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Luxury car donated to east Japan police becomes country's first Lexus patrol vehicle

The Lexus LC donated to Tochigi Prefectural Police is seen outside the Tochigi Prefectural Government headquarters in Utsunomiya on Sept. 18, 2020. (Mainichi/Kodai Tamai)

UTSUNOMIYA -- A luxury Lexus LC car has been donated to Tochigi Prefectural Police in eastern Japan, where it will be used as a patrol car to help curb traffic accidents. Prefectural police say it is the first time that a Lexus has been used as a law enforcement patrol car.

    The car, produced by Toyota Motor Corp., was donated by Kazuo Nakamura, a company executive from the prefectural city of Tochigi. He first approached police about it in July 2019, telling them, "I'd like you to make use of this in preventing traffic accidents." The vehicle is the second high-spec car from Nakamura, after he also gave the force a GT-R, a Nissan Motor Corp. sports car.

    At the unveiling ceremony in front of the Tochigi Prefectural Government headquarters, Tochigi Gov. Tomikazu Fukuda received a replica set of car keys, and prefectural police chief Yoshihisa Harada presented Nakamura with a certificate of thanks. Harada said at the event, "By making the most of the vehicle's superior mobility, which makes it possible to accelerate and decelerate the vehicle smoothly, we wish to use it to strengthen our anti-crime activities including stopping vehicles on the streets."

    The vehicle has been assigned to the police force's Mobile Traffic Unit, and will reportedly have uses including being deployed to stop vehicles and engage in a number of promotional activities. The force's head, Hironori Yoshikawa, said, "All of us on the Mobile Traffic Unit feel a renewed sense of responsibility. While also making the most of the attention that comes with this being reportedly the first of its kind in the country, we wish to use the vehicle fully for traffic safety measures."

    The Lexus LC patrol car is expected to leave the prefectural police's Utsunomiya mobile center on the morning of Sept. 23, and will do a circuit of the Utsunomiya Ring Road as part of its debut in the Miya police joint patrols initiative.

    (Japanese original by Kodai Tamai, Utsunomiya Bureau)

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