crime

225 attacks on conductors, other staff reported by 16 train companies in 2015

39 Comments
By RocketNews24

Apparently people in Japan are finding it harder and harder not to assault their friendly neighborhood train station staff as incidents of assault are on the rise.

Japan’s 16 major train companies have compiled data from fiscal 2015 and found that, in total, there were 225 attacks on conductors and other staff. This would be the eighth consecutive year with over 200 assaults and 2015’s figure is three times that of 2000 when such statistics began.

You may have noticed some of the anti-violence posters hung around the nation’s stations in recent years. Honestly though, if it’s gotten to the point that posters are needed to remind people not to attack train conductors, we may have taken a wrong turn somewhere as a society.

Such posters include helpful tips like do NOT headbutt, throw beer on, nor pull the neckties of station staff.

Perhaps more surprising are the reported reasons for the assaults with “suddenly and for no reason” coming in at number one with 35%. This was followed by “approaching a drunk person” 21 percent of the time and “warning someone for being a nuisance” 13%.

This means if current trends persist a train station staff will soon be three times more likely to get attacked for saying “hello” than for confronting a person behaving erratically. Given as an example were reports of station attendants being punched in the face while helping passengers purchase tickets.

The real reason behind this steady rise in violence against train station staff is still unclear. Railways are trying to combat it by increasing police presence around stations and reminders like those pictures above focused at drunken passengers.

But with drunkenness only part of the problem and no real cause identified for the largest cause of the attacks, it seems as though railway workers will still be licking their wounds for some time to come.

Source: NHK via Hachima Kiko

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- “Women who attract chikan, and women who don’t”: The illustrated guide that’s provoking debate -- Police officer arrested for assaulting 2 train station attendants in Saitama -- The little test that’s blowing Japanese netizens’ minds

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39 Comments
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The 35% of incidents "for no reason" is very interesting. The second cause at 21% for being drunk is no surprise.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

who in their right mind would ride these tuna-packed trains full of stressed, racist people?? 99% of my problems were solved after getting my motorcycle license, sweet morning every day.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What kind of muppet attacks a train guard for no apparent reason? Seriously? Hey i`m angry, lets punch this guy trying to get me home safely...Defies logic.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

What kind of muppet attacks a train guard for no apparent reason? Seriously? Hey i`m angry, lets punch this guy trying to get me home safely...Defies logic.

Welcome to Japan! "I just wanted to see what it's like to punch a driver"

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I'm interested to see stats on aggression on the new Yamanote line. The video advertising is sensory overstimulation. I find it much more stressful commute than on the old Yamanote trains. Would not be surprised at all if it leads to more aggressive behaviour.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

How many people ride the trains yearly? Let's get some real stats here.

If I were to get angry on a train, and if we were allowed to have guns, I would shoot the ceiling speakers.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Only 225 attacks? Considering how many people ride a train in a year in Japan, that seems like quite a low number (attacks per rider are infinitesimally low as a percentage). And you also have to consider that "attack" can really mean basically just touching the conductor in any way shape or form. Yep, this seems like molehill and mountain kinda thingy.

Here are some data from JR East: 17 million riders per day (2014)--6,205,000,000 riders a year. That's an attack rate of 3.62610798e-8.

That's JR East only. Kinda puts things in perspective.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Such posters include helpful tips like do NOT headbutt, throw beer on, nor pull the neckties of station staff.

Wow, really -That kind of behavior requires warning posters? It should just go without saying.

Forget the whole customer service thing for a sec. The Train Staff have a right to self defense in those scenarios right?

Try headbutting a bus driver or Train Staff somewhere in the US . . . you might get ur butt-kicked and then patted on the back by ur employer and local law enforcement for doing so. . . & those are just the women staffers.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Aren't a lot of these attacks on train staff committed by drunken off-duty police? As are many of the molestation attacks on female passengers. Perhaps if the police had better quality recruits there wouldn't be so much trouble.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Aren't a lot of these attacks on train staff committed by drunken off-duty police? As are many of the molestation attacks on female passengers.

More probable that the press likes to report incidents involving police and teachers because such stories will pull more eyeballs and generate more clicks than those involving generic salarymen with no name recognition.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

I once asked a station attendant if he had a schedule. He just waved me off, probably because I didn't say it in perfect Japanese. Oh, how I wanted to smack him.

