Description of the Japanese Police Organization


    1. History of Police and Evolution of Police System
    2. Police Organizations
      2.1. Police Organization at National Level
        2.1.1. Nacional Public Safety Commission
        2.1.2. National Police Agency (Hereafter reffered as "NPA")
          2.1.2.1. Organizations and Authority
          2.1.2.2. Regional Police Bureaus
          2.1.2.3. Organizations Attached to the NPA
      2.2. Police Organization at Prefectural Level
        2.2.1. Prefectural Public Safety Commission
        2.2.2. Tokyo Metropolitan Police Departament and Prefectural Police Headquartes
          2.2.2.1. Organization and Authority
          2.2.2.2. Police Stations, Police Boxes and Residential Police Boxes
          2.2.2.3. Mutual Relations Between Prefectural Police Forces
    3. Hole of Police in Japan
    4. Police Personnel Authorized Strength

      4.1. Rank
      4.2. Promotion an Pay




1 - HISTORY OF POLICE AND EVOLUTION OF POLICE SYSTEM

During the period extending from 1874, when the "Keihoryo" (Police Bureau) was created within the Ministry of Home Affairs, to 1945, when World War II ended, the Japanese police had the centralized organization throughout the country under the Ministry of Home Affairs, which supervised and directed all police in the country.

After the war, in 1948, a new Police Law was enforced. This law aimed at carrying out a drastic change of Japan's prewar police system. It was epochmaking in espousing the idea of a democratization and decentralization of the police force. The salient points of the reform were as follows:

- The responsibilities of the police were limited to "protecting the life, person and property of the nation, investigating crimes, arresting suspects and maintaining public peace and order in the country." As a result, firefighting, health and sanitation services, and other functions were regarded as non-police functions and assigned to other administrative agencies. On the other hand, the jurisdiction of criminal investigation, which had been considered basically as under the authority of public prosecutors, was vested upon the police.

- The Public Safety Commission system was introduced at both national and prefectural levels as a democratic system to control the police and to ensure their political neutrality.

- The police organization was divided into two. Each municipality with a population over 5,000 had its own police organization (municipal police) and all other areas were integrated under the framework of the National Rural Police Force. This Police Law which took the American police system as a model, however, did not harmonize, in many ways, with the actual conditions existing in Japan. That is: - The geographical segmentation of police units under the municipal police system was not suitable for ensuring the efficient operation of the police force and imposed a heavy financial burden on each municipal government.

- The dual system of the National Rural Police and the municipal police was irrational from the standpoint that police work has both national and municipal aspects.  - Because municipal police forces were independent of the central government, the responsibility of the State or of the national government with respect to maintain public peace and order was not clear. In order to solve these institutional problems, the current Police Law was promulgated on June 8, 1954 and became effective in July 1 of the same year. The 1954 law was designed to correct the defects of the previous system appeared in the process of its implementation while retaining intact democratic character of the system.

The 1954 law effected the following reforms:

- While the Public Safety Commission system was preserved to ensure the democratic control of the police and its political neutrality, the responsibility of the national government for the maintenance of public peace and order made clear by assigning a Minister of State to the chairmanship of the National Public Safety Commission.

- The dual system of the national rural police and the municipal police was abolished, and all police forces were integrated into the prefectural police system.

It was from the standpoint of making the operation of the police forces efficient and economical, also enabling the prefectural police to meet national needs. While retaining the merits of the municipal police. As a result, the enactment of the existing Police Law gave birth to a police system suitable for the actual conditions of the country. Thirty-five years since its enactment, it has become firmly rooted as the foundation on which police activities in Japan are based.


2 - POLICE ORGANIZATIONS

The present Police Law stipulates that the fulfillment of the responsibilities of the police such as "protecting the life, person and property of individual persons" and "maintaining public peace and order" be collectively consigned to prefectural governments from the central government and that such police duties is executed by the prefectural governments. It also provides that the national government set up its own police organization to control and direct the prefectural police regarding certain police duties in accordance with their specific national character. Also, as in the case of the old Police Law, public safety commissions are established at both national and prefectural levels to control the police. 

