The start of July saw a huge increase in police officers in the stations in and around Tokyo which I think was because of the G8 Summit meeting way up north (on a different island in fact!) in Hokkaido between the 2nd and 9th of July. I was mildy amused when I read on the BBC News site that these officers in full riot gear had nothing more to do than tell journalists to wait for the green man at crossing.
Although Japan has had some high-profile bad news stories recently it is generally still safer than most countries and it seems like the police officers are often redundant doing nothing more than giving directions and stopping cyclists to check whether their bicycles have been registered.
Of course crossing on the green man is sensible but I am amazed to see people still waiting in the middle of the night to get to the other side at some remote minor road. As a foreigner I have not been trained so well in terms of being patient at these stops so sometimes, if the road is safe, I will cross but this often leads to one or two following me out of habit because they think its the right time. My fear here is that maybe I will one day be responsible for a Japanese person being mowed down due to my impatience!