The government held a ceremony Monday to mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the current police system and the national police chief pledged to restore public safety.

“We are determined to make every effort to uphold the democratic philosophy of the current Police Law, and efficiently carry out our duties while restoring public safety,” National Police Agency chief Hidehiko Sato told some 280 participants at the ceremony in a Tokyo hotel.

Emperor Akihito delivered a speech underlining the increasingly important role played by police.

The Police Law was put in place via revisions enforced in July 1954.

The government had extensive authority over police operations across Japan before and during World War II, when police played a major role in controlling almost all aspects of daily life and were involved in activities such as suppressing political activity.

However, the current police system is much more decentralized and calls for duties basically to be carried out at the prefectural level and for the protection of individuals’ rights and freedom.

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