2.1 - POLICE ORGANIZATIONS AT NATIONAL LEVEL

The National Public Safety Commission and the National Police Agency are police organizations at the national level.



2.1.1 - National Public Safety Commission

An administrative commission operating on the basis of liaison and coordination with the Cabinet, the National Public Safety Commission is a government body responsible for the administrative supervision of the police.

Although the National Public Safety Commission is under his jurisdiction, the Prime Minister is not empowered to direct and give orders to the Commission. This arrangement is intended to ensure the independence of the National Public Safety Commission and to guarantee the neutrality of the police in politics.

The National Public Safety Commission is responsible for the administration of the police in matters relating to public peace and order in the country, for the administration of matters concerning police education, police communication, criminal identification, criminal statistics, and police equipment, and for the coordination concerning police administration. In order to execute these duties, the National Public Safety Commission controls the National Police Agency. "To control" in this context means laying down basic policy and making the National Police Agency conduct police affairs accordingly. Supervision of the prefectural police in regard to these police affairs is conducted solely through the National Police Agency, and the National Public Safety Commission is in no position to supervise the prefectural police directly. The National Public Safety Commission may establish National Public Safety Commission regulations with respect to matters within its competence as specifically authorized by law. 

The National Public Safety Commission is composed of the Chairman and five members. A minister in the Cabinet is appointed as the chairman of the Commission. The chairman presides over Commission meetings and also supervises matters relating to the operation of the Commission.

The Commission members are picked from among persons who have not been in the public service related to police or public prosecution in the preceding five years, and are named by the Prime Minister with the consent of the House of Representatives and the House of Councilors. Their terms of office is five years. In order to insulate the Commission from political pressure, it is forbidden to appoint more than three members who are affüiated with the same political party. 


2.1.2 - National Police Agency (Hereafter reffered as "NPA")

2.1.2.1 - Organization and Authority

The head of the NPA is the Commissioner General who is appointed and dismissed by the National Public Safety Commission with the consent of the Prime Minister. Under control of the National Public Safety Commission, the Commissioner-General administers the tasks of the NPA, appoints and dismisses Agency employees, and supervises and controls the prefectural police regarding the affairs under the jurisdiction of the Agency.

The NPA's organization consists of Commissioner-General's Secretariat, Police Administration Bureau, Criminal Investigation Bureau, Safety Department, Traffic Bureau, Security Bureau, and Communication Bureau.

Under control of the National Public Safety Commission, the NPA performs the following duties:
- Planning and research of various systems relating to the police 
- National budget related to the police 
- Operation of police forces in the event of incidents affecting public peace and order on a national scale, such as a large-scale disasters and disturbances 
- Formulation and implementation of plans to cope with an emergency situation 
- Traffic control on trunk highways across the country 
- International investigative assistance 
- International emergency aid activities 
- Imperial Guard 
- Maintenance and management of police educational institutes and other matters pertaining to police education 
- Maintenance and management of police communication facilities and other matters pertaining to police communication 
- Maintenance and management of criminal identification facilities and other matters pertaining to criminal identification 
- Criminal statistics 
- Police equipment 
- Standards pertaining to recruitment, duties and activities of police personnel 
- Adjustments pertaining to police administration 
- Inspection of matters relating to the responsibilities of the NPA 

The NPA also assists the National Public Safety Commission in its duties as provided by law.


2.1.2.2 - Regional police Bureaus

The NPA maintains Regional Police Bureaus as its local organizations to carry out part of its functions. There are throughout the country a total of seven Bureaus in the major cities of each region except Tokyo and Hokkaido. Tokyo is excluded as the site of a Regional Police Bureau in consideration of the special circumstances under which the Metropolitan Police Department has long been established and it shares the same location with the NPA. A Regional Police Bureau is not set up in Hokkaido because the Hokkaido Prefectural Police headquarters has the whole of Hokkaido under its jurisdiction.

The Director General of each Regional Police Bureau is responsible for the tasks of his bureau, supervises the police personnel under him and, acting upon orders from the Commissioner General of the NPA, also supervises the work of its regional prefectural polices.