5 ( +8 / -2 )

Frustration with life in a nation in decline and culturally-based rules about not being able to express thoughts and feelings openly?

7 ( +7 / -1 )

Was riding the last train home (never a good idea folks) there was this drunk guy mumbling to himself and glaring at everyone in the carriage just daring someone to challenge him on his behaviour. Surprise...No one did. He soon got bored and started to kick the door and knock on the window of the driver. A distraction no doubt to him that none of use could accept. With military precision and timing the guy was shoved out the door at the next station by a quick thinking hero to....absolutely zero applause. I gave a him a nod and a brief smile ashamed that I hadn't thought of doing that. But then again. Had I done it. maybe that wouldn't have gone to good for me a lowly gaijin assaulting a "law abiding" Japanese citizen.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Heck, I've been "assaulted" on a train with someone kicking me for apparently no reason, except he obviously had major anger issues about the world in general and was perhaps drunk. When I grabbed his collar to get him to stop, I couldn't understand a word he said.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The real reason behind this steady rise in violence against train station staff is still unclear

I'll tell you exactly why it's rising. It's because Tokyo's train system is by far and away the worst thing about living here. Nothing else comes close. Overpopulated, overly-centralised. Too many (36 MILLION) people all heading in the same direction and wanting their 3LDK ekimae manshon that's also in an area that's overdeveloped. Poor town planning by local government & too many at Japan Inc. wanting their premium Tokyo HQ addresses. Total mess.

It's just too stressful, especially on the JR lines to / from Tokyo. They do their best but, at the end of the day, they're just not designed to handle the sheer volume of people. It's absolutely insane & hard to fathom unless you've experienced it yourself. It's just not healthy.

So, you get the inescapable situation where too many people rely on its convenience - anything from kids & parents taking up a row of seats to an entire baseball team or kindergarten class. Where I come from, parents DRIVE & schools charter BUSES. Totally choushinotteru.

I really feel for the rail staff.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Well, crazy or drunken people exist, that is certainly not unique to Japan, and I don' think there is a one-size-fits-all solution to this problem. All they can do is train their staff how to react to and deal with it if the situation should arise. Not a perfect plan but hey, it's not a perfect world.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Japan is slowly facing the same issues as other (mostly western) countries. Public transport staff (and commuters) have been targeted for years in the western world and on some particularly bad routes/lines staff have now stopped asking ppl if they have paid their fare cause they fear being attacked.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I once asked a station attendant if he had a schedule. He just waved me off, probably because I didn't say it in perfect Japanese. Oh, how I wanted to smack him.

Damn right. Uppity natives who don't realize that gaijin are gawds. But, you missed an opportunity. If you had smacked him you might have received an intensive course in Japanese language and furniture making at Japanese taxpayer expense. The penal system in Japan definitely does not have a "Japanese only" policy.

-6 ( +4 / -11 )

They do their best but, at the end of the day, they're just not designed to handle the sheer volume of people.

And it's only going to get worse as provincial Japan collapses and more people crowd into the Kanto area. The railway companies that own land alongside some of the longer suburban lines are throwing up apartment buildings like crazy, without any thought to town planning or commuter access.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I bet a lot of these attacks are on the Hanzomon line in Tokyo. That line has been 100% late every day for the past 2.5 years and the people riding it are constantly angry. By far one of the worst lines in the world

4 ( +8 / -3 )

I bet a lot of these attacks are on the Hanzomon line in Tokyo.

That's my line and it's a total nightmare. Yet Tokyu Corporation is still building apartments way down in Kanagawa and Kawasaki hand over fist.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The Hanzomon line is always on time except when there is a jumper.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

The real reason behind this steady rise in violence against train station staff is still unclear. Railways are trying to combat it by increasing police presence around stations and reminders like those pictures above focused at drunken passengers.

What is clear is that Japan is a fast changing society!

Reasons for higher levels of violence?

How about the rise in poverty? Overwork and higher stress levels? Abuse of workers by superiors? Lack of community in the home and local neighborhoods? Breakup of the extended family? The rise of the 'deadend job'

There are more but the reasons are there to be seen.....

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Was riding the last train home (never a good idea folks) there was this drunk guy mumbling to himself and glaring at everyone in the carriage

Good post. @clueless. Let me guess. JR Saikyo Line? I remember those scenarios well in and around Tokyo bck n' the day. I always stood my ground just hoping the drunk would do something to me. All of the Japanese passengers fled into a different carriage. Funny.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

@igloobuyer "Frustration with life in a nation in decline and culturally-based rules about not being able to express thoughts and feelings openly?'

