A Local Perspective on Life in Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan.

Watch Where you Park!

If you didn’t know, there was a major change in the Road Traffic Law last year, and the surveillance agents from the designated private companies can now ticket you for parking in a non-parking zone. Many major cities have introduced this new system called 駐車監視員制度 (chuusha kanshi-in seido), but Tsukuba hasn’t done that… until yesterday.

According to the surveillance guideline by the Tsukuba Chuo Police Station, the surveillance agents check for illegally parked vehicles between 10am and 2am, and the entire “city-part” of Tsukuba City is under surveillance as you can see on the map.

Most heavily monitored areas are:
the Tsukuba Station area, Azuma 1, 2 and 3-chome, Amakubo 1-chome and its surrounding areas.

Other heavily monitored areas are:
Amakubo1 and 2-chome, Kasuga 1-chome, Azuma 1, 2, 3 and 4-chome, Hanamuro, Higashiarai, Takezono 1, 2 and 3-chome, Sengen 1and 2-chome, Ninomiya 1 and 2-chome and their surrounding areas, Techopark Sakura area, Sakura 1 and 2-chome and their surrounding areas, Amakubo 3-chome, Kasuga 4-chome, Higashi Hiratsuka and its surrounding area, Inarimae, Higashi 2-chome, Umezono 2-chome, Kurakake, Namiki 2, 3 and 4-chome, Sasagi, Shimohirooka and its surrounding area.

The surveillance agents will always work in pairs. They will carefully assess each parking violation by taking measurements and photographs before they issue a ticket, which is different from the tickets that the police issue, but don’t take that lightly. Fines are 9,000yen to 25,000yen, and you won’t be able to take 車検(shaken) if you don’t pay the fine. Furthermore, the repeated violators who fall behind in their fines may have their property seized or may receive the order of car usage restriction.

The surveillance agents are treated as civil officials while they are on the job, so anyone who tries to argue with those agents in an aggravated manner could be arrested for interfering with civil officers in the act of duty.

I think this system will drastically reduce the illegal parking in the Tsukuba Center area (and in my neighborhood!), so I think this is a good news even though most people don’t like to see those surveillance agents in their neighborhood.

Sankei Web (July 03 article)
Surveillance Guideline(pdf) from the Ibaraki Prefectural Police website