2.1.2.3 - Organizations Attached to the NPA

The NPA has, as its affiliated organizations, the National Police Academy, the National Research Institute of Police Science and the Imperial Guard Force.
The National Police Academy was created to provid education and training necessary for senior police officers and to carry out academic research on police-related matters. 

The Academy is made up of nine departments, including the Criminal Affairs Departrnent, Safety Department, Traffic Department, Security Department, and Research Department, and experienced police officers in each field serving as instructors. Also attached to the Academy are the Highest Training Institute for Investigative Leaders, the International Research and Training Institute for Criminal investigations, and the Police Communications School. These institutions are intended to train specialists in respective fields.

The National Research Institute of Police Science conducts research and experiments on scientific investigation, examinations based on the applied use of results of research, and research and experiments on the prevention of juvenile delinquency and traffic accidents. The National Research Institute of Police Science has five departments General Affairs Department, First Forensic Science Division, Second Forensic Science Division, Crime Prevention and Juvenile Delinquency Department and Traffic Department.

The Imperial Guard headquarters is responsible for escorting the Emperor, the Empress, the Crown Prince and other members of the Imperial Family, and guarding the Imperial Palace and other Imperial facilities. The Imperial Guard has three departments - Police Administration Department, Security Department and Escort Department.



2.2 - POLICE ORGANIZATIONS AT PREFECTURAL LEVEL

The present Police Law stipulates that each prefectural government, which is a local public entity, shall have its own prefectural police which will carry out all police duties within the boarders of the prefecture.
The Prefectural Public Safety Commission, the Metropolitan Police Department and prefectural police headquarters are prefectural-level police organizations.


2.2.1 - Prefectural Public Safety Commission

The Prefectural Public Safety Commission, which is an administrative committee functioning under the representative system, is an administrative organ to supervise the prefectural police. This Commission is under the jurisdiction of the governor, who, however, is not empowered to either supervise or give orders to the Commission.

The Prefectural Public Safety Commission supervises the prefectural police force, but it simply formulates the basic policy for their operation and does not supervise the details of their tasks. The prefectural Public Safety Commission may establish Public Safety Commission regulations as specifically provided by law, in matters under its jurisdiction.

A Prefectural Public Safety Commission is composed of five members in the case of large prefectures, and three members in smaller prefectures. The chairman is chosen by vote of the Commission members.

Commission members are picked from among residents of each prefecture who have not been in the public service related to the police or public prosecution in the preceding five years and are named by the governor of the prefecture with the consent of the prefectural assembly. Their term of office is three years. The number of members affiliated with the same political party shall not be such that they would constitute the majority in the Commission.



2.2.2 - Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department and Prefectural Police Headquarters

2.2.2.1 - Organization and Authority

The headquarters of the police force in Tokyo is the Metropolitan Police Department while that in all other prefectures is the Prefectural Police headquarters. Operating under the supervision of the respective Prefectural Public Safety Commission, the Metropolitan Police Department and the Prefectural Police headquarters undertake police work in their respective areas, and also assist the Prefectural Public Safety Commission in work within its competence.

The head of the Metropolitan Police Department is the Superintendent General and that of the Prefectural Police headquarters is the Chief. They are responsible for police duties and supervise the police personnel under them.

The Superintendent General of the Metropolitan Police Department is appointed and dismissed by the National Public Safety Commission with the consent of the Metropolitan Public Safety Commission and with the approval of the Prime Minister. The Chief of the Prefectural Police headquarters is appointed and dismissed by the National Public Safety Commission with the consent of the Prefectural Public Safety Commission. The procedures for the appointment and dismissal of the Superintendent General of the Metropolitan Police Department differ from those for the Chief of the Prefectural Police headquarters because of the national importance of the metropolitan police.



2.2.2.2 - Police Stations, Police Boxes and Residential Police Boxes

The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department and Prefectural Police (Hereafter referred as "Prefectural Police") divides its territory into districts, each of which is under the jurisdiction of a police station. The Chief of Police Station is responsible for policing the district and supervises the personnel of his station under the supervision of the Superintendent General of the Metropolitan Police Department or the Chief of the Prefectural Police headquarters. As a first-line operational unit of the Prefectural Police, a police station performs the most vital role in the execution of police duties which are closely related to the lives of local inhabitants.

