Can anybody in the Tsukuba Police Department communicate in basic English? I was told that there were three such policemen who are supposedly able to communicate in English. Having met one of them personally, I would say that he was not really capable of that.
Likewise, there is no one who speaks Chinese, Korean, Russian, etc. So, this leads to potential problems. For instance, suppose you are involved in a traffic accident, or get caught up in a crime situation of some sort even unintentionally. Under the present situation, police will not call upon a translator unless it is absolutely essential. It often ends up with the police listening to only the party who can speak Japanese. This could lead to a very unfair situation if the other party lies. I have finally persuaded a police division in Mito to discuss this matter (on the 17th of June) with me (after 5 years of persuasion!) so that they can do something to improve the situation. Now, I need a lot of ammunition. If you or someone you know has encountered any unfair situations because of a language barrier or cultural difference or racial discrimination etc., please write to me about it. The more cases I can present to them, the better for my persuasion to get them to start some corrective action. It can even be a story from other Japanese city to use as another example. I will keep all such stories in confidence and not reveal the identity of any of you who communicate to me. Likewise, I will not reveal the date nor place any such incident happened if there is a chance that this might lead to your name. I do need the ammunition and I am counting on you. Please talk to anyone you know who may have stories to tell. Please let me know how I can reach you so that in case I need a bit more detail I can ask you. I as well as thousands of non-Japanese will appreciate your cooperation. Thank you. You can reach me at: Tokio.ohska(at)kek.jp or send me a fax at +81-29-864-5195.
(Dr. Tokio Ohska is a member of Tsukuba International Network, an association of members of international offices of research institutes and universities, and of representative voluntary groups, who are assigned to / willing to support daily living of non-Japanese researchers and their families in Tsukuuba. TIN has been successful in improving some public transportation services, medical systems, etc. for international residents. Please help him to help the Tsukuba police better serve both the non-Japanese and Japanese residents. Akemi Harada)
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