Around midnight on April 11, a convenience store manager in the town of Nakama, Fukuoka Prefecture, says what appeared to be a biker gang had gathered in front of his shop. One after another, they came into the store to use the toilet, and apparently the manager came to the conclusion that they were just there to make a pit stop, with no interest in shopping.
Not wanting to turn his store into a biker lounge for the rest of the night, the manager decided to stop offering use of the toilet and locked the door, However, a 16-year-old high school girl who was with the group didn’t take kindly to his decision. When she found the toilet door locked sometime around 12:30 a.m., she became furious at the manager, shouting “Hurry up and let me into the damn toilet!” and “I’ll kill you!”
Instead of reaching for the toilet key, though, the manager reached for the phone and called the police. By the time officers were on site, the girl and her companions had left, but convenience stores have security cameras. Ordinarily they’re there as precautions against shoplifters and robbers, but they’re just as useful for recording evidence against people yelling death threats, and investigators were able to use the recorded video to identify the girl, who was arrested for attempted forced coercion on April 18, one week after the incident took place. “There is no mistake” she said in regard to the accusations.
In addition, the store’s toilet was damaged around the time of the girl’s outburst, and the police are investigating whether or not this was an intentional act of vandalism.
The incident serves as a reminder that while many convenience stores in Japan have toilets for customer use, such access is granted on a voluntary basis. It’s not unusual for stores in bar districts or other areas with an excessive number of people walking around with full bladders to reserve their toilets for employees only, and if a store does allow you to use theirs, good manners dictate you should buy something, even if it’s just a bottle of water or a pack of gum. Oh, and it also serves as a reminder that saying you’re going to kill someone on camera is never a good idea.
The exact legal punishment the girl faces remains unclear, but in any case, this likely isn’t going to help the cause of that other city in Japan that wants to turn their convenience store toilet into public facilities.
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