Police shouldn't expect the worst from fans

by Dan Riney

The Japanese police force tried hard to create problems for itself last Friday night in Roppongi after the England vs. Argentina soccer match.

But thanks to boisterous, though well-behaved fans, the serious trouble that the police had been anticipating, but which looked like being caused purely by themselves, was avoided.

As has become standard, groups of cheering fans formed after the game along the main Roppongi drag.

Riot vehicles were positioned on the street in front of the groups.

Dozens of panicked police, seemingly equating large groups of people with trouble, ran about so frantically they’d give decapitated poultry a bad name.

Apparently at a loss for what to do with so many happy people, the police determined that the sidewalks of Roppongi needed to be cleared of pedestrians. They tried starting with the sidewalk across the street from the two large groups, a sidewalk along which people were walking peacefully.

Two growing masses of people going in opposite directions soon converged. Rather than resist, though, most people seemed either amused or curious with this strange attempt at crowd control.

Luckily, the police officers soon became aware of the futility of their plan and ran back into the street.

Continuing on our way, we ducked into a fast-food restaurant where the staff was as hospitable and relaxed as usual. After that, we stopped at a conbeni, where the workers were unperturbed.

If the police want to avoid creating a big mess before this World Cup is over, they should take some tips from Japanese citizens and relax.