Each police station has police boxes and residential police boxes as its subordinate organizations. Patrol officers are assigned for the police boxes and residential police boxes. They are in charge of the sub-divisions into which the district under the jurisdiction of a police station is segmented, and they also perform the role of contact point between the public and the police.



2.2.2.3 - Mutual Relations Between Prefectural Police Forces

As a basic rule, each Prefectural Police executes its duties within its own prefecture boundary. However, for the efficient execution of duties, the Prefectural Police is allowed to exercise its authority beyond its territorial jurisdiction whenever it is justified by the necessity to do so in suppressing and investigating criminal acts, arresting suspects and performing other duties. Hence, Prefectural Police is authorized to carry out, outside its territory, the investigation of a crime which is related to a crime perpetrated within its territory, and also is related to a suspect arrested within its territory for possible involvement in other crimes.

The Prefectural Police is also authorized to extend its authority into the territory of a neighboring Prefectural Police in handling a case that occurs in an area near the prefectural boundary, in accordance with an agreement reached in advance through mutual consultation.

In addition, with respect to a large-scale incident which is difficult for a Prefectural Police to deal with single-handedly, the Public Safety Commission of the prefecture can solicit assistance from the NPA or other Prefectural Police by informing the NPA of the case in advance. Investigators thus dispatched from the NPA or other Prefectural Police can exercise their power within the territory of the Prefectural Police in question, under supervision of the Prefectural Public Safety Commission which has requested the assistance.



3 - ROLE OF POLICE IN JAPAN

The duties of the police in Japan are stipulated by the Police Law as "protecting the life, person and property of an individual citizen, preventing, suppressing and investigating crimes, controlling traffic and also maintaining public safety and order". In order to carry out these duties, police engage in various activities. The main subject of the police duties is the control of crimes. In addition, the police attend to a wide range of administrative duties to maintain public peace and order.

With regard to the control of crimes, the Code of Criminal Procedure provides that "when a judicial police officer deems that an offense has been committed, he shall investigate the offender and evidence thereof". This gives police officers the authority to investigate all kinds of offenses, including those affecting public peace and order. Hence, the police are empowered to crack down on all violations punishable under all laws as well as to investigate criminal offenses.

Usually, a case investigated by the police is handed over to the public prosecutors' office, and public prosecutors decided whether to prosecute or not.The right of investigation is held also by public prosecutors, just like the police. In actual practice, however, prosecutors basically confine their activities to sustaining prosecution and conduct only supplementary investigations.

As for other authorities with investigative powers, Article 190 of the Code of Criminal Procedure provides that "officials who should perform duties as judicial police officers to investigate special cases and the scope of their activities is provided by separate laws." Such judicial police officials are Maritime Safety officers and the narcotics control officers. However, the number of special cases as provided by law is extremely small.
In addition to the control of crimes, the police perform many other duties to maintain public peace and order. The following are principal administrative responsibilities which the police fulfill under related laws:

- Under the Road Traffic Law 

The police perform administrative functions covering the entire spectrum of matters relating to road traffic, such as issuing drivers' licenses, dealing with administrative punishment of cancelling the license of vicious traffic offenders, regulating traffic by setting up road signs and traffic signals, issuing permits for the use of roads such as for parades, conducting traffic education and supervising driving schools.

- Under the Law to Control Businesses Affecting Public Morals and to Regulate Their Business 

In addition to issuing business licenses to entertainment establishments, including bars and night clubs, the police receive reports of opening of establishments like strip-show theaters, and conduct on-the-spot inspection to supervise these businesses which might affect public morals. Besides cracking down on illegal acts in these businesses, the police are empowered to take punitive action, including suspending the business of offenders.

- Under the Private Security Business Law 

The police authorize security campanies that provide protective services by using guards and security facilities, extend guidance to the training and management of their guards and other personnel, and supervise them through on-the-spot inspection and other measures.In case these companies found to have violated the law, the police can order suspension of their business.

