This week, we cover the features of modern Japanese policing, from the friendly face of the koban police boxes to the harsh realities of Japan’s rules on interrogation.

Listen to the show here.


Tipton, Elise. The Japanese Police State.

Craig-Parker, L. The Japanese Police Today.

An English language overview of the Koban system by the National Police Agency of Japan.

A Guardian article on the story of Hakamada Iwao.


Perhaps nothing better indicates the importance of the police in Japan than the location of the National Police Agency HQ in Kasumigaseki, Tokyo. Mere blocks from the Imperial Palace, Kasumigaseki is home to Japan’s most powerful bureaucracies — and the NPA is right there with them.

A big city Koban in downtown Shizuoka city.

A Meiji era Koban (no longer in service) in Tokyo’s Sudo-cho.

The Censorship Bureau of the Special Higher Police.

Hakamada Iwao at the time of his arrest.

Hakamada Iwao at the time of his release.