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Gaijin carded/stopped? legality of search 2019/2/11 00:34
Hey everyone,

So after living here for about a year I finally got Gaijin stopped. It happened in the evening while waiting for my wife to pick me up from work. I was waiting in front of my office. It was snowing so I didn't want to bike and we have a car. She was unfortunately late. after waiting 10mins I walked all of the ten feet to the corner to look down the street and see if I saw the car down the row. Nothing. I pulled out my cell and gave her a ring. nothing. back infront of the office i went. As i walked back to the office a police car drove past me. I thought nothing of it as tons of cars have driven past me, but then in the corner of my eye i notice the car was slowing down....and there was no traffic in front of it. they say nothing to me but I can FEEL the cop walking behind me. I'm from NYC, you get a feel for shit like this. Just before I could get back to the office, I see the uniformed cop behind me.

He scammers in Japanese. I ask him to repeat himself...in Japanese. He is surprised I speak japanese and asks me for ID, now very clearly. I give him my gaijin card with a smile and he is also surprised I am married to a Japanese woman and live in the area. He asks if I have any weapons. I laugh and say of course not. I have my cellphone that's it. that's not a weapon he says joking back to me. THEN the second cop shows up. first thing he asks me is if I have any weapons again I say in japanese no, I don't. just my cellphone. "oh your Japanese is really good?". At this point I'm starting to get annoyed and point out its cold and snowing and I would like to go back to my office. Then the second cop ask "is it ok if we give you a body search?".


"ok...wait. what?"


"why? you don't have any weapons right?"

"No i don't have any weapons or anything illegal. But why do you want to search me in the cold. infront of my JOB?"

Before I can say "you also didn't even tell me why you stopped me."
my wife rolls up and starts yelling at the cops "what are you doing with my husband?"
They ask "is he your husband?" My wife "yes...THATS WHAT I JUST SAID".

They then return my gaijin card apologize and walk back to their car.

I wanted to scream "but what about that search you wanted??" lol

The fact that once my wife showed up they just dropped it shows that the ONLY reason they stopped me was because I'm not Japanese. That pisses me off but hey it could be worse. They could be US cops.

My question is this: What more could the cops have done when I said no to the body search?

I had read up on some of the police procedures and laws because I had heard of gaijin stops before moving. and from what I've read, the most they can do is ask for you gaijin card if they are not arresting your or issuing a ticket/summons. They cannot touch you or search your person/belonging without a warrant. The most they can do is imply they can. I think this is why when my wife showed up they just stopped.

In all honesty had I been doing something wrong, I wouldn't have cared about a body search. But the fact that it was snowing AND they only stopped me and wanted to search me for being gaijin pissed me off. As far as I know they couldn't have arrested me for not giving them permission to search me. I also wasn't rude or loud so they really had nothing. Curious if anyway else has done this and what the result was.
by Rogue (guest)  

Re: Gaijin carded/stopped? legality of search 2019/2/11 07:44
You are in Japan, the laws are quite different than the US.
Come to think of it, it used to be like that maybe 30 years ago in the US, too, where cops can stop and search you without warrant.
May be thatfs why the crime rate used to be lower in US.

Maybe you were stopped because there was a crime reported in the neighborhood.
I am an American, and love how people abide by the rules mostly and how safe it is in Japan.
If that means losing few rights and liberty, so be it - itfs a good compromise.

If you donft like it, you can move back to the US.
by This is Japan (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Gaijin carded/stopped? legality of search 2019/2/11 07:54
But what could the cops have done if he had continued to refuse the search, is what he is asking. Your answer of gthis is Japan, suck it uph, which sounds like something my first Japanese boyfriendfs mother used to say to me, isnft particularly helpful tbh.
by LIZ (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Gaijin carded/stopped? legality of search 2019/2/11 08:11
I have been stopped twice by police, but I've never been asked anything more than identification. Once, at Sendai airport and I ended talking to the police officer for about 30 minutes about everything. It was a great meeting. The other was because I was in a dangerous area and the police wanted me to be safe and leave the area as quickly as possible. All they did was ask for my passport and inquire as to my reason for being in the area. No problems either time.
by John B digs Japan rate this post as useful

