Arudou Debito, or Dave Aldwinckle, is a vocal advocate for the rights of non-Japanese and naturalized Japanese citizens in Japan. Sometimes controversial and always outspoken, Debito most recently shares his experience of being stopped at an airport surrounding the G8 conference in Hokkaido.
A police officer demanded to see his foreign resident’s card, a document issued to foreigners staying in Japan for terms longer than short trips. (A U.S. citizen is granted a 90-day landing authorization for tourism with no visa.)
Like me. On June 19, flying from Tokyo to Chitose Airport, Hokkaido, I was snagged by a plainclothes cop (a Mr Ohtomo, Hokkaido Police badge #522874) for exiting Baggage Claim while Caucasian. He wanted to see my Gaijin Card, citing Summit security. I told him I was Japanese. [Debito is a naturalized Japanese citizen, according to his site.] Then he demanded proof of that. Repeatedly. Missing my train, I said I would cooperate if he asked three Asians for ID.
He obliged, but the first Japanese businessman he buttonholed blew him off without breaking his stride. So I said, “If he needn’t show ID, neither should I. By law, you can’t ID citizens without probable cause, right?” He agreed, apologized for confusing me with a foreigner, and let me go.
Fortunately, I made an audio recording of the proceedings and took cellphone photos of the cops’ stakeout–clearly evidencing the cops only zapped the flight’s four White passengers (myself and three Australians).
Debito’s fuller account is here.
[h/t James at Japan Probe]