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Policing in Japan
Policing in Japan
David T. Johnson
Introduction

The essence of the police role is the general right to use coercive force within a state's domestic territory (Bittner, 1980; Klockars, 1985). For this reason it is sometimes said that police are to government as the edge is to a knife (Chevigny, 1995: vii). In Japan police may be the state's most powerful agency – and certainly one of the most powerful (Johnson, 2004c). One might suppose, therefore, that there must be much research about policing in Japan. But one would be wrong. Empirical research about Japanese police is surprisingly sparse, leaving students of the subject tempted to weave large swatches of narrative from little rags of data.

The point of departure for this survey of policing in contemporary Japan is the recognition of two basic truths: ...

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