Bike lovers watch out.
Your babies are in danger if left out on the streets. Jack G. Beasley
reports on bike theft in the "world' safest city."
When I first came to Japan some sixteen years ago, I was so happy to be living in the
"world's safest city." So what has happened in the last few years to tarnish
BIKERS TAKE WARNING: if you have a nice bike, Harley, Ducati, Japanese model or a 250cc
scooter, LOCK AND CHAIN IT UP!
There is a wave of bike theft going on in Tokyo and other large cities in
Japan, even in broad daylight. Someone wants your bike and is willing to go to any
extremes to get it. From personal experience, I almost had my Harley taken right from
under my nose one night. I was staying in Tokyo and had the bike parked on the street,
just outside my window, locked with a padlock. In the morning I found that it was pushed
back by some twenty meters, and had the padlock and frame lock holder scarred with the
attempts of a bolt cutter being applied to cut the lock off. I was fortunate as four other
bike owners on this block lost their bikes that night.
A friend of mine had his Harley parked outside his office window, and after working late
one night went down to hop on his mighty HOG, but it was gone. Another friend had two of
his bikes taken, one a Honda 1100 and the other a Yamaha 250 scooter. In all, the number
of bikes that friends of mine have lost in the past year totals thirteen. All were not
locked up. You don't have to have a high IQ to figure out that if you lock and chain your
bike up at night, or at least lock it up during the day, that you will be able to ride
home on it. (Don't use the little steering column lock as this is easy to break.) Enough
said about what to do to prevent theft.
There are tons of bike locks on the market today. If you have a Harley, visit your dealer
and he can help you out with some really neat, heavy-duty chains and locks, or go to Ueno
and check out the bike shops for a wide selection of locks for all types of bikes.
Harley Davidson Japan has issued a warning to their owners about this problem
and have a reasonable theft insurance program. There are a reported 240,000 bikes and
scooters stolen each year in Japan; oddly enough this number has not changed in the past
ten years and God knows how many other bikes have been put on ships for foreign ports
As far as the police are concerned, well, here are a few things owners of these bikes have
"The cops don't give a damn. They just smiled and said it is happening all the time
in that area, and my model was a prime target."
This guy had two stolen: "In one case my mechanic caught the kid, and we took him to
the cops and he said that someone outside a pachinko parlor gave it to him, and the cops
said, 'Well in that case there is nothing we can do.'"
This one is great! "I had my bike nicked from under my apartment. I
reported it the next day to the police, who were completely uninterested - I got the
feeling they view all bikers as bosozoku. A friend found it two weeks later out of gas
with a jimmied ignition outside my local supermarket some 250 meters away. I reported it
found to the police and had to fill out six forms so that if I got stopped riding my own
bike I wouldn't be arrested. The amazing thing was that I had to pinpoint the exact
position where it was found, which was less than 100 meters from the koban where I had
reported it stolen. The cops didn't even know the supermarket's name - so much for keeping
a finger on the local pulse!"
If you have had a bike stolen or want more information on the subject, you can go to a homepage dedicated to help stopping