A train runs on the Yamanote Line in Tokyo. Photo: Wikipedia
crime

Carrying unpacked knives onto trains to be banned under new security steps

38 Comments

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© KYODO

©2018 GPlusMedia Inc.

38 Comments
Login to comment

Some action taken - so next time, nobody can say it happened before and nothing was done.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I've always got a mini-Swiss 3cm on my keyring. But I use the scissors, tweezers, nail file and screwdriver more than the little blade. I can't really think of it as a weapon.

I think you're ok with this; I seem to recall that the maximum allowable length is 6cm. That said, I would definitely confirm that before carrying it in public here. See the story Tokyo-Engr posted, I remember that well too. It would suck to get locked up for carrying a 3cm swiss army knife.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japan's knife laws are already pretty draconian. I remember this story from 2009..

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2009/07/28/voices/pocket-knife-lands-tourist-74-in-lockup-2/#.W1JyO9IzZPY

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Well, well, well.

Reports I'm looking at (and you bad mouthers should ready prior to opening them traps) cite the figures of at least a 1000 people killed in the US at the hands of people with serious mental illness.

Just a small sample for yer consideration, prior to making un-substantiated accusations:

http://www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org/evidence-and-research/learn-more-about/3627

"The 2015 National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide & Homicide by People with Mental Illness (NCISH)iv found that between 2003-2013, there were a total of 5835 homicide convictions in England, of which 630 (11%) were committed by ‘inquiry cases’ – people who had had any contact with secondary care mental health services in the 6 months prior to the homicide. "

https://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/pdf/Emma%20Ross%20-%20Homicides%20committed%20by%20mentally%20disordered%20offenders_%20Do%20theyreflect%20their%20media%20stereotype.pdf

Now, please can you prove that nutters in Japan slaughtered more than 1000 or 5835 during the same period?

N.B. Of course the reports do not provide for the "modus operandi", but the Peeping is assuming a lot of it was via a good old shanking.

I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Japan is way better in crime stats than the nuts randomly shooting up people in US. We Americans do have issues, drugs everywhere, cities totally unsafe once it gets dark, mindless aggressive behavior (fights occur so frequently now a days even on flights) and mindless shooting murders. Japan is not perfect but it has it way better. Fair is fair....they do seem to have society induced isolation that eventually leads to random acts. Good parenting, common sense laws, reasonable teachers and work life balance e.t.c are the only measures to minimize or prevent these incidents.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Disillusioned: "They are not just some nutcase wanting to stab the first person he or she sees, which is very unlike what happens in Japan where there is no motive, except wanting to kill somebody. Can you understand the difference now?"

Bingo!

Strangerland: "You don't think that actually constitutes some sort of evidence beyond that of an anecdote, do you?"

I think what we've realized is that you will declare this place the safest in the world regardless of whatever facts you are given, or what you read in the news (more to the point, choose not to read) on a DAILY basis.

wtfjapan: "this is one of those "common sense" topics people where taking about just recently, So if I carry a knife that packaged onto a train, whats stopping the same person unpacking it and using it, same goes with box cutters, skewers etc. "

Precisely what I was saying before. But the companies, as with many things here in Japan, will allow convenience and popularity to trump safety any time. Imagine what random searches would do during rush hour and/or at busy stations. Now, that would be the first exception if they ever had the stones to try and do searches: "We will perform randoms searches of customers to ensure the maximum protection of all, but will not do so during rush hour and maximum traffic, or at busy stations where time is an important issue. We do not want to inconvenience our customers."

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

GyGene, if "a real man always has a pocket knife ", then they should be all banned for travelling, unless their stuffs are properly packed into their luggages.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Passenger is caught doing something, searched and found to have such a knife in their possession.

So, selective prosecution just for having a tiny knife that had nothing to do with the "doing something." Nice.

Crazy people will always find a way to accomplish whatever it is they want. If 1 tool is removed, they'll just find another.

All those times when I joked with the gun control stories saying that knives should be illegal too, it was just a joke, to make a point. Clearly, that point has been missed by rational people.

Next they's have to outlaw screwdrivers and knitting needles. Then books, because a heavy hardback book can do some damage. And insulated food containers. And computers and portable speakers and portable computer storage devices, those are hard and can have sharp edges too.

Nanny state, isn't wanted.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It looks like Japan does much more for security for the Olympics rather the World Cup in 2002 though they were afraid of hooligans who never came

Good post, I agree. There were stories of people in Saitama sending their kids away to distant relatives ahead of the first England game. By the time we got to Sapporo for the Argentina game, it was a street party. And the cops deserve much credit for the way they handled the fans (by not handling them). I expect the Tokyo Olympics to be as safe as they ever have been.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

In reality, I guess this Law will only come into effect if a Passenger is caught doing something, searched and found to have such a knife in their possession.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Railway operators proposed to the ministry introducing protective shields, stab proof vests

How many staff have been stabbed over the past few years? I have not heard of any so I do not see the point for such an excessive implementation that will make people around believing it is dangerous or there is any high risk.

It looks like Japan does much more for security for the Olympics rather the World Cup in 2002 though they were afraid of hooligans who never came

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@joeintokyo

You can carry any knife packed, as long as you have a good reason fot it.

I wonder if being afflicted with the uncontrollable urge to whittle qualifies as a good reason.

You may have been joking, but some of us woodworkers do need to carry tools around, either to do work, or just to get an expert sharpening on some of those tricky unusually-shaped artisan chisels.

@TheFu.

I agree. I've always got a mini-Swiss 3cm on my keyring. But I use the scissors, tweezers, nail file and screwdriver more than the little blade. I can't really think of it as a weapon. Anybody could do more damage with a pair of chopsticks or a firmly-aimed boot.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

People looooove to disparage safety in Japan, yet none of them has ever fact-checked themselves.

