Ken Okazaki Blogging is serious business


Japan is the Coolest Country Evah!

Japanese Police

The other day I got a call from an unknown contact. I ignored the call two times but the third time told me that it could be urgent.

"Hello, this is the Tokyo Police Department and we would like to ask you a few questions … please."

I immediately regretted taking the call.

"Were you driving a Toyota minivan two years ago on such and such a date at said intersection?"

How am I supposed to remember THAT? I told them I'm not sure.

"Well, we have records of a traffic violation involving you."

I remembered getting stopped for an illegal turn. I clenched my buttocks.

"OK, so you ticketed me, what's this call about?"

"We've been reviewing our past cases and although it seems you did commit an offense, the officer on duty did not file the paperwork properly."


"Well, it turns out that we have to pardon you for the infraction"

"Thank you, but it's been two years. What difference does it make now?"

"We would like to know which bank account to refund the fine of ¥7,000 to."

"OK … here's my info, and … um … thank you officer … have a great day!"

Not what I was expecting at all! I don't know if any other country in the world would do this. Has anyone had a similar experience?

My day was starting to look up. A few days later I got another call from the police asking me to meet them at the police station. It turns out they wanted to apologize in person for their mistake (of my NOT having to pay for my traffic offense!) and also swap my driver's license to to GOLD status.

The whole time I was there I was half expecting a bunch of cameramen to jump out from behind a desk and find out that it was one big prank. I even asked the officers (after getting my new license) if this was a joke. They didn't think it was funny.

In Japan a gold license means that you are a stellar driver and in the case of a traffic accident dispute, your word carries more weight because of your impeccable record.

So, I got my fine refunded, and driver's license swapped for Gold status, and policemen bowing to me in apology. Probably should have also gotten a photo of them bowing to me. Not bad!

I also saved the phone number to the police station in case they call again to give me more goodies!

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