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Zealous Japanese policeman arrests Japanese woman

February 28th, 2006 . by Matt

According to Mainichi News, a zealous policeman arrested a reticent woman that looked like a non-Japanese foreigner on an immigration violation.

KAWAGUCHI, Saitama — Red-faced police released a woman they had arrested for not carrying her passport after she proved to be Japanese, police officials said.

The officials said local police had deemed that she was non-Japanese because she looked like a foreigner and did not say anything in response to questions in Japanese.

Local police were apologetic about the mistake. “We caused great trouble to the woman. We’ll take measures to prevent a recurrence,” the head of Kawaguchi Police Station said.

At around 7:40 p.m. on Saturday, three officers spoke to a 28-year-old woman walking on a street in Kawaguchi, and asked her name and nationality because she looked like a woman from Southeast Asia, according to the officials.

After saying, “I’m Japanese,” she refused to talk to the officers, who took her to the police station. After she refused to respond to the questions officers asked her in Japanese, police deemed that she was a foreigner.

The officers confirmed that she was not carrying her passport, and arrested her for violating the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law. She subsequently wrote down the name of one of her family members on a sheet of paper. One of the officers contacted her family and found out she is a Japanese national.

Police quoted the woman’s mother as telling them, “My daughter wouldn’t talk to anybody she doesn’t know.”

Although the police apologised to the woman, and said they would take action to ensure nothing like that would happen again, I suspect that the opposite would happen in my country, Australia. In Australia you cannot mess around with the police like that and waste their time – there is a legal word for it, but I cannot recall it.

I almost went to the trouble of translating the whole Japanese article before I found the English article button on that takes you to the English translation. My only argument with the translation is with what the mother reported to have said. The Japanese text is「娘は知らない人とは話をしない性格」, so I would have gone with “It is my daughters personality not to speak with people she doesnt know”, rather than the official translation (“My daughter wouldn’t talk to anybody she doesn’t know”) which does not give a hint to the reason why she will not talk with strangers.

I wish Korean news sites were that intergrated – it would save a lot of time translating.

4 Responses to “Zealous Japanese policeman arrests Japanese woman”

  1. comment number 1 by: tk

    Only because That’s Saitama !

  2. comment number 2 by: Schopenhauer

    Actually what I heard was that when they initally contacted the mother she denied that it was her daughter. However it still is a black eye for the Saitama police, and they deserve it. I think tks comment captured most of my friends reactions.

  3. comment number 3 by: RichieRICH

    Matt –

    What are your thoughts on Arudo Debito

    Libertarian crusader or anachronistic foreigner?


  4. comment number 4 by: Matt

    Matt –

    What are your thoughts on Arudo Debito

    Libertarian crusader or anachronistic foreigner?


    I think his methods actually backfire if you are talking about resolving problems of discrimination against foreigners. I think Debito also contributes foriegners not taking advantage of facilities (like onsens), where discrimination is very, very rare, by making people needlessly fearful that they might suffer discrimination.

    This is a pretty good review, and matches a lot of what I think about debito.