Dear visitor, if you know the answer to this question, please post it. Thank you!

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Police - Was I arrested, convicted, cautioned 2017/8/9 22:49
So basically I was riding a very old looking bicycle that I thought was abandoned. The Police stopped me a few streets later, took my possessions, analysed the bike (I didn't know all bikes in Japan have stickers attached with details) and accused me of stealing it. They took me to the Police Station where they contacted the owner on the sticker. The police told me that the owner did not want to prosecute (I think from the tone of the police, the original owner had almost forgotten about the bicycle). They made me sign some papers (all in Japanese which I barely read / speak). They then took some photos, took me to another floor where they took more photos, fingerprints, other details etc. I was then taken to the place where I originally found the bicycle, before finally being taken home with more photos right up until my front door and then let go.

Before leaving the station, they told me that these details would be available to all Police in Japan, and only the Police in Japan could access these details. They said if there is a repeat offence, it will be a lot more serious because of these previous details.

I do not know what this is actually classed as? If anyone knows what this is (based on the story I have just described) can someone please tell me as much information as possible (or where I can find detailed information) and where in Japanese law it stipulates that the Police have permission to do this.

Thank you.
by HarryStern351  

Re: Police - Was I arrested, convicted, cautioned 2017/8/11 15:03
I believe you were suspected of stealing/embezzlement of lost property (Penal Code 254). I don't know if the owner had reported the bicycle as stolen, but it had his name on it; and regardless of whether you thought it was abandoned or not, you were caught in the act for that.

If you had no prior offense of the similar nature, further if the person who lost is does not wish for any punishment on you, and the amount of damage is less than a certain criteria, it will be considered a "minor offense," and absent repeat offense, your case will not be sent to the prosecutor, and this case will not constitute a criminal record.

I believe you voluntarily agreed to be taken to the police station, and voluntarily signed your statement (written down by the police).
by AK rate this post as useful

Re: Police - Was I arrested, convicted, cautioned 2017/8/11 15:34
The Police Duties Execution Act permits police officers to stop you, to question, and ask that you accompany them to a police station.

You could have said no to signing the statement (your oral description taken down by the officer) as you could not read it.
by AK rate this post as useful

Re: Police - Was I arrested, convicted, cautioned 2017/8/11 20:21
Also, you could have refused to go to the police station. You should have asked "am I under arrest?" and if the answer was "no", not gone anywhere with the police. They can follow you home, they can try to verbally intimidate you into coming with them, and they can physically block you with their bodies, but they can't force you to come with them unless you're under arrest. If you were under arrest, you'd probably know. Going with them was (to them) an admission of guilt, and you signed the statement (you could have refused), another admission of guilt. So in their eyes, case closed.

By the way, why did you take the bicycle? It shouldn't matter that you thought it was abandoned; don't take what's not yours! In this case, the police were right to stop you, weren't they?
by scarreddragon rate this post as useful

Re: Police - Was I arrested, convicted, cautioned 2017/8/11 23:56
You're in a foreign country, one that is pretty strict with rules and laws, and it didn't cross your mind that you shouldn't grab a whole bicycle that is not yours?

How long have you been living in Japan not to know bicycles are registered?

Well I hope this taught you to bring your brain with you when you leave your house every morning.

Also, to people saying what you can refuse with police officers in Japan: yes, you may behave in certain ways, but refusing to do what they ask you to do is just going to make things worse.
I always read about gaijins being mistreated by the police, but I guess it was either because their Japanese sucked, or because they get defensive.

I know you feel it's not their business to ask you where are you going on a bike at 11pm, but suck it up and be cooperative.

I got stopped many times already while riding my bicycle, they asked me a lot of stuff, I just replied with a smile, and gave them all the info they wanted. They always treated me nicely.
I'm actually glad they do it, because once they stole my bike, and the police found it a few months later.

The reason they pay attention to gaijins on bikes is because of geniuses like mr. "I didn't know you couldn't steal bicycles in Japan" here.
by Efu (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Police - Was I arrested, convicted, cautioned 2017/8/12 11:39
Also, to people saying what you can refuse with police officers in Japan: yes, you may behave in certain ways, but refusing to do what they ask you to do is just going to make things worse.

