It could be argued that most Japanese policemen have very little to do — the hunt for stolen bicycles or giving directions taking up much more of their time than anything truly important. But even that dwarfs this poor fella’s duties. A figure whose only task appears to be to stand still and look completely forlorn.
Tsuyoshi Mishina says
It made me remember a manga, “äººå½¢ã¨è¦å®˜”, written by Osamu Tezuka who is one of the most famous manga creators in Japan.
Glad to hear it!
Yeah, that’s one of the fellas. Any idea of the thinking behind them? Not like Japanese policeman aren’t a visible presence due to the koban system.
Yeah I saw these guys everywhere in Okinawa. It scared me at first. I also like the similar fellows that are on the highways who can only move one arm to wave a flag.
They are a bit unsettling, aren’t they? Those sad, staring eyes…
Yes, they have much more charm. There seems to be a shift to ones on screen, but hopefully a few of the mechanical ones will survive.
Hans ter Horst says
It may work better if it wasn’t standing with its back to the traffic. True, I hardly see police outside of their koban unless you’re at Narita all by yourself as a NJ as they will swamp you asking for ID and what not 🙂 Two years ago I got off the plane all jet-lagged and groggy when I was approached by a policeman, before he had made himself clear, my wife turned around and told him ‘he belongs to me’ and then he turned away to find some other NJ to bother. Weird, I felt like a stray dog 🙂
That’s a very good description. Always a sense of relief when the rogue gaijin is spoken for!
To be fair I’ve only ever been stopped once and asked for ID. That was in Nippori Station. I objected initially and kept asking why, but he demanded I show proof of my residency. Not a nice experience. That said, he did come over after — I was waiting for a friend — and apologised. Explaining that he was just doing his job and was on the lookout for visa overstayers.
Other gaijin I know here, however, have been stopped more. Some of them regularly…
Sadly, the same can be said of policemen everywhere. If you really think about it, most policemen aren’t investigating crimes. They are pushing papers, or handing out speeding tickets, or worse, responding to crimes AFTER they have happened. Very few police actually are present during crimes and even fewer are able to act in time to stop the criminal from harming someone or private property; usually when they witness a crime, it has already been initiated, and they can only react to prevent further harm. And even those police don’t actively investigate those crimes, or any others. I shiver to think of the ratio of beat cops who don’t really do much besides respond to crimes after they’ve been committed (which doesn’t help anybody) to the number of detectives who really do at least try to track down the bad guys and bring them to justice. In the United States, federal judges have ruled that police are not obligated by law to protect anyone or anything, but are merely required to enforce laws they probably don’t really fully understand through no fault of their own in the first place thanks to countless vague legal interpretations and exemptions.
No disagreement from me at all. And Japan is definitely no different. Worse maybe?
The amount of bungled investigations/cases one hears about doesn’t create much confidence. And as most people are convicted on confessions — with suspects allowed to be held for 23 days, no guarantees of seeing a lawyer, and intense intense interrogations — it’s truly terrifying to think how many innocent people must be locked up…
Something admiral about ever leaving your post. Ever.