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Jail and deportation information: first hand experience

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  • Jail and deportation information: first hand experience

    Im writing this thread to inform others of the detention and immigration procedures in Japan, all based from first hand experience.

    I was arrested on the night of November 15th 2010 for a fight I was involved in. It was a matter of self-defense but that didnt matter one bit to the cops anyway. If you are a foreigner in Japan, you go to jail...thats it. I was charged with "shougai" or inflicting bodily injury...meaning if you make someone bleed...its bodily injury. It was not a serious injury, but the "victim" in this case was trying to extort over a 1 million yen from me to drop the charges...I said "F-You" through my lawyer and was formally indicted on December 6th. If I paid the money, I would have been a free man, but being screwed like that for a situation which I was defending myself was beyond acceptable. Since the victim wanted me sent to prison (because I refused to apologize and pay big cash), the prosecutor didnt recommend a fine and release, so he had my court date set after my visa expired, so I would be deported.

    I was held at the Kohoku Police Station (near Shin-Yokohama station) which is brand new. I had a room by myself measuring 5 meters by 3 meters with an enclosed toilet with an automatic light sensor. The food was skimpy, but snacks were available for purchase (you could make special requests for magazines purchases..like porno, manga etc.)...everybody complained of hunger...the jail food was mostly rotten. Yes, the cops use rope around your waist to tie you to chairs during questioning or escorting you within the police station.

    In my case, all the money/clothes I was wearing at the time of the incident was confiscated for the first 21 days for the investigation period...so I wasnt able to purchase any snacks or wear my own clothes. If you are arrested, you need to have your friends bring up clothes, a small towel and cash, as well as english reading material to get you by. In jail we were let out for about 10-15 minutes around 7am to return the futon to the closet, wash/brush our teeth/remove stuff from our locker and head back in the cell. Breakfast 7:30am...around 9am is exercise/smoke time which lasts 20 minutes on the weekdays, no exercise or smokes on the weekends/holidays. Lunch at 12 noon and dinner at 5pm....we got 2 hours of FM Yokohama a day...one hour for lunch and one hour for dinner. 7pm we got our futons and washed/brushed our teeth for 10-15 minutes. Between 7am and 7pm we were allowed 3 books, personal letters, extra clothing, stationery (extra personal items are stored in your locker) and two blankets....no beds, no desks. no chairs....sit or lie down was all we could do. 9pm was lights out. I was in jail for almost 10 weeks. On a weekday, with wash time and exercise...you were out of your cell at most 50 minutes a day...the rest you were locked up. The treatment by the cops was positive to myself and other detainees...whether they were foreign or japanese. We could shower once every 5 days and laundry day was once a week. Those charged with serious offenses (murder, rape) or convicted and sentenced to a term of imprisonment were sent to Konnan Chuo Detention Center, which I heard from others who have been there, it was a total hell hole...single rooms measuring 2 meters by 1.3 meters at near 24 hours a day.

    About a week ago, I went to court and received a 1 year suspended sentence, BUT my visa expired 10 days prior to my sentencing and I was ordered deported. I asked the immigration officers when I could come back to Japan, and they told me, "after one year, you can return"...that was fine, because I was going to leave Japan for a couple years anyway or maybe longer.

