do. They have all the time in the world...they're on salary, can tag team you to another fresh set of guys, and they're going home at the end of their shift while YOU get to sit there a maximum of up to 23 days without being charged or arraigned. There is no right to have an attorney present during questioning. There is quite often no bail granted until you have made a confession. In the extremely unlikely case of a "not guilty" verdict, the prosecution can appeal (no double jeopardy protection here). Prison sentences entail forced labor, cells packed like sardines, no phones, and restricted mail.

Stay just as far as you can from the Japanese criminal justice system, because it is stacked against EVERYBODY. Getting up in the cops' faces is just a bad idea all around, no matter how right you may be on principles.

I would offer some suggested reading on the various sections of the criminal justice system (police/courts/prisons), but I seriously doubt anybody would bother to read them.

Obey the laws. Be pleasant if stopped. Go on your way with a short delay.
 

Mark of Zorro

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Regarding the question of profiling; stories of Japanese people getting stopped by the police for not having their bicycle lights on at night comes up so often on the Japanese language forums, there should be no doubt that it is not a particular tactic used to target foreigners.

I missed that part about the lights or forgot. Still a warning is quite enough. When cops get all serious about it, one has to wonder what each individual cop is thinking. At that point, profiling or not is anyone's guess.


Since the policeman in this instance had an open and shut case for two infractions (bicycle light and residence card) and yet decided to let the person go without any fine or formal charge, indicates to me that if this can be called profiling, than anything can be called profiling.

Lets not forget that just asking for the documents was a matter of profiling in the case of the OP. Why does the cop need to see documents over a bicycle light? If he is going to write a ticket, would he just be satisfied with a Japanese university student's student ID? If he is not going to write a ticket, he may be legally allowed to ask for ID, but that does not exactly make it right. But do they ask Japanese for ID? I don't know. If they do, okay, its not profiling. But its still over the top.
 

Majestic

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Well then, Its the trifecta of the aggrieved foreigner.

You get to ignore the laws, you get all fines waived, and you still get to moan about discrimination.
 

Mark of Zorro

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Well then, Its the trifecta of the aggrieved foreigner.

You get to ignore the laws, you get all fines waived, and you still get to moan about discrimination.

Now you act like it was just fun, fun, fun this week of trouble.

I personally would prefer a fine to all this rigamarole this guy went through..
 

WonkoTheSane

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Once is enough. It need not be multiple times. It happens to pretty much everyone.

But of course there are people who live more on the wild side than me and you and therefore are more at risk. And why not? Its their life. And it being their life they may realize that they are at more risk of losing these things than straight laced you.

And then of course there are those that live in constant fear, and they are the types who make rules like you must have your ID at all times. They don't see the problem. But of course, they die without ever having really lived.

First, if one time of losing your ID is enough to convince you to always leave it at home due to risk, then frankly I think you need to reevaluate your risk management.

Second, if going without your ID is what you call living on the wild side I think you need some exposure to a bit more of life.

Third, I don't lose my ID because I'm an adult, in the same way that I don't lose my mittens because I'm not a 2 year old. I keep a reasonable eye on my possessions because I'm a responsible human being. This is not strange, the vast majority of adult human beings manage to maintain their basic daily items with enough success to not end up in police stations. Like it or not, keeping your ID on you is the law. Railing against it like an angst-ridden 13 year old doesn't change it.

Your argument that not carrying your ID because you might lose it was specious at best and disingenuous at worst.
 

Mark of Zorro

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Second, if going without your ID is what you call living on the wild side I think you need some exposure to a bit more of life.

You misunderstood. I mean that living life on the wild side, some are more likely to lose ID. Yeah, if you get drunk and pass out somewhere, the likelihood of having your ID lost or stolen goes up. Doing a lot of traveling and backpacking and hostel staying also increases odds of lost items. Wild parties, dirt biking, hunting, sky diving, bungee jumping, rock climbing, boating. etc. etc. Some people are more adventurous and outgoing than the stay in the office geezers who came up with this law.

I am not suggesting anyone leave their ID at home. I am just pointing out things get lost and forgotten and that the law is an @$$ as are many of the people who make the laws and laws won't improve for butt picking.

I also express understanding of those who chose to leave their ID at home but I am not recommending it. I always try to make sure I have mine, but guess what? I live a life and I have forgotten mine at home before. I don't like it when its possible to be unintentionally in violation of the law so easily.

