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Japanese Police Officers Keep Leaving Their Guns Behind in Restrooms

One accidentally left his handcuffs and nightstick too.
January 29, 2020, 8:35am
japan police leave gun
For illustrative purposes only. (L) A police officer in Japan. Photo by TheFreelens on Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0). (R) Toilet inside a restroom. Photo by buncheduptv on Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0). 

If you think clogging the toilet, getting tissue stuck on your shoe, or leaving your pants unzipped were embarrassing post-public bathroom scenarios, well it turns out there are far worse things that could happen.

On Friday, January 24, a 26-year-old police officer left his belt that included handcuffs, a loaded handgun, a nightstick, and five live ammunition in Narita Airport Police’s employee restroom, Chibbanipo reported. Fortunately, it was recovered by another employee within 5 minutes and there was no evidence of unauthorized use. The officer explained that he had simply forgotten his belt, but the airport police assured the public that they would take steps to prevent this from happening again.

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Because apparently, it happens a lot.

This was just the latest incident of police officers leaving their firearms in bathroom stalls.

On January 17, a 31-year-old officer left his belt with a loaded pistol in the restroom of a 7-Eleven in Okazaki, Aichi Prefecture, SoraNews24 reported. The gun was found by a customer who then gave it to the convenience store staff. The officer returned about 25 minutes later to retrieve his weapon. The Aichi Prefectural Police soon issued an apology for “giving the people of this prefecture cause for anxiety.”

About a month before that, on December 16, a 49-year-old lieutenant with the Machida Department of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police, left a gun with five rounds inside a convenience store restroom, Japan Today reported. It was discovered by a customer about five minutes after the officer left. A store employee then called the police to inform them of the incident. The gun was soon returned to police custody.

According to police, the officer, who is an assistant inspector with the fraud division, was in plainclothes at the time. Part of his duties was to patrol convenience stores to make sure elderly people weren’t using ATMs to withdraw money for con artists pretending to be their relatives. Police said the officer had completely forgotten about the gun when he left the convenience store.

Months before that, on September 29, a sergeant left her belt, complete with handcuffs and a loaded handgun, in a public restroom in Aioi Station in Aioi City, Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan Today reported. An hour and a half later, the weapon was found unused by a commuter who returned it to the station. According to the Hyogo Prefectural Police, the incident led them to discover that the officer was engaged in the sex work industry. The officer resigned soon after.

Fortunately, no one has been hurt by these incidents and none of the firearms left behind have been stolen or used. However, they have left some residents either anxious or scratching their heads.

Some police officers have come forward to explain their side, saying that the main reason for removing their police belts is because “they are so heavy, they would drag the pants down to the floor with it.”

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