“KOBAN,” the Japanese policing system spreading across the globe
Japan is known for its low crime rates, and one of the reasons for that is “Koban,” or neighborhood police outposts, which have been developed for many years in Japan.Originating in Japan, “Koban” have been internationally recognized as an effective policing system that is deep-rooted in the local communities.
Kabukicho Koban, Shinjuku Police Station
The “KOBAN” System
Police stations divide their precincts into beats, and a Koban is the operating base for police officers assigned to each beat.
As of November 1st, 2017, there are 826 Koban across Tokyo.
- Responding to incidents and accidents
- Giving directions
- Handling lost items
- Giving advice on security and other concerns
- Making door-to-door visits
History of “KOBAN”
“Kobanjo,” the predecessor of Koban, were set up when the Metropolitan Police Department was established in 1874.
Back then, there was no building for Kobanjo, which only referred to a point where police officers were supposed to stand watch in rotation while patrolling on foot from their police station.
Buildings were later constructed on those Kobanjo, which are now called “Koban.”
Koban in early Showa era
Koban in mid-Showa era
Operation of Model Koban with Foreign Language Assistance
Language Assistance Now Available at “Model Koban”
The MPD has designated two Koban, the Kabukicho Koban in Shinjuku and the Shibuya Ekimae Koban, as Model Koban, where there are always officer(s) with foreign language skills assigned for your assistance. In the event such officers are temporarily unavailable, a tablet computer equipped with translation software is furnished for communication with the police in English and other selected languages.
警視庁 地域総務課 地域対策係