    I was sent to Kanazawa Immigration Detention Center in Yokohama. Immigration facilities are a BIG step up from jail...we could wear watches, carry cash and keep alot of personal property in our drawer in our rooms. At Kanazawa we had beds, chairs and tables in each room, TVs in each room from 7am to 9pm daily, daily showers and daily laundry facilities (washer and dryers) and daily access to telephones, a bigger menu of snacks to purchase and 5 hours of free-time to roam the halls, day room and outdoor recreation room....weekends and holidays, its just 2.5 hours of free time. The immigration facility segregates smokers from non-smokers...so there is a smokers wing and a non-smokers wing..and you will never met each other. I was at Kanazawa for 5 days before flying back home...if you have money you can leave quickly. If you dont have money and cannot get anybody to send you money (thats the reasons for the telephones, which use 1,000yen phone cards), then you stay. Immigration policy is, you are allowed to stay at immigration for 60 days and then they ship you to prison in Ibaraki or Tochigi for 4 months and deport you at the Japanese taxpayers expense OR if you want to fight deportation proceedings, the very same rules apply. Quite a few people in Kanazawa were close to the 60 day limit and were set to depart to prison for fighting their deportation order. The foreigners in immigration were primarily Chinese and Filipinos. The place wasnt crowded, we had at most a dozen people in the non-smokers wing with a 60 bed maximum per wing. Most of them were rounded up by undercover sting operations and sent to immigration...some of them told me of being snatched early in the morning in their apartments...such as immigration cops busting a window to get inside or breaking down a door, they didnt know how immigration knew where to find them...one guy was nabbed at an internet cafe. When I was being processed into Kanazawa Immigration center the undercover immigration cops brought a van full of chinese in. The undercover immigration cops were in their early-to mid-20s. Immigration officers treated everyone respectfully and with polite dignity...which I wasnt expecting.

    If you are caught by the cops, you stay at the police station for 10 days and then sent to immigration after a court hearing. The funny thing about immigration is...nobody working for immigration speaks another language, if you cant speak japanese...then it can be a hassle. Another note, if you are caught by immigration they will accompany you back to your residence to pack a suitcase or two..but if you are arrested by the cops...they will not allow you to return to your residence for any property. If you are arrested by the cops, then only your friends, family and lawyer can bring your property to you. The cops will keep your property until you are released or sent to prison. Hope this information helps anybody facing this situation.

  • #2
    Wow, crazy story. Very interesting. Crappy that they can keep you beyond your visa then deport you for having no visa. Sorry to hear that this happened to you, but thanks for the information.

    Just goes to show, it's best not to fight in Japan. If you get punched, don't punch back (and if you don't punch back, you can sue I believe).

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    • #3
      Years back I had a friend who seemed to disappear one day. After I couldn`t contact him by phone I went to his apartment but still no answer. He was just gone. Then about three months later out of the blue I get a call and the story was he`d been arrested and held for some 10 weeks in a Tokyo detention center. Apparently he pushed (assaulted?) a J-woman who wanted to use a pay phone he was using at the time of his arrest. She got the cops and when they arrived out popped one of the dodgy telephone cards he was using (remember those?)

      Anyway he ended up doing almost 3-months and losing 20 pounds before getting out and deported.
      Last edited by Ken44; 2011-01-31, 02:57 PM.

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      • #4
        Most of them were rounded up by undercover sting operations and sent to immigration...some of them told me of being snatched early in the morning in their apartments...such as immigration cops busting a window to get inside or breaking down a door, they didnt know how immigration knew where to find them...one guy was nabbed at an internet cafe.

        They know where most of the illegals, such as Filipinos and Chinese live. Filipinos have written similar tales of being suddenly found. Whether it is their illegal employer not paying any more kuchitomeikin or hush money, or someone with a grudge, who knows? A known way is for the employer to grass on their own illegals when they come up towards the end of their contract, so he or she avoids paying them bonuses or contract completion money.

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        • #5
          To the OP -- you still sound adamant that there was no way you'd pay pay any 'extortion' money. However, if you had the opportunity to do things over again, and knowing what you know now ... what would you do differently? This includes getting a better lawyer if you felt the one you had was incompetent. Also, would it have helped for you to have claimed a serious but difficult to disprove injury from the fight like a neck injury?

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          • #6
            Also to the OP - Thanks for the story. I don't meant to derive entertainment from the suffering of others, but it was interesting to read a first-hand account.