- Under the Law Controlling Possession of Firearms and Swords 

By this law, the possession of firearms and swords is generally prohibited in Japan. Private possession of firearms and swords are strictly controlled under license issued by the Prefectural Public Safety Commission. The police also oversee the safekeeping of firearms by means such as on-the-spot inspection, and, in case it deemed necessary, take such actions as revoking the license. Banning the possession of firearms and swords by this law, is said to be one of the main reason that Japan is highly praised by many foreign countries as a "wellpoliced country."

- Under the Pawnbroking Business Law and the Antique Dealings Law 

The police license to pawnbrokers, and oversee their business operations, including the keeping of accounts. The police can make on-the-spot inspection of pawnshops, and when the violation is found, may order suspension of business or cancel their business license.  The police also control second-hand goods dealers in a similar way.In addition, the police are engaged in a wide variety of activities which are closely connected with the everyday life of community residents, such as preventing crimes, giving protection and guidance to juveniles, protection of lost children and runaways from home, and offering various consulting services.



4 - POLICE PERSONNEL AUTHORIZED STRENGTH

The personnel of the NPA and the Prefectural Police forces is composed of police officers, members of the Imperial Guard, and civilian employees such as clerical workers and technical engineers. All these personnel work as one body to perform police duties.

The total authorized strength of police personnel as of 1989 is about 257,000. At present, the NPA has a strength of approximately 7,600, comprising about 1,200 police officers, about 900 Imperial Guards and 5,500 civilian personnel. The 47 Prefectural Police forces have a total strength of approximately 250,000, of which 220,000 are police officers and 30,000 are civilian personnel.

There are about 4,100 female police officers throughout the country, and they are performing police duties together with their male counterparts. In addition, there are about 12,000 women civilian personnel, of whom about 2,900 are traffic guidance personnel engaged in traffic control and juvenile guidance personnel engaged in on-the-street guidance of juveniles. Their duties correspond to those of police officers. 

On the basis of the present authorized nation-wide police strength, the ratio of police to population is one police officer to about 555 citizens. The burden is considerably heavy as compared with that of Western countries.



4.1 - RANK

Police officers are divided into nine ranks, namely, Keishi-sokan (Superintendent General of the Tokyo Metropolitan Poliece Department), Keishi-kan (Superintendent Supervisor), Keishi-cho (Chief Superintendent), Keishi-sei (Senior Superintendent), Keishi (Superintendent), Keibu (Police Inspector), Keibu-ho (Assistant Police Inspector), Junsa-bucho (Police Sergeant) and Junsa (Policeman). The Commissioner-General of the NPA also has the status of a police officer and functionally holds the highest position in the Japanese police forces but he does not have a police rank. Keishi-sokan is the term for the highest rank of police officer, and also the title of the head of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department.

In addition to the ranks mentioned above, there is the position of Junsa-cho (Senior Policeman). This position is awarded to policemen in the rank of Junsa (Policeman) who has a wealth of working experiences and whose performance of duties is very good. This is not a rank provided by law. The policemen awarded the position of Junsa-cho are assigned to the task of giving on-the-job training to their subordinares and of coordinating actual police duties. Senior police officers of and above the rank of Senior Superintendent are designated as national public service personnel, even if they belong to Prefectural Police forces. As national public service personnel, those Prefectural Police officers are in a position to coordinate Prefectural police duties which has national aspects, this makes Prefectural Police personnel available for national police duties.



4.2 - PROMOTION AND PAY

The method of the promotion of police officer differs according to the rank. As a rule, the promotion to the ranks up to Keibu (Police Inspector) is determined by examinations. However, there is also the promotion based on recommendation for those officers who have special skills, a wealth of knowledge and experiences of specific duties, or a long record of good performance and service.

The promotion of police officers to ranks above Keishi (Superintendent) is, as a rule, by recommendation on the basis of evaluation of their ability to carry out their duties, their experiences and their record of service.

The pay of police officers, same as the other public service personnel, consists of a monthly salary and various allowances. Considering the nature of duties, a special pay scale is set up for police officers which is about 10% higher than that of ordinary national public service personnel.

As for allowances, the family and commuting allowances are the same as those of other public service personnel, also additional allowances are paid for such duties as criminal investigation, traffic control and patrol car driving, these duties are considered to be extremely dangerous, unpleasant and detrimental to health.