Sure, there definitely is political underpinnings within Japanese culture, and I’m sure that right wing extremism in the country has done a lot to skew perceptions of the police.
But I guess I’m thinking more of how the police in America is associated with the gun. American policing is presented as more as a gamble with your life here, where a wrong move, the wrong word, or the wrong skin tone can end your life because our gun culture and drug culture has created a violent police culture to respond to it. I feel the antagonism for the American institutions of police are completely justified framed within the history of the atrocities they have participated in.
But the fact of the matter is, the police in Japan don’t carry guns. A lot of cops in other countries do not carry guns. They take away that force amplifier, and in a way, I can see how a culture doesn’t feel as antagonistic to that institution because the police in their view is not a gamble with your life, but rather a reaction to your dissatisfaction. Despite the politics of these nations, I feel like there is still a respect given to police as civil servants, as institutions that they are SUPPOSED to be.
The imagery of riot police is disturbing, but I often wonder how police should respond to rioting within these spaces? The police are supposed to quell unrest no matter the politics of the government that is being opposed, so is that image of the police forever tarnished? I feel like saying, “Let the rioters riot.” Goes down a path of Libertarianism, which I don’t like. I guess it comes down to the fact that the image of the riot cop has been adapted from American responses to our riots. Other countries learn our response, and then apply that to their own unrest.
Mind you, I’m not speculating on the morality of the rioters or the politics of the hypothetical rioters. I’m just saying that do you all think riot police is an element of the institution that has no value?