Update on Police policy of conducting urine tests in Roppongi

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    A follow up to the post from last week about Japanese police allegedly making foreigners take drug tests as they left bars and clubs in the Roppongi area of Tokyo:

    Arudou Debito’s latest Just Be Cause column in the Japan Times focuses on the urine testing issue. Debito had asked on his blog for people who have been forced to take the urine tests to come forward and share their stories, but the column doesn’t have much new information. Nameless witnesses are cited as having been asked to take tests, and they say “few people who looked Japanese were detained.” In what appears to be a rephrasing of a post left on the Gaijinpot forums, we are given second account of how “those testing positive for controlled substances have been deported.”

    There is, however, one piece of new information in the column. It would seem that the Japan Times had a reporter call a police PR center and ask some questions:

    In a separate inquiry, The Japan Times wrung these clarifications out of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Public Relations Center: 1. Police raids on businesses only happen after a reliable tip; 2. Urine testing is not a new procedure, and has always been done whenever necessary; 3. Only those who look wasted on drugs will be asked for a urine sample; 4. Urine samples are only ever taken after persuasion, never under threat.

    Interesting, but how exactly can police determine if a person looks “wasted on drugs”? It would be a pretty hard call to make, considering the huge number of heavily intoxicated Japanese people who stumble around the streets of popular nightlife areas of Tokyo on any given weekend. Questions also remain about the type of persuasion police employ, the possibility of false positive results to urine tests, and about what crime a person commits when a urine test comes back positive for controlled substances.

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