Annapolis/south County Davidson * Edgewater * Shady Side * Deale

October 15, 1992

Japanese police find similarities with U.S.

The four Japanese police officers who came to Maryland to learn more about American police techniques weren't in uniform, but they were right at home at the Annapolis Police Department.

They patrolled the city's historic streets with their American counterparts, swapped crime stories and commiserated over paperwork.

Akihito Ohba, a 39-year-old police inspector, Takanobu Satoh and Yazunobu Yoshida, both 34-year-old sergeants, and Shinobu Nakazawa, a 31-year-old sergeant, work in Yokohama, Maryland's sister state in Japan.

They spent the first week with the Maryland State Police, the second week in Baltimore and now are in Annapolis.

"The purpose is to get an overview of a state department, a large city police force and a small one," said Annapolis Police Lt. Bob Emory.

Mr. Nakazawa said they've found a few differences, but the major crime problems are the same in America and Japan -- drugs, theft, car accidents and homicides.

American police get more respect than the Japanese do, and they make more money -- five times as much -- the Japanese officers pointed out.

But they were surprised by the racial divisiveness they've found and the widespread gun violence. Japan has strict gun-control laws, which they said has curtailed the homicide rates and accidental shootings.

They are returning to Japan with some suggestions based on what they saw in Maryland. They felt the American police system was "more professional" and liked the larger departments, which are more than 10 times the size of the tiny stations of 10 officers in Japan.

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