Odawara Police Stopping non-Japanese in Odawara
The police in Odawara and Minamiashigara Shi (Matsuda) are very small town people in general.
Most grew up in the area, and have very little experience with people from other countries.
Few speak little if any English, and for these local police, non-Japanese are people they
see in movies, or on TV. They are naive about us to say the least. Some perhaps find
the large foreigners rather intimidating so give off a tough atmosphere to cope with that.
Were the local foreign population, truly hostile and dangerous, a tough stance might make
sense. Like a zero tolerance stance as they had in New York when crime was rampant.
However this is our peaceful coastal city of Odawara. Many of the local non-Japanese
residents here have made their life and family here.
Isn`t it time to educate the local police about us?
The Odawara police recently have been stopping a few of my American friends while they
were walking the streets of our city. One woman was walking her dog, and stopped.
The police asked to see her gaikokujin toroku shomeisho (her foreign identification card).
She presented it and they took it away and wrote down her details.
Another American friend and his tall friend from abroad were also stopped and asked for
identification. The police wrote down their details.
Haven`t citizens in Japan been through enough lately? Now we must be stopped by the police when we are out walking our dogs?
In Kamonomiya, Odawara, a motorcycle policeman almost appeared to try to run me down. I think he was using some kind of tactic to see if I would run away. He was obviously suspicious of me for some reason. I was putting pamphlets (advertising my English school) in the mailboxes of apartments and houses in the area. While this is technically illegal, the police don`t bother much with this crime usually. And the Japanese staff of pizza restaurants and other companies also do it. I`ve never seen them hastled by the Odawara police.
On another occasion two police appeared to follow me while I was putting pamphlets in
mailboxes. I wasn`t stopped in either case but the motorcyle policeman upset me. I don`t think buzzing a pedestrian while he is walking is called for in any case.
Odawara professes to want to be more international. They have a relationship with Manly,
Australia and Chula Vista, California. They have opened an International Lounge.
Someone may want to tell the local police that the citizens who have made their life and
family here, are not the enemy. We are not even guests. This is our country too!