Snow sculpture of police car unveiled in Hokkaido town

CULTURE

Police officers in a small Hokkaido town marked a Japanese police anniversary Tuesday by making a highly realistic snow sculpture of a police vehicle to help maintain local safety and bring smiles to children's faces.

January 10 is designated Dial 110 Day in Japan to promote knowledge of the appropriate way to use the emergency number to call police to report a crime or accident.

In the town of Horonobe on the northernmost main island, a snow sculpture of a life-size police vehicle, which allows people to get in and sit on the backseat, was unveiled at a residential police box.

Several police officers of the town with a population of some 2,400 worked to create the sculpture, using a chainsaw and color sprays to shape a block of snow into a smaller police vehicle. It even has a red light made of ice that glows at night.

The sculpture was originally the idea of Masashi Onishi, 32, who previously staffed the police box. He thought local residents would feel safer if there was a realistic snow sculpture of a police vehicle outside the box even when it was empty due to him patrolling.

As his sculpture, first made two years ago, became widely known in the town because of its closeness to reality, the practice has been passed on to the current policeman at the box, Akihisa Ikeguchi, 37.

"I felt some pressure but it was good to see the smiles of children," said Ikeguchi, who took part in the sculpture work for the first time. "I hope it will contribute to maintaining local safety."

==Kyodo

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