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Osaka police officers punished for camping amid Japan's 2nd coronavirus wave

Osaka Prefectural Police headquarters (Mainichi/Tsuyoshi Fujita)

OSAKA -- Eleven police officers in their 20s who went camping overnight in August 2020, while coronavirus infections were spreading, have been reprimanded, the Mainichi Shimbun has learned through a freedom-of-information request and inquiry to Osaka Prefectural Police.

    Prefectural police disclosed that 10 of the police officers, aged between 21 and 25, who belong to different police stations within the western Japan prefecture, were reprimanded by supervisors for taking part in the trip without permission, while one officer who gained permission to go received a verbal reprimand.

    The officers, who were police academy classmates, are said to have visited a camping site in the Kansai region, and stayed overnight in a bungalow in early August last year. They apparently had a barbecue and drank alcohol during their stay.

    A second wave of novel coronavirus infections was spreading in Japan around this time, and prefectural police had instructed officers to refrain from going out to areas with high infection risks. Although police officers must inform superiors about overnight stays away from their post, 10 of the young officers had apparently arranged to not notify their bosses as they thought they would be met with opposition.

    There were no infections arising from the gathering. Regarding the reason for the disciplinary action, the inspection office said, "They stayed out overnight without permission and drank for many hours in a large group in spite of the coronavirus crisis."

    According to Osaka Prefectural Police, a total of 15 police officers and staff were subjected to disciplinary measures in 2020. During the same year, there were a total of 181 cases of admonishments and reprimands -- punishments ranking below disciplinary action.

    (Japanese original by Taiji Mukohata, Osaka City News Department)

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