            You seemed to imply at the beginning that you got sent to jail because you were foreign. Is there anything in particular you saw or heard in your situation that makes you say that? I've heard that Japanese cops often decide guilt in a fight by looking at who looks more hurt and assuming they're the victim.

            Also, it's not entirely clear from your story if you speak Japanese or not (though it sounds like you do.) Did you find your that your Japanese ability (or lack-thereof) had any bearing on deciding guilt, sentencing, treatment, etc?

            Anyway, you seem a bit chipper (or at least not bitter) about the whole thing, as if it didn't really bother you. Were you planning on leaving Japan before the incident, or was this the precipitating cause?

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            • #7
              Great story!

              Try kneeing your opponent in the happy sacks next time and you wont draw so much blood. Thats my trick when caught outnumbered. Swift kick to the love spuds is a life saver!

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Lucifer View Post
                It was a matter of self-defense but that didn't matter one bit to the cops anyway. If you are a foreigner in Japan, you go to jail...thats it. I was charged with "shougai" or inflicting bodily injury...meaning if you make someone bleed...its bodily injury. It was not a serious injury

                Interesting read, nice to see this posted here for us to learn from, even though it must have totally sucked for you. Was the guy you injured Japanese or also a foreigner? You said self defense....without naming names/places, could you describe what happened? (the incident, the cops showing up, etc.) Was the other guy arrested? Did you file charges against him?

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                • #9
                  Props to the OP for now bowing down and admitting to a crime he did not commit.

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                  • #10
                    gettind sued

                    Hi OP, im glad that someone has posted a thread like this. As i was nearly in the same situation as yourself. If you read my previous posts, maybe that will give you all some idea in the process. A quick break down, basically i was getting bullied at work. I was working at a school, and i had a hemroid (piles), which was very embrassing for me. I had a strong odour and i didn't know what was wrong with me. I finally told my wife, that i had a health problem. This was caused by stress and diet problems i had whilst being at the new school. I managed to build the courage in going to the chemist and getting cream for my poorly oshiri. Anyway, the staff at work were making comments and i noticed i had a problem. All the staff (gaijin) were teasing me and the ring leader who was giving me trouble, was making it worst. He was an american aged 35 and he acted like the "typical" school bully. I had problems at school with bullying as im half english and my mum is from Maurituis. I lived in a redneck town in England and racism was extreme through my school years. So, i had deep problems dealing with it.

                    Anyway, this idiot American teacher was causing me stress, saying i smelt and spreading rumours to both gaijin and japanese staff. I was really upset, and was at breaking point. So, oneday i travelled home on the bus with him and other staff members. He made jokes about my odour in front of the staff members. I felt so ashamed and was fueled with anger. So, i decided to take matters in my own hands. I approached him on a crowded bus, and asked him why he was doing this. He laughed in my face and acted like he didn't do anything. I stood up to him and wacked him twice with 2 nice punches to the face. Im not a violent type, but i had to protect myself. Im not saying hitting someone is a good thing, but bullies need to be put in their place. The other staff members were in shock, and we got off the bus. As i got off the bus, i said to him, " if you to take this further, lets finish this off in a carpark". Note, that this bully was bigger than me in terms if size. But i was not scared, and i could see a nice lump growing on the side of his cheek. Then he attempted to attack me, and i was claim and asking him "why?" did you bully me. He clearly stated that he never did anything and the other staff members were holding him back. As i walked off he shouts" you stink, your fat" and other nasties. I was still pumped, but i decided to walk away from the scene. 15 mins later, i was having a smoke, and started to walk to the train station. I saw this bully at the koban, as he was waiting outside. I was like " oh s**t" im done for, but, i wanted to sort it one way or another. My friend said no, dont go there, she guided me away form the police station and i was getting scared now. He went to the police , like a little girl " the boy who cried wolf" situation. Anyway, i ran throigh the station, hoping that my train was coming. I didnt want to get arrested straight away, so i mananged to get on the train. As i travelled home, i just realised what i had done. I rang my J wife and explained, she was so worried but also angry with me. I got home, and explained everything.