BINGO X 1000 igloobuyer !!!

and much more...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Frustration with life in a nation in decline and culturally-based rules about not being able to express thoughts and feelings openly?

Agree too. That whole "Wa" social harmony thing is backfiring.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Like Disillusioned warned "1 out of 3 is nutz"

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Twice I've seen old men yelling at platform staff for the train being late. Both were in the middle of the afternoon on a weekday with few people waiting. I wanted to ask, "what's the hurry old-timer?"

2 ( +2 / -0 )

A very small number considering how many people ride the trains.

The only time I have ever seen anyone upset at staff has been when the shinkansen was about four hours late and the staff in Shin-Osaka station did pretty much nothing to help anyone. Last train was long gone and JR wouldn't fork over money for taxis. Lots of screaming at staff there but they all stood their dough faced repeating "moshiwakenai". Surprised no one punched one of them - or perhaps someone did.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The video advertising is sensory overstimulation. I find it much more stressful commute than on the old Yamanote trains. Would not be surprised at all if it leads to more aggressive behaviour.

The sensory overstimulation of the never-ending announcements probably doesn't help either. The escalators in one of my stations, in addition to having a recorded voice telling people whether it's going up or down, and to hold the handrail and take care of their children, even now have an added sentence telling people that they move faster than most escalators do.

The Oedo line, in addition to the recorded announcements inside the train about safety and whatnot, also include advertisements about things like hospitals and where to get chicken ramen.

I would love to see a movement toward peace and quiet inside trains and train stations. These ubiquitous recorded announcements add that extra bit of stress that might push someone over the edge.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

@jalapeno I guess you just missed being on the list as #226! You are lucky!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I've lived in Japan more than 5 years and I hadn't seen anything OVERTLY violent until this year... a couple months ago I was walking with the family home from Hanami and a drunk yanki type guy ran up and punched a police officer who was riding a bicycle right in the face and then tackled him out of nowhere... and about a week ago I saw a woman, maybe in her 50's, who was drunk as hell on the Fukutoshin platform in Shibuya pushing a female station attendant over and over again while yelling at her about the packed train. I thought she was going to push her into a train. Maybe something is in the air this year.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

@savethegaijin

"a couple months ago I was walking with the family home from Hanami and a drunk yanki type guy ran up and punched a police officer who was riding a bicycle right in the face and then tackled him out of nowhere"

WOW

2 ( +2 / -0 )

2 weeks ago I rode the shinkansen from Utsunomiya to Tokyo and for the first time (may be more common for others) I saw two police officers board the train and at least walk through my carriage. I wasn't going to follow them.

Perhaps this is due to the increased violence on railways, recalling recent knife attack and possibly increased security for the G7 summit.

I had visited Japan for a week and also the first time, none of the train conductors asked to check my ticket on any of shinkansen that I rode noting I was in reserved seating cars.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The only reason I could explain Japanese needs posters to remind them to NOT headbutt, throw beer on, nor pull the neckties of station staff, would be that they are not taught common sense.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Maybe something is in the air this year.

well it's been a pretty bad allergy season this year. :0

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Bring back the trash cans on the platforms, That would help reduce stress. Agree with the "Back to quiet and not videos or announcements of nonsense".

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Patricia Yarrow there are? for cans, pet bottles, magazines and other? When were they ever not there?

Would like to see on which lines it happens the most.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Dennis Bauer The trash bins were apparently removed from Metro Stations during the recent summit. I don't know if they have been returned.

http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/trash-cans-removed-from-subways-in-preparation-for-g-7-summit

JR has removed trash cans occasionally and for varying periods of time, depending on what risk level of terrorism they believe there to be. I've personally seen them removed--and later replaced--at Tokyo, Ueno, Shinagawa, Tamachi, and Kumagaya stations, among others.

I haven't been riding the trains that much recently, but the last time I checked the trash bins had been returned.

There were certainly times in the last few years when they had been removed, and explanations posted that it was an anti-terrorism measure. I believe they fear incendiary/explosive devices might be put inside the trash cans.

I've seen the trash bins on the shinkansen carriages temporarily sealed with tape, too, when the alert levels are raised for some reason, and then later unsealed.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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