A Tokyo police officer is winning praise for quick-witted comments that kept excited soccer fans from getting out of hand Tuesday night in Shibuya after Japan won a ticket to the 2014 World Cup.
“Those stern-faced police officers you see around here are not patrolling because they hate you. They are just as happy as you are that Japan has made it,” the police officer in his 20s called out through a loudspeaker to the rowdy soccer fans who had taken control of the big intersection near Shibuya Station’s Hachiko statue late Tuesday.
Standing on top of a police car, the officer said: “Everyone please hear me out. All the cops here, including myself, are your teammates. So please listen to what we have to say. Let’s celebrate this wonderful day together.”
“It’s very brave of him that he said those things despite the (overwhelming) atmosphere,” said a comment on the Internet. Another said: “Such witty comments are more likely to strike a chord with people than mere screaming.”
He was later nicknamed the “DJ cop” on the Internet.
The officer, whose name has been withheld for privacy reasons, is a member of the Metropolitan Police Department’s riot squad in charge of public relations. A sports fan and accomplished kendo athlete, he was the champion in an MPD contest in January where police officers competed to spontaneously think of ways to verbally placate a feverish crowd, a police spokesman said.
“I believe all he had in mind was just to do everything he could to prevent any casualties, minimize the traffic disruption and of course not to turn off the thrilled supporters. These concerns must have been what drove him to act the way he did,” the spokesman told The Japan Times.