                    The next days, i rang the principal and terminated my contract. NOTE, my boss took the bully to a hospital. She wanted me to come to work and explain what had happened. Although she was upset with me, she wanted my side of the story. So, i told her everything and i found out that the bully got fired too. She said i may have to pay compo for his injuries.... I was like, ok, how much..... she said 100,000 i was in shock!!! I only punched him twice, but then she said, he may sue for more!!!! i was like " oh no".

                    Anyway, a few months later, i heard nothing, and i thought i got away with it. Till oneday a big enevople came through and i was like " oh no again". It was his lawyer, demanding 500,000 in a week. I never had cash, but my wife helped me, and this month i will have paid him off. My point is, that in Japan, this sueing bull crap, annoys me. Back in the UK, we have a fight and its all forgotten about. US brits have honour and sueing is not an option we take. Anyway, he was milking his medical reports with unecessary medical check ups and "loss of work " bulls ____ for a brusied cheek. I hate this crap, and im not ashamed for what i did, but i feel for people who get arrested in Japan. Its a tough one, but i got away with murder( 500,000) or deportation etc... I wanted to sue him for "stress in the workplace" but, as they were all in it, i had no chance. Justice was none, and i went to the BAR in tokyo for advice. I was lucky, but this sueing crap has to stop. If i was a bully and got wacked, id take it, as a lesson. But as this idiot, was using the "system" i had no option.

                    Japanese jails suck, but i was prepared to go there and do my time. Thanks to the op for posting this, i felt your stress bro, hope your ok now. Glad to see you stuck to your guns!!!

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                    • #11
                      I'm sorry to hear yout story, as bullying really does suck. But in your case it was not self-defense, it was legally an unprovoked assault, as you hit him without him hitting you. There is no justification for that in Japan.

                      300 - 500 thousand yen is the standard payment for that. Just be glad you didn't spend any time in jail while they sorted it out.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Effected After View Post
                        I'm sorry to hear yout story, as bullying really does suck. But in your case it was not self-defense, it was legally an unprovoked assault, as you hit him without him hitting you. There is no justification for that in Japan.

                        300 - 500 thousand yen is the standard payment for that. Just be glad you didn't spend any time in jail while they sorted it out.
                        I understand my actions were't the best. But morally, i felt i had to nip it in the bud. I feel too many bully victims get a bad deal if they "lash" out. But , yeah , i was lucky.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by impact501 View Post
                          I understand my actions were't the best. But morally, i felt i had to nip it in the bud. I feel too many bully victims get a bad deal if they "lash" out. But , yeah , i was lucky.
                          u didnt tell us about your BO the first time you told the story...

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Don Juan View Post
                            u didnt tell us about your BO the first time you told the story...
                            Hi Don Juan, i remember you posting comments when all this happened to me. Thanks for input, i make my final payment to him this month, then its all over thank god. Ive learnt my lesson, what do you mean by "BO", im confused?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Impact - If you had some sort of odor coming from you, you should have got checked out right away. (or at least used deodorant/body spray to cover it up?) Something like that can be pretty disgusting for those around you and it's wishful thinking that it would go unnoticed and/or without comment. Did you ever stop to think how you made the others feel?

                              That being said, if someone gives you that much crap about it after the fact, you should just have some confidence and own it. He called you out in front of everyone, just a simple reply like "Yeah, it was pretty bad, aren't you glad you've never have any health problems?" You could have even mentioned it to him privately and explained you were embarrassed about the condition and ask him to kindly refrain from making comments about it. Own it and it will take away his steam. Though not likely, if he continued on you afterward, he just looks like an a$$.

                              Punching him was the worst thing that you could have done. Now you both are out jobs, he took some blows, and now you're paying for them. Were those two punches worth losing your job and 500,000 yen over?

                              Comment

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