Crime Prevention

To have a safe environment for everyone and in turn make the society safer, everyone is required to obey the rules and regulations set forward by the competent governing authorities. Failing to abide by the rules may result in being fined/penalized and/or prosecuted (including possible deportation) depending on the severity of the offence caused. Though a dedicated webpage on crime prevention related information is available on Saitama Prefecture’s website at: https://is.gd/PPuY6U and Saitama Prefectural Police lists various information on crime prevention at: https://is.gd/7oB0SJ, few important information are provided here. For details, see the above websites.


Emergency phone numbers

Police                                  110

Ambulance                          119

Fire department                   119

All mentioned emergency phone numbers are available 24 hours a day and can be accessed anywhere from within Japan. 


Drug and Alcohol

Abuse of drug is strictly prohibited and is illegal in Japan. Drug possession as well as drug use are criminal offences punishable by law and may lead to deportation. Please refrain from such substances. 

The legal age of drinking alcohol (and smoking) in Japan is 20 and it is strictly prohibited to drink and drive under the influence of alcohol. Penalty for DUI (driving under the influence) is severe with possibility of imprisonment. Additionally, heavy penalties for DUI exits even for any passengers riding along the intoxicated driver. If you have been drinking, please do not drive. Similarly, do not let others who have been consuming alcohol to drive.


Harassments

Harassment (sexual, academic, power, etc.) is a serious offense. Treat yourself and other with respect. A guidebook that details harassment prevention measure is available on the website of Saitama University at: https://is.gd/bWGSXc. Moreover, seek help without any hesitation if you believe that you are a victim of such harassment(s).


Shoplifting

Like in other countries around the globe, shoplifting is a crime in Japan, punishable by law.


Bank transfer scams

Bank transfer scams are growing all over the world, including Japan. In most of the cases, victims receive a phone call and/or a message (email, SMS, etc.) from someone pretending to be a family member, friend, colleague, city office employee, lawyer, embassy/consulate employee, tax official, etc. The impersonating individual(s) ask the victim to transfer funds to the designated bank account(s) or send cash through parcel delivery or postal services. In some instances, the impersonating person may ask for personal details of the victim which can be later used against the victim. If you receive such suspicious phone calls or message correspondence, seek to confirm the identity of the personal calling or communicating with you before acting on the transfer or providing any information.


Traffic accidents

  • If you are involved in a traffic accident, call 119 for an ambulance. 
  • Even though the damage may look insignificant, call 110 to notify the police.
  • Note the names and details of individual involved in the accident including their address, phone number, age, driver’s license number, license plate number, insurance company, the kind of insurance they have, etc.
  • Ask for the name, address, and phone number of any witnesses of the accident.
  • Even if there is no external injury caused due to an accident, be sure to get a medical examination as aftereffects may appear later.

Use of bicycles

Bicycles are a popular mode of transportation in Japan and many international students use bicycles daily. Either buying a new bicycle or a second-hand bicycle from any store (or a person), bicycle registration (jitensha bohan toroku) is required by the law. A small fee needs to be paid for bicycle registration and the registration can be done at the same shop where you buy the bicycle. If you are purchasing a bicycle from someone, be sure to obtain the registration certificate and the warranty certificate from the former owner and change the registered name prior using the bicycle. It is against the law if you are using bicycle without a proper paperwork.

When using a bicycle, adhere to the following rules and regulations:

  • park your bicycle only in the designated areas and always use locks. Avoid parking on sidewalks as this creates a significant inconvenience to the users of sidewalks. Additionally, bicycles parked in bicycle prohibited areas such as in front of a railway station will be removed by the city. If you parked your bicycle in the prohibited areas and you could not find it, check the nearby bulletin board before assuming it was stolen. Bicycles removed by city can be reclaimed by paying a fee. Additionally, in terms of parking, please note that for parking your bicycle in the university campus, you need to apply for a bicycle permit. Application form for the bicycle permit can be found here: https://is.gd/0pimw5 (available only in Japanese!).   
  • obey all the traffic sign and signals. Be sure to stop at stop sign (ζ­’γΎγ‚Œ (tomare)).    
  • have proper light when cycling at evening/night.    
  • unlike for vehicles, right turn at interactions is not allowed for bicycles.   
  • ride the bicycle on the left side of the street. Often it is permissible to ride on sidewalks if there is a bicycle riding sign (jitensha-hodo-tsukoka). If you are using the sidewalk to ride your bicycle, ride with care so as not to cause nuisance to pedestrians and/or any accident. If you are in a crowded area, dismount from the bicycle and push the bicycle instead.
  • riding under the influence of alcohol is prohibited by law.
  • carrying passengers, i.e., riding double, is not allowed, and so is riding bicycle in parallel with another cyclist.
  • do not talk over phone (either using phone unit, headphone, or wearables) and do not use headset, headphone, or a smart system to listen music while riding.
  • do not use an umbrella while riding.
  • children are required to wear helmets.
  • If your bicycle is stolen, you should report the incident to the police along with your bicycle registration receipt.

Please note that a bicyclist is liable to pay for injuries and property damages in accidents that they have caused. Further details concerning rules and regulations pertaining to bicycle riding can be found here: https://is.gd/0T6E3e and here: https://is.gd/Gg7jZp. Details related to bicycle insurance is covered under ‘Bicycle insurance’.

Finally, note that police officers may stop you on the street for confirming that the bicycle you are riding is yours or if they see that you are violating rules (such as double riding, talking on phone, listening to music, etc.). If they find you violating rules, you may even be arrested and brought to the police station.


Lost or stolen items

  • In an event of theft or burglary, call 110.
  • If you lose your wallet and/or purse containing important documents and cards such as credit card, ATM card, your residence card, etc., immediately file a report with the police. In addition, contact the card issuing companies (for ATM and credit cards) to prevent any unauthorized use.