Masamitsu Miura, 58, who has been newly appointed as the 95th superintendent-general of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department (TMPD), cannot get one case out of his mind. A woman’s body was found in a wooded area adjacent to a residential district when he was working in the first investigation division of the TMPD in his fifth year in the National Police Agency (NPA). Due to a staff shortage, investigators had to work around the clock to question people in the area. Before long, residents began praising the detectives, saying, “They’re working all the time.”
The residents gradually became supportive of the investigation, and the information provided by them led to the resolution of the case, which was expected to be problematic.
Miura underscores: “We don’t make police officers work that hard nowadays. But what is important at all times is whether or not police can show that they’re ‘serious.’ The people are watching carefully.”
After joining the NPA, Miura served in major posts including personnel division chief, chief inspector general, and director-general of the Secretariat. In 1999, when public confidence in the police was undermined by a series of scandals brought to light across the nation, he worked on reforming the police as senior planning officer of the personnel division. While working hard day after day, he watched his former colleagues leaving the organization to take responsibility.
Miura says: “Some of them were promising young officers and others were my senior colleagues who helped me a lot. Individuals have to take responsibility, but there was also a problem with the organization. I think we should remember those days.”
The people who are close to Miura say he is “down-to-earth,” “cool-headed,” and “unwavering.” One of Miura’s former subordinates says, “Many bureaucrats say they can accept decisions that are made by Miura.”
He chose to pursue a career in police work because he wanted to do a job that allowed him to directly contribute to society, and he still feels the same way. He is determined to lead the 46,000-member strong police department in defending the safety of the Japanese capital.