The law requiring us to carry ID at all times is fascist and only there for the convenience of police. Not necessity but convenience. No one is protected by that law. I don't like it and I reserve my right to voice my opinion about that.

And I think that saying all that is childish is itself childish.

All we need now is a "You don't like it, leave!" comment as a cherry on top.
 

Kajune

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Racial profiting or not, you must be aware that there are a very high crimes committed by westerners in Japan especially in places like Okinawa, so it just come natural for Japanese to act this way like any human would do in order to stay "careful". So don't blame what the Japanese police did because they did it just for precaution, blame yourself for forgetting your ID card and your buddy passport which Japanese stated to be always carried by foreigners in Japan.
 

Mark of Zorro

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you must be aware that there are a very high crimes committed by westerners in Japan

Xenophobic BS perpetuated by Japanese police and right wingers..

Japanese police inflate the crime rate by adding in overstaying visas, which of course is not fair to compare since Japanese cannot commit that crime in Japan.
 

nice gaijin

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It's hard to base any rational conclusions on crime statistics without meaningful context. As Mark of Zorro pointed out, it totally skews a stat to include crimes that one group is literally unable to commit. You can take raw data and manipulate it in any number of ways, if you ignore the right parameters.

I'd like to know how many people actually overstaying their visas were caught by these "random" stops, as opposed to legal visitors/residents who forgot to carry their ID. While they might both be technically breaking the law, should they be grouped together and punished at the same level? Is it fair to threaten to deport a law-abiding foreign resident for forgetting their ID on a milk run? I'd also like to know how many actual bike thieves (i.e. people riding bikes that were reported stolen) have been caught, as opposed to people just riding bikes that weren't properly registered to them.

It seems that two things ought to change so the laws are applied in a sensible manner: 1) Make reasonable suspicion a prerequisite to stopping someone (for instance, simply being visibly foreign wouldn't satisfy this requirement), and then 2) apply some leniency and logic to differentiate an actual criminal from someone who just made an honest mistake.

Also, we should try giving police something more productive to do than sitting around a koban trawling for "criminals." As a Japanese Buddhist priestess once tried to explain to me after a particularly blatant racial profiling incident, "they're just bored and have nothing better to do."

Are these kinds of numbers even available? Is there public access to this kind of raw data, and do we have the tools to parse it into meaningful statistics? I'd like to know exactly what people are referring to when they use general blanket terms about crime rates, because I'm pretty sure the people making those statements don't really know what they're talking about, and are just parroting something that affirms their own biases.
 

Mike Cash

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Yes, data is available. Online.

I don't think the OP was threatened with deportation for not having his cRd, so let's avoid horribilizing things.
 

nice gaijin

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I didn't say the OP was, but I had a vague recollection of this being mentioned, probably from this post early on in the thread:

Today I read a similar story on the internet and the events were exactly the same. At the end, the guy who forgot the documents had to appear in front of a court but was dismissed without any penalties since he bowed low and was very sorry for what happened (he appeared at the court even with an apologizing letter). However, they told him that for what he did they could have put him in jail or that he could even be kicked out of the country (for anyone interested, here is the full story, from this forum: https://jref.com/forum/all-things-j...-don-t-leave-home-without-20256/#.VAS1IBKHeHm)

Even what the OP went through seems grossly disproportionate to his "offense," even if no one threatened him with deportation
 

Mike Cash

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I agree, but let's not lose sight of the fact that it is exactly the same disproportionate nonsense that Japanese citizens also go through at the hands of the police. The exception being the obvious one that they don't have gaijin cards, of course.
 

Kajune

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Xenophobic BS perpetuated by Japanese police and right wingers..

Japanese police inflate the crime rate by adding in overstaying visas, which of course is not fair to compare since Japanese cannot commit that crime in Japan.

If you look at foreigners crime statistic in Japan you will see that the big majority are committed by westerners and the crime type are serious crimes such as robbery, murder and rape.
 

nice gaijin

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yes, and the changes I proposed would go a long way to curbing the harassment that citizens and foreigners alike suffer.

Foreigners (and native citizens alike) getting harassed by the heavy hand of the law is a symptom of police having too much power and time on their hands. Japanese citizens are also subject to this, but not to the same extent or for the same reasons as people who are noticeably foreign. The law requiring us to present ID on demand, for instance, doesn't apply to native Japanese, and the application of that law in particular is based almost entirely on one's apparent foreign-ness.

