Pajama-wearing, drink-driving policeman fired

In the post Policeman arrested for copping a feel, I told you about a Japanese police officer who groped a woman on a train. Today’s story is even better!

The Mainichi News reported that a police sergeant was fired for driving to work drunk. Here are the main parts of the story: 

Okayama Prefectural Police fired the 60-year-old officer on disciplinary grounds and sent an investigation report to prosecutors on Tuesday, accusing him of violating the Road Traffic Law.

The sergeant admitted to the allegations during questioning. “I drank only a small amount of alcohol, so I thought I’d be sober by the time I went to work,” he was quoted as telling investigators.

It also emerged that he was wearing pajamas, a jacket and sandals instead of a police uniform when he went to the police station. Moreover, he scratched his car against a guardrail while driving to work. 

That’s a classic! I mean, it’s terrible that a policeman could be so irresponsible, but at the same time… it’s hilarious!

Now, speaking of drink driving in Japan, there was another interesting report in the Mainichi News recently about how people caught for drink-driving have been avoiding paying heavy fines and jail time by refusing to take a breath test. Check this out:

About 300 such cases used to be reported a year until the Road Traffic Law was amended in 2002 to stiffen the penalties for drunken driving.

Under the revisions, those who are found to be driving while being heavily drunk face up to three years in prison or a fine of 500,000 yen and those accused of driving under the influence of alcohol can be punished with up to one-year imprisonment or a fine of not more than 300,000 yen.

However, a provision that stipulate drivers who refuse to undergo breath tests will be punished with not more than a fine of 50,000 yen remained unchanged.

Following the amendments, the number of cases where drivers refused alcohol tests sharply rose to 478 throughout 2002.

If any of you are living in Japan and thinking about taking advantage of this loophole, be aware that it has now been changed. Refusing to undergo an alcohol test will now cost you 300,000 yen (about $2,600), although you may be able to avoid the jail time.

Since we are on the topic of Japan clamping down on drink driving, do you think this next story is going too far?

Iwate Prefectural Police’s Miyako Police Station gave the crackdown wide publicity last month when it arrested a 36-year-old woman for drunken driving even though she’d only been on a pushbike.

While I can see how dangerous riding a bicycle can be if you’re drunk, what choices are we left with? Unlike pubs in the U.K, which are often walking distance from where people live, in Japan you probably have to travel a fair way to the local “drinking district”. If you can afford a taxi, that’s great, but the cab fare alone will probably cost you more than your drinks, and if you miss the last train, or live far from the nearest station, you’re stuck really, aren’t you? Sure you can drive and drink iced-tea all night, but it’s not quite as fun, is it? 

Personally, I tend to stay home and have a few beers. I’d much rather go out of course, but it’s just become too impractical.

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