As I said in my post, by going with the police for questioning, you are in essence (to them) admitting "guilt" at whatever you are being accused of. The police have the right to stop foreigners and ask for their identification, which they must legally carry. Obviously this is by racial profiling white or black looking foreigners, as those with asian descent probably are going to look Japanese enough to never get stopped. However, if you are not under arrest, "cooperating" with the police can actually be to your detriment. NEVER follow police to an office or a station if you are not under arrest; this has been in the news a lot recently. They can then keep you there for a long time, "force" you to sign a confession whether you did whatever it is or not, yell at you, verbally abuse you (as was the case just recently with 2 13/14 yo JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS who were actually innocent of what they were accused of), and while they can't prevent you from leaving physically, they CAN block you with their bodies, and you trying to push past them will then be considered assault of the officer and then they can arrest you on that charge even if they can't on the original.

In the US it is important to cooperate with the police, or they may just shoot you. In Japan, unless you are under arrest, cooperating can be much much worse for you. If you are not under arrest, stay polite but GO HOME. They can't follow you through your door.
by scarreddragon rate this post as useful

Re: Police - Was I arrested, convicted, cautioned 2017/8/12 11:50
You essentially stole a bicycle, you're lucky you were not arrested, convicted and deported.
by jh (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Police - Was I arrested, convicted, cautioned 2017/8/12 16:15
I'm sure you think that makes you look good and righteous, but too bad, embezzlement of lost property is not a deportable offense since it carries a maximum prison sentence of one year, whereas deportation requires a sentence of more than one year.
by Firas rate this post as useful

Re: Police - Was I arrested, convicted, cautioned 2017/8/15 15:31
I read this thread a few days ago: basically you stole something and got caught. While not a deport-able offence (apparently), the question you need to ask yourself is around your next visa renewal. Being arrested for stealing might be ok given there wasn't a conviction (you say there was not one despite the headline), but you might like to check.

I also know someone that stole a bicycle (a pretty pink one belonging to a six year old girl). They were here as a tourist, had the undivided attention of a large squad of officers, he made a huge apology, and returned home after his holiday in Tokyo. Other than being an idiot (and a little drunk at the time), he got off lightly and had a lot less to lose.
by JapanCustomTours rate this post as useful

Re: Police - Was I arrested, convicted, cautioned 2017/8/15 17:02
From what I read what the officer did (called up the original owner, who did not want to press charges, etc.) and what OP had to do (to sign the papers and let go after fingerprinting and photos), I am almost convinced that it was handled as "minor offense," which is not considered criminal record, so no impact on the resident status either.
by AK rate this post as useful

Re: Police - Was I arrested, convicted, cautioned 2017/8/15 19:22
Harry,

I'm just here to warn you that you were stopped and taken to the police because bicycle theft is extremely common in Japan. Grown people with proper jobs take away abandoned bicycles just like that, even though no bicycle owner likes it.

The original owner of the bike you were riding probably had his/her bike stolen a long time ago, and then it may had been stolen again, and by the time it reached you the owner had given up on the bike, which is very sad.

I feel that the police tries to do their job of finding stolen bikes, not only to return property, but also to make sure that good residents like you don't get worse. It happens to local low-teens a lot: They think they can just pick up abandoned stuff and own it. But it doesn't work that way in Japan.

So be good, and know that the next time you're caught you can't get away with "I didn't know", and know that each bicycle has its ID number engraved in its metal part. When you spot an abandoned bike or any abandoned item, (although the common thing to do is to ignore it) the proper thing to do is to contact the police. If you want to obtain a used bike from the proper owner, be sure you talk to the police and get your bike's registration re-done.

Similar things can be said for all abandoned items in Japan. You're not supposed to casually take it away. And if you pick up abandoned cash and notify the police, you have the right to obtain a small amount of it from the owner as a token of appreciation.

Hope it helps.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Police - Was I arrested, convicted, cautioned 2017/8/16 23:15
by John B digs Japan rate this post as useful

Re: Police - Was I arrested, convicted, cautioned 2017/8/17 00:12
Nice article. However, the blogger forgot to write that even if it has been disposed of properly, itfs still not yours. It's the property of the municipal that is responsible for the disposed item. In other words, you can't just randomly take away an item from a garbage collection site. That's another mistake that people, even locals, tend to make.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Police - Was I arrested, convicted, cautioned 2017/8/17 09:15
simple don`t take things which are not yours. Than nothing happens.
Because you thought it was ok to do so brings you in bad position.
by justmyday rate this post as useful

Re: Police - Was I arrested, convicted, cautioned 2017/8/19 01:10
Here is my question.