While the OP might still have been stopped for the police to check their bike registration, had he seemed to be native Japanese he wouldn't have been subject to the anxiety and invasion of privacy that followed. Likewise, had the OP been native Japanese but didn't "look" Japanese enough, it's conceivable that the police could demand to see ID even though he legally wouldn't be required to have it on him or present it on demand.

Both Japanese citizens and foreigners alike are victims of police heavy-handedness, it's in everyone's best interest to revise their tactics... aside from the police; due process would probably negatively impact that impressive conviction rate they boast about (insert reference to my earlier comments about skewed statistics)
 

Mike Cash

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Sort of a matter of 馬の耳に念仏, don't you think?
 

nice gaijin

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I've wondered where that phrase originated; it probably wasn't a Buddhist that came up with it... but that's beside the point.

And yes, it's unlikely that my musings here would have any effect on Japanese police tactics, but that doesn't mean that change is impossible or unnecessary. It'll take pressure from the Japanese populace to make any difference, and as the issues at hand seem to affect them less and less, it's less and less likely they'll go out of their way to change law enforcement.
 

Glenski

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Xenophobic BS perpetuated by Japanese police and right wingers..

Japanese police inflate the crime rate by adding in overstaying visas, which of course is not fair to compare since Japanese cannot commit that crime in Japan.
True. There is/was a homepage from Okinawa that tried to show how the military there committed more crimes than locals. Problem is, if you take the percentage of crimes the site itself has calculated (fairly), and compare it to the average percentage of crimes committed by Japanese, the Japanese number is larger. They simply want to show the NUMBER of crimes is large, and while ANY number of crimes has a negative image (especially when some of them in Okinawa involve rape), the PERCENTAGE is more valid.

And, that wasn't even the police who tried doing this.
 

minader

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The OP has said he KNEW he was supposed to carry the card. He chose not to. Fear of losing it is not an excuse. There are procedures for reporting it lost and having it reissued. If you report your card lost and get stopped by the cops on the way to get your new one, do you really think you would be rousted for not having the card? Not likely.
Actually that was what I told them at the police station, because I thought it was the best thing to say.
Originally I did know that carrying the resident card was necessary (after all of this happened, I remembered being told at the airport), but it slipped my mind... or more precisely, as I have already said, I just thought that the ID card was enough since my name, picture, university and period of study are written there.
I was careless, I've admitted that already. My bad.
But the "not carrying documents for fear of losing them" is still true for me and I often prefer not to carry many things with me for this reason.
He has shown what is a far too common trait among many foreigners: that of being a scofflaw. Apparently he wasn't afraid of losing his student ID, as he carried that with him. So the "I was afraid I might lose the gaijin card" thing doesn't hold water any way you look at it. He just chose not to carry it, despite knowing it was required of him. He chose to have his brother live with him, despite there being a strict prohibition against even visitors. He follows whatever rules he feels like, when he feels like it, if he feels like it, and only worries about the consequences when things have already gone wrong. This is all ナスツゥ窶ケテ?スツゥ窶慊セ (brought on himself, by his own actions), so it is hard to work up a whole lot of sympathy for him. He had to learn the hard way.
Actually I carry my ID card with me because it's necessary to get in the dormitory. Despite this I'm still afraid of losing it, which is anyway exactly what happened about a month ago: I put it in my pocket and left the dorm, then when I came back home it was not there (oh, how I wish I had your invincible pockets, WonkoTheSane)
However, having it reassued was pretty easy, I just had to ask the student division and to wait a week. But I've been told that losing the resident card might take a little more than that.
I don't remember having asked for simpathy. I just asked for help because I (wrongly?) thought that what I did might have had nonproportional consequences (criminal records? Fine? ...deportation? :\).
Fortunately none of that happened (criminal records aside maybe, still note sure what all of that entailed...) since I'm not a criminal and I was not challenging the law. I am only a 22 years old student that was going to buy some manga at a book off who left his documents at home (by mistake, not to challenge the law because I feel I have gaijin powah or something).
Anyway, we have been stopped again with the bikes (for the light thing) and they asked again for registration. Since I have documents of one bike and I know the owner of the other one, in both the cases there was no problem at all.

Oh, I remembered one last thing I would like to add. In April, the first month I arrived here, I was stopped by a police cop while a was at Shibuya for a document check. That time I was not riding a bike but simply walking. I don't know if this is normal or not, but thinking about it now (after this mess) is a bit more annoying than when it happened...
Luckily I had my resident card back then!
 
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