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3 men toting guns on shinkansen cause scare; turn out to be plain clothes police officers

On Monday morning, theNozomi 114 bullet trainwas making its regularly scheduled run from Hiroshima to Tokyo. Its route along the Sanyo/Tokkaido Shinkansen line provides views of some of Japans largest cities and, if the weather is clear, even Mt Fuji, but one passenger spotted something much more startling.
Smoking isnt allowed in the seating area on the shinkansen, so smoking rooms are set up between certain cars. The passenger noticedthree men in suits had congregated near one of the rooms, and that one of them had a handgun attached to his hip.
The passenger notified the train staff, who called in the report to Japans 110 police emergency line at roughly 9:20.When the train made its stop at Nagoya Station, officers from the Aichi Prefectural Police boarded the train and conducted a search, and sure enough, all three of the men were discovered to be carrying firearms.
Luckily, the three men had no ill intent, and even thoughgun ownership regulations in Japan are extremely strict,none of them are in trouble with the law, because it turns out that theyarethe law. The three men aremembers of the Osaka Prefectural Polices escort and security divisionand were en route to a training exercise in Tokyo.
Its extremely unusual to see or hear of not-in-uniform police officers carrying weapons in Japan, and the Aichi Prefectural Police say that this is the first case in record of plain clothes police officers being mistaken for criminals and reported for carrying guns. All three were found to be operating within the allowances of police regulations, however, and thus no disciplinary actions are pending.
That said, in a country where its rare to ever see anyone whos not a uniformed police officer or Self Defense Forces member carrying a firearm, its surprising that the officers didnt make their presence and status known to shinkansen operator Japan Railway, or at least to the crew of the train they were travelling on. Granted, as mentioned, they werent under any legal obligation to do so, but with the incident last summer in whicha Shinkansen passenger took out a knife and began slashing the people around him, leaving one person dead and two injured, still fresh in many peoples minds, a heads-up before they boarded the train while packing visible heat might have saved everyone a lot of trouble, not to mention fear.
Sources:Livedoor News/KyodoviaHachima Kiko,Asahi Shimbun Digital,The Sankei News,Sanspo
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