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Hokkaido Police at Chitose Airport only stop non-Asian passengers for G8 Summit anti-terrorist ID Checks

Voice recording as proof

Hi Blog. I was told this would happen–people of color (i.e. non-Asians) are getting racially profiled at Hokkaido’s airports as they exit baggage claim. (Shin-Chitose and Memanbetsu are confirmed, as also acknowledged by an officer of the Hokkaido Police in the sound recording below).

On Thursday, June 19, 2008, on my way back from Tokyo, I was stopped at 3:12PM at Shin-Chitose Airport by a Mr Ohtomo (Hokkaido Police Badge #522874) at the JAL exit and demanded at least three times my ID. I recorded the entire exchange as an mp3 sound file (edited down to seven minutes, with no cuts once the police questioning begins). Download it from here: http://www.debito.org/chitosekeisatsu080619edit.mp3

It includes the complete exchange in Japanese between Mr Ohtomo and myself, which essentially runs like this:

1) Mr Ohtomo identifies himself as a (plainclothes) police officer, and that for the needs of G8 Summit security, he needs to see ID from me as a foreigner.

2) When I tell him I’m I’m a Japanese, he keeps asking whether or not I’m a Permanent Resident and continues the quest for my ID, saying that he asks everyone thusly.

3) When I tell him that I’d been watching them and they hadn’t stopped anyone until now, he apologizes and admits that he mistook me for a foreigner (meaning that that was in fact the criterion used). But he still keeps asking for ID.

4) Eventually I tell him my name and job affiliation (after he allows me to read his badge number out loud for the record), and I say I will cooperate if he will ask three Asians for their ID. He goes off and tries, but (it’s hard to hear, but I did not cut this section, for the record) the businessman he corners refuses to give his ID. So I say that if he doesn’t have to, neither should I. Under the Keisatsukan Shokumu Shikkou Hou, which he acknowledges is binding here.

5) Mr Ohtomo is very apologetic for stopping me, saying that it’s only his job, and that these checks will continue until the Summit ends. And that it will probably happen to me again and again, but he doesn’t want me to have a bad impression. He also says (this guy’s a very gentle, conscientious cop) that he has been told a number of times by people he’s stopped that he’s being racist in his activities, and feels bad when they say they are getting a bad impression of Japan due to these ID checks (NB: Bravo to those people speaking out!–Police are people too and it does have an effect.)

6) The final few minutes of this seven-minute recording is me asking three Australians in English who were on the same plane whether they got ID checked. They woman said yes, she had been. Thus verifiably no other passengers (since they were all Asian) from that domestic flight were ID checked by the police.

Further, as visual proof that the two police offers were only stopping non-Asians, I took these photos with my keitai while still in baggage claim. Easy to spot the cops (Mr Ohtomo is wearing black). And note how they stay in position regardless of other people exiting (photo four)–they were only checking the White people.

I missed my train, but no, in the end, I did not have to show my ID. But when I tried to give this story to a Hokkaido Shinbun reporter I had lined up specially, he didn’t bite, deep sigh.

Source: http://www.debito.org/?p=1752