Shokumu shitsumon stop uncovers incendiary device.

In Japan, there’s a police practice called “shokumu shitsumon,” which translates as “employment question.” Basically it’s an on-the-street stop and mini questioning, in which the officer will ask you your name, job, some form of ID, and also usually an explanation of what you’re doing in the area.

For law-abiding citizens who find themselves on the receiving end of the questions, like our frequently targeted reporter Mr. Sato, it can feel like a hassle. The ostensible point of the practice is that it allows  a police officer to use their intuition to approach and engage with someone who seems suspicious before any crime takes place, and those shokumu shitsumon-triggering suspicions turned out to be accurate on Monday night in Tokyo’s Minato Ward.

At around 9 p.m., officers stopped a man in his 20s on the street in front of the U.S. embassy. When asked for his profession, he said he was a college student from Osaka. The officers then noticed that he had a cup in his pocket, wrapped in a rag, and when they inspected it they found that it contained a granular substance, which the police believe is gunpowder.

Explosive substances aren’t easy to come by in Japan, what with the country’s strict gun control laws, but the man said he made the gunpowder himself. “I researched how to make gunpowder online,” he told the police. “I came here to throw it into the embassy.”

The man is now being investigated on suspicion of violating Japan’s Explosives Control Act, and it seems unlikely he’ll get off scot-free after openly admitting his intent to firebomb a building, especially given the heightened concerns about gunpowder-related crimes and arson following the murder of former prime minster Shinzo Abe last month with a homemade handgun and the Kyoto Animation studio attack in 2019.

Sources: Nitele News via Livedoor News via Jin, Jiji
Top image: Wikipedia/Rs1421
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