When I was in Japan for a month working, base in Osaka, I saw a bike left in a small circle parking lot. I don't recall the bike there the first couple days because I left my apartment in the dark and came home in the dark. So I watch and monitor this guy everyday for a month, no movement of the bike at all. Finally 3rd week was a windy raining night and the bike fell, I watch it for the two weeks. On my last day when I was to move out of Osaka the bike was still left on the ground.

Isn't that abandoned?

I was thinking after the 2 week during the weekend, why not take and use it and make my life easier than do a 15 to 20min walk. it easy for me take but because I knew the bike thing in Japan. I wasn't dump enough to touch it

please share our opinion on that.

My question to the OP is, did you saw It and just take it? or did you saw it there for a while?
by Kay (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Police - Was I arrested, convicted, cautioned 2017/8/19 01:16
Typo correction: So I watch and monitor this bike everyday for a month, no movement of the bike at all.

FYI ; I would have return the bike to its location after I move out on my last day.
by Kay (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Police - Was I arrested, convicted, cautioned 2017/8/19 03:06
As with many threads on here, the OP never comes back to post a subsequent comment.
by John B digs Japan rate this post as useful

Re: Police - Was I arrested, convicted, cautioned 2017/8/19 14:16
Kay, you're missing the whole point. I wonder if you read the whole thread.

Of course that bike you saw may have been abandoned. But according the Japanese law, you cannot take away and own an abandoned bike without permission. This works for all abandoned items, not just bikes.

It may sound like a stupid law, especially when it's obviously something thrown away by the original owner, such as some magazines left in front of a neighbor's home for waste collection. I myself have phoned the municipal questioning the law (or maybe it's a by-law, I'm not sure. But anyway...)

But especially in the case of bicycles, abandoned bicycles are most likely originally stolen, and then moved and abandoned, and then maybe stolen again and moved until it is finally abandoned for good. So if I were the original owner, I would appreciate it if it was returned to me.

Out of my 5 bicycles stolen in 3 years, 2 were returned to me through the police. I remember that as I was picking one up from a police box some five train stations away, the police officer told me that a foreign student was riding it when the police found it. He said, "I guess he was one of those students having a hard time with financial problems, you know." which justified my thought of not pressing charges. Either way, I was extremely happy to see my bike again.

Because I was so happy to see my 2 bikes, and so sad never to be seeing the other 3, I always try to report abandoned bikes. I remember returning a couple of them through the police. In one case, the original owner walked all the way to my home to give me a token of thanks. She seemed extremely grateful, of course. Since then, I only tell my phone number to the police and not my address.

Another time, I saw a piece of attractive furniture left in front of a neighbor's home for waste collection. I knocked the door to ask if I can have it instead. The woman at the door seemed happy, but when she went to the back to ask the original owner, she returned reluctantly saying that the original owner doesn't want to hand it down to someone she doesn't know (Okay, I was a neighbor but I never got to say hi to the original owner). So I had to give it up.

There are many ways to have your used things recycled, but just randomly abandoning them isn't the answer. Nor can you randomly own abandoned items. I know countries where the government encourages people to deliberately throw things away for others to come and use them for whatever purpose they have, but that is not the case in Japan.

Just sharing my experiences.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Police - Was I arrested, convicted, cautioned 2017/8/23 19:04
I've done a lot of thinking over these past couple of weeks. First of all, I have vowed to never ride a bicycle in Japan again. This includes purchasing, hiring or importing one. Second of all, I now fully understand the extent of what I did wrong. Different countries have different laws and it was ignorant of me to assume that they are the same.

Living in a country completely different from my own is hard enough, without getting into the wrong side of the law to boot. In the coming months I am going to do some serious thinking about whether Japan is the place that I want to be.

Thank you guys for responding and allowing me to see the error of my ways...
by HarryStern351 rate this post as useful

Re: Police - Was I arrested, convicted, cautioned 2017/8/23 19:07
Also @AK (or anyone else that knows) will this appear at all if I request a "Toko Shomei" / "Hanzai Keireki Shomeisho"?
by HarryStern351 rate this post as useful

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