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Stopped by policemen

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Stopped by policemen

When I was walking in the Tokyo Railway Station, several non-uniformed policemen stopped me. At least they claimed they were. They showed me their badges, which looked like real, though I had no idea. I then showed them my British passport. They immediately walked away. They did not looked into my passport. I was not even sure they recognised it was a British passport.

Because I was using Japan Rail Pass, so I always carried my passport with me. What would happen if I could not produce any identification? Are foreigners supposed to carry identification while staying in Japan? Do Japanese policemen stop people quite often?

Japan
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1. Re: Stopped by policemen

All I can say is yes, visitors are required to have their passports on them at all times while in Japan, and I have heard a few (very few) stories of those who were required to show their passports to uniformed police officers. But about the non-uniformed group who stopped you....I have no idea. I hope others do, and I would like to hear their ideas about your questions.

Tokyo, Japan
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2. Re: Stopped by policemen

Foreign visitors are required to carry passports all the time according to the Japanese law. Whether it's a British one or a Bolivian one matters as much as Sprite and 7Up to the police, who do stop people (not just foreigners but the Japanese too) once in a while for questioning related to police operation. Foreigners might be stopped, as overstay without visa and work without permit is an ongoing issue, and illegal immigrants become quite desperate in life and become involved in crimes like robbery and drugs more often than normal citizens. It's nothing personal; they're just doing their job.

Edited: 23 August 2014, 20:30
Tokyo, Japan
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3. Re: Stopped by policemen

Well, actually, non-uniformed policemen stopping people is quite unusual; perhaps they were working under-cover upon a specific information (like a phone-call hinting on something bad to happen at a certain hour on a certain day at Tokyo Station or a specific information on drugs dealing).

Edited: 23 August 2014, 20:37
4. Re: Stopped by policemen

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T F
Pacific Coast...
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5. Re: Stopped by policemen

Good to know you have to carry your passport with you at all times.... I did not know this!

Toronto
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for Tokyo
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6. Re: Stopped by policemen

>> Not sure what would have happened if you hadn't carried any identification with you.

If you don't have the passport with you, you will be escorted to the nearest koban, then a ride in the cruiser to your hotel/home to retrieve it. It has happened to a few of my colleagues while we were working there.

immi-moj.go.jp/english/…ryoken.html

"Foreign residents in Japan must carry their passport or permit with them. They must present it when an authorized officer requests them to do so."

Melbourne, Australia
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7. Re: Stopped by policemen

my brother and I have been to Japan over 10 times in the past 18 years and have not once been stopped by the police, so i guess this is a rare occurrence

Melbourne
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8. Re: Stopped by policemen

Will a copy of the passport suffice? I generally put mine in the hotel safe?

Philadelphia...
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9. Re: Stopped by policemen

No, must be the original. I would think that these days a copy can with a current visa date could easily be faked. Keep a copy of the identification page in the safe (or email a scan of it to yourself). It will simplify getting a replacement from your embassy if the original is lost.

Tokyo, Japan
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for Hakone-machi, Minato
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10. Re: Stopped by policemen

It's actually "NOT uncommon" to be stopped. If you are a resident, you have to have your resident's card with you at all times. If you're a visitor, you need to carry your passport.

Philnicau, I would suggest carrying it "just in case." It's a hassle if you don't have it. BTW, I've bought lottery tickets for the past 18 years and still haven't won a jackpot. But I have been stopped by the police! The police should start selling lottery tickets! :-)