Police told to brush up their hospitality skills amid surge in foreign visitors

Kyodo

Police are joining nationwide efforts to brush up on their omotenashi (hospitality) as the country experiences a surge in overseas visitors and prepares for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The National Police Agency on Thursday ordered police forces across the country to ensure smooth communication with foreign visitors through means such as placing staff who can adequately respond to them at police stations in popular tourist spots and entertainment districts.

The agency also called on police stations to consider using telephone interpretation services or set up ad hoc police boxes in areas expected to be busy with travelers.

It also called for police to swiftly secure a translator for any non-Japanese speakers that may need to be approached for crime investigations.

Last year, six people in Saitama Prefecture were allegedly killed by a Peruvian man, who lived in Japan but could not speak Japanese fluently.

The Saitama Prefectural Police later said they failed to thoroughly question him on another matter before the murders, possibly because they were not able to quickly communicate with him through an interpreter.

The NPA also encouraged police to more widely use tablet devices equipped with translation functions, as well as provide documents, such as reports on lost and found items or traffic offenses, in English and other languages.

According to the government, the number of foreign visitors to Japan topped 10 million for the first time in 2013 and surged to 19.73 million in 2015.

The record high number of visitors, which is increasing due in part to a weaker yen, came close to the Japanese government’s target of 20 million visitors from overseas by 2020, when the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games will be held.

  • Charles

    Here are two revolutionary suggestions for the J-police (and I’m using that term very liberally):

    – Don’t stop random foreign-looking people and ID them for no reason. That’s not considered good “hospitality skills.”

    – If a foreigner is a victim of a crime, instead of grilling the foreigner about his residence status and asking him many irrelevant personal questions, and then not helping him at all, try actually helping him. Usually people (including foreigners) go to the police station to get help, not to get interrogated and not helped at all.

    Both of these suggestions, if taken, should vastly improve the image of Japanese police to foreigners visiting during the Olympics.

    • Pink Floyd

      Place your bets… i say tablets with crap translation software and some moronic mascot called “gaijin mon” with a big nose will be trotted out..

    • Pink Floyd

      Place your bets… i say tablets with crap translation software and some moronic mascot called “gaijin mon” with a big nose will be trotted out..

    • Pink Floyd

      Place your bets… i say tablets with crap translation software and some moronic mascot called “gaijin mon” with a big nose will be trotted out..

    • Pink Floyd

      Place your bets… i say tablets with crap translation software and some moronic mascot called “gaijin mon” with a big nose will be trotted out..

    • tisho

      They will take your advice, put up a great facade, and once the show is over, they will resume business as usual. Operation deceit the outsiders – completed.

    • tisho

      They will take your advice, put up a great facade, and once the show is over, they will resume business as usual. Operation deceit the outsiders – completed.

    • tisho

      They will take your advice, put up a great facade, and once the show is over, they will resume business as usual. Operation deceit the outsiders – completed.

    • tisho

      They will take your advice, put up a great facade, and once the show is over, they will resume business as usual. Operation deceit the outsiders – completed.

    • tisho

      They will take your advice, put up a great facade, and once the show is over, they will resume business as usual. Operation deceit the outsiders – completed.

    • tisho

      They will take your advice, put up a great facade, and once the show is over, they will resume business as usual. Operation deceit the outsiders – completed.

    • tisho

      They will take your advice, put up a great facade, and once the show is over, they will resume business as usual. Operation deceit the outsiders – completed.

    • tisho

      They will take your advice, put up a great facade, and once the show is over, they will resume business as usual. Operation deceit the outsiders – completed.

    • tisho

      They will take your advice, put up a great facade, and once the show is over, they will resume business as usual. Operation deceit the outsiders – completed.

    • tisho

      They will take your advice, put up a great facade, and once the show is over, they will resume business as usual. Operation deceit the outsiders – completed.

    • tisho

      They will take your advice, put up a great facade, and once the show is over, they will resume business as usual. Operation deceit the outsiders – completed.

    • tisho

      They will take your advice, put up a great facade, and once the show is over, they will resume business as usual. Operation deceit the outsiders – completed.

    • tisho

      They will take your advice, put up a great facade, and once the show is over, they will resume business as usual. Operation deceit the outsiders – completed.

    • boganus

      This is symbolic of the underlying cultural attitude that will eventually see the demise of Japan. Internal shame, projection of fault onto ‘outsiders’, preference to fall on their sword in ‘honourable death’ than change and address the actual problem.

    • Steve Jackman

      This being Japan, cute mascots and stupid machine generated English translations win hands down.

  • Pink Floyd

    Maybe the Jcops need to stop harrasing foreigners and id checking them with the reason as ” foreigner check” .. just not good enough, its discrimination and racial profiling…. also they really need to get off their backsides and chase real “Japanese” criminals like the Yakuza etc..

  • Paul Johnny Lynn

    My interactions with the police here have ranged from very good to abysmal time-wasting. On the topic though, I think they’re going to need to rely on non-police resources if this is to be a reality. Some kind of volunteer translator network, provided by people living close by, needs to be set up, with people rostered on. Experience suggests though, that enough qualified speakers of any other languages will be thin on the ground.