Re: Gaijin carded/stopped? legality of search 2019/2/11 08:27
You were probably in the wrong place at the wrong time. Something may have been reported in the area, and you looked suspicious. If your wife didn't show up, they would likely have let you go after the body search. Or they may have tried to contact your wife or employer to get some confirmation about you before letting you go. I doubt that there is something illegal about stopping and searching a suspicious looking foreigner.
by Uji rate this post as useful

Re: Gaijin carded/stopped? legality of search 2019/2/11 08:54
you ARE required to carry identification..especially your Passport at ALL times whilst in Japan...if you are not Japanese..this IS the law!
by Barrieaw rate this post as useful

Re: Gaijin carded/stopped? legality of search 2019/2/11 09:22
I am sorry to hear of what happened.

Body search gafterh an arrest is allowed. One gbeforeh any arrest requires your consent. So if you had persisted with a no, they would have had to let you go. And I recommend to continue to refuse.

Stopping/questioning is allowed under Article 2-1 of Police Duties Execution Act, but checking belongings is allowed only if needed as part of such questioning under case law, and only with consent. (I am not sure this really includes body search, as against checking your bag.) But this law allows questioning someone only when there is reasonable suspicion that the subject may have committed a known crime or is about to commit a crime, in view of circumstances.

Seeing that they not only asked you about weapons (this is rude in itself) but that they wanted to do a search, either there was someone else reported in your area as loitering, maybe there was a theft nearby, or something like that.
by AK rate this post as useful

Re: Gaijin carded/stopped? legality of search 2019/2/11 10:16
With regards to body search, as you had experienced, the police can request you for body search BUT you have the right to turn down the request and they can't force you for a body search unless there is a plausible reason.

However, they can be passive aggressive, make your time miserable by repeating and asking you why you don't let them search you. If you get irritated and start to touch them(can be consider as assault or obstruction), then they have plausible cause to search you and worse bring you down to police station for further investigation.

As other have said, sometimes it just routine check or something had happen in the area. Or maybe it's on the job training for rookies, where the Senpai observed and let the rookie do interrogation and communicating with people.

Best is to comply with them if you have nothing to fear and ask them to identify themselves, like badge number and dept. , reasons.

Always have your zairyu card with you.

by @.. (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Gaijin carded/stopped? legality of search 2019/2/11 10:29
1: You should have asked what they suspected you of first. Obviously carrying a weapon (that's what they asked about), so they can get around that.
2: You should have asked to see their ID and taken a copy.
3: Then provide your card.
4: For a search, ask if you are being arrested. If so, then go with them to a station, not on the street - make it formal.

Of course, you were helpful and polite - also good things to do, but sticking up for yourself can be difficult. The fact you speak good Japanese is a big bonus.
by JapanCustomTours rate this post as useful

Re: Gaijin carded/stopped? legality of search 2019/2/11 11:15
May be thatfs why the crime rate used to be lower in US.

No it didin't. Violent crime, and all crime in general, has fallen dramatically in the US in the past 30 years.
by Umami Dearest rate this post as useful

Re: Gaijin carded/stopped? legality of search 2019/2/12 10:13
I do not see any problem.

They can check for your information. This is there right to do.
If you do not like Japanese law than you should consider leaving.

Another point is gaijin card since this is not the name since 2012, so maybe you should read or study more about the new card and rules.
Since your wife is Japanese they know you are not illegal.

My tip dont make it more difficult to refuse, or if you have anything to hide...
There are so many foreigners carrying drugs and been arrested, I do not blame the police to frisk search .

It is I think more worse in America, that darker people are shot down for no reason.
by justmyday rate this post as useful

Re: Gaijin carded/stopped? legality of search 2019/2/12 17:27
My guess is that they saw you turn around to go back inside and assumed that you had turned around because you saw them. Thus to them, turning around was a suspicious behaviour.
by Paul (guest) rate this post as useful

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