Julian Adame was visiting Tokyo when he was arrested after falling asleep at a bar having reportedly already broken a pricey lamp ( Julian Adame/Instagram )
A US student who reportedly broke an expensive lamp while drinking on a night out in Tokyo remains in jail nine months after the incident in which he is said to have initially thought police officers arresting him were gang members extorting him for money.
Julian Adame, a senior student at Redlands University in California, had been studying religion in Bali for several months, and had planned to visit Tokyo for a few days before going on to Thailand to meet a friend.
But when the 22-year-old didn’t arrive to meet fellow student Kate Emmons, she began to get worried, and began ringing foreign embassies to find out what had happened to him.
“I had put out on Instagram a picture of Julian and asked if anyone had heard from him since I hadn’t heard from him in eight days,” Ms Emmons told US news outlet ABC10.
“One person reached out to me and said that he was in contact with Julian right before [he was] arrested. They were supposed to hang out the next day.”
After further calls she learned Mr Adame had met some people in the hostel he was staying and had gone out for drinks with them on 22 May 2018.
Ms Emmons told ABC10 “the alcohol and in combination of him traveling” made Mr Adame fall asleep while he was out with his new friends.
The next thing he knew he was being woken up by the police who told him he had broken a lamp worth $900 (£680) and that they needed to see his passport.
His companions had left the bar they had been drinking in.
Mr Adame had reportedly been previously warned that criminal gangs in Tokyo may dress as police officers in efforts to extort foreign travellers. Believing this to be the case, Mr Adame, who doesn’t speak Japanese, initially refused to cooperate with the police.
“They transferred him to a community police box where footage was recorded of him saying, ‘You’re going to kill me,’” Ms Emmons said.
He was then reportedly put in an unmarked police car by officers who were not in uniform who took him to his hostel to retrieve his passport.
Ms Emmons told the San Diego Union-Tribune Mr Adame was “convinced they were gang members” pretending to be police officers
When the police then tried to handcuff him, in his panic Mr Adame “accidentally scuffed one of the officer’s chins”, Ms Emmons said.
She said she has been able to visit Mr Adame in jail in Tokyo, but the pair have not been allowed to speak in English together.
Mr Adame plans to plead guilty to the charges which include resisting arrest, but there have been numerous setbacks which have delayed a court appearance, including the Japanese authorities demanding several translations of what Mr Adame was recorded saying.
A United States Department of State spokesperson told ABC10: “US citizen Julian Adame was arrested in Tokyo on May 22, 2018. The safety and security of US citizens overseas is one of our highest priorities. We are providing all appropriate consular assistance to Mr Adame. Consular officers are in contact with Mr Adame’s family and friends, and visit him at the Tokyo Detention Centre regularly.”
The University of Redlands issued a statement which read: “We are aware that Julian Adame remains detained in Japan after events that occurred during personal travel, not associated with a university program. We have been in contact with local and international law enforcement agencies in Japan to ask for status, express our concern, and offer our assistance.”