The SAGE Handbook of Modern Japanese Studies includes outstanding contributions from a diverse group of leading academics from across the globe. This volume is designed to serve as a major interdisciplinary reference work and a seminal text, both rigorous and accessible, to assist students and scholars in understanding one of the major nations of the world.

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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