Q Why are the Japanese police such gentlemen?

A Under the Meiji Constitution, the Japanese police was an administrative organ of the state under the control of the prewar Ministry of Home Affairs. All policemen were government officials of the state.

The current police law which was enacted in 1954 divided the police into two organizations: the National Police Agency under the state; and the Metropolitan Police Department in Tokyo and all the prefectures in addition to Hokkaido, Osaka and Kyoto.

The prefectural police as well as the police of Hokkaido, Osaka and Kyoto are responsible for police work concerning the inhabitants. The scope of the present police law limits police work to passive involvement such as to maintain social order and to prevent crime. The mandate held by the police and the authoritative power it had under the Meiji Constitution no longer exists. When the police exercise their rights, they are required to have the proper papers ready, except for arrests when warranted of people caught in the act of committing a crime. The police may on occasions fire a shot at a brutal crim-inal caught in the act of committing a crime, but they would later come under harsh scrutiny as to whether the shot fired was appropriate or not.

The police are not allowed to interfere in civil issues and as an occupation, they are subjected to the most stringent regulations in Japan. This is why the police are the most gentlemanly in Japan.