Exactamundo! Considering Japan is a highly urbanized nation, violent crime is still low and the authorities seem keen not to introduce draconian measures in response to largely isolated incidents.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Good move.... don't care how redundant the law is....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A real man always has a pocket knife.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I don't understand why people would be carrying knives onto public transport unless they have mental health issues.

Pocket knives are extremely useful. Cutting an extra thread from a shirt, whittling, stripping insulation from wires, camping uses, cutting foods, and most pocket knives have other tools. There are thousands of uses for small knives that are commonly carried on a keychain. Thousands.

It is nice to have a picnic with wine, cheese, bread and meats in a park, right? A knife is useful for that - and a corkscrew.

I can agree that a 10cm blade isn't nearly as useful, until you are going camping or doing leather crafts.

So, what mental issue do people show for these uses of knives? Just curious.

Does "packed" include putting them in a daypack?

Are 3cm blades grouped into the same banned list as 14cm blades?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

this is one of those "common sense" topics people where taking about just recently, So if I carry a knife that packaged onto a train, whats stopping the same person unpacking it and using it, same goes with box cutters, skewers etc. Japan needs to stop with all the half-arsed attempts at fixing things. Just ban knives and sharp objects altogether and have random baggage inspections, with large fines for those who are caught

this is the only way your going to stop future attacks

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Isn’t crime in Japan falling and it’s lowest rate for a decade or so-at least it was the other day....

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Well, unlike Strangerland, I read three or four country's newspapers every day. Yes, stabbings happen everywhere. Presently, London has a a huge problem with stabbings. However, these stabbings are motivated by robbery or by racial tension. They are not just some nutcase wanting to stab the first person he or she sees, which is very unlike what happens in Japan where there is no motive, except wanting to kill somebody. Can you understand the difference now?

You don't think that actually constitutes some sort of evidence beyond that of an anecdote, do you?

People looooove to disparage safety in Japan, yet none of them has ever fact-checked themselves.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

So, one buys a knife at the local department store, and has to catch a taxi home or risk the threat of being arrested if catching a train? Ridiculous.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

My first trip to Japan 30 years ago caused me to surrender a Swiss Army folder.

Were you waving it around on the Shinkansen?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Strangerland - the rate of loons stabbing random victims is definitely much higher than other countries.

Is it? People regularly make such claims, but no one ever seems to be able to actually provide anything to back up such claims.

Well, unlike Strangerland, I read three or four country's newspapers every day. Yes, stabbings happen everywhere. Presently, London has a a huge problem with stabbings. However, these stabbings are motivated by robbery or by racial tension. They are not just some nutcase wanting to stab the first person he or she sees, which is very unlike what happens in Japan where there is no motive, except wanting to kill somebody. Can you understand the difference now?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Easy to comply with; I leave my camp knife at home when I travel to Japan. My first trip to Japan 30 years ago caused me to surrender a Swiss Army folder.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The other aspect to ‘packed’ is to make it invisible.

If a member of the public even glimpses a knife and panics, or perceives a threat of danger, (regardless of whether such intent was there or not) the police can act.

In other words the new regulation (which actually restates the old) clarifies what behavior might be legally actionable, the police tending to follow only the letter of the law.

The reality is as others have stated above, that you must have a valid and checkable reason for carrying a blade, (they might phone to ask the person you say you are selling it to, for example) and it should be packaged in such a way that your intent is obviously transport alone.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

When your eyes, ears, and brain are closed, you rarely see, hear, or choose to understand. You go ahead and show me where there are incidents of a man dragging a woman by knifepoint into the washroom to rape her, while everyone else just sits there, and perhaps you'll be right.

How would one example prove whether or not the country has more or less of these incidents as other countries?

As suspected, people just make these things up, without actually fact checking themselves to find out if there is a basis in reality.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

"The measures will not require baggage screening, as that process would need extra space and hamper smooth boarding, the ministry said, raising the question of how effective they will be."

I just knew this was going to be in there. So, they can evict a person walking around holding the knife (if they dare -- past incidents prove they just pretend to be asleep), but there is no way otherwise they could possibly know. Well done, on yet another lip-service law in this nation.

Strangerland: "Is it?"

Yes.

"People regularly make such claims, but no one ever seems to be able to actually provide anything to back up such claims."

When your eyes, ears, and brain are closed, you rarely see, hear, or choose to understand. You go ahead and show me where there are incidents of a man dragging a woman by knifepoint into the washroom to rape her, while everyone else just sits there, and perhaps you'll be right. Why is there no set word or phrase for the Japanese "toorima"; it's so common here they have one.

Toasted Heretic: "I don't understand why people would be carrying knives onto public transport unless they have mental health issues."

Well, mostly, yes. But what if I want to get my expensive knives sharpened? I asked police about this once, when they stopped me and told my my Swiss Army knife was against the "swords and weapons" law, or whatever it's called (it was when I first got here), and they couldn't answer me. I said, "carrying a knife is illegal, but what if I want to take them to get sharpened?" They scratched their heads and one guy said, "If you wrap it up and keep it in your bag, no one will know." I just nodded and pretended that addressed the point and made sense. I've asked other friends and authorities since and they have much the same answer. So, as long as you "pack" (which you can easily unpack on board, but they won't talk about that) your knives you can carry them around, despite the law stating you can't -- or at least despite it being extremely vague about conditions. Those people might not have mental health issues, and choose public transport because they have no other option.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Mmmm.... sounds effective, I guess. But wait! Define thoroughly packed. Like, in a box with a piece of tape holding the lid on is fine, right?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

the rate of loons stabbing random victims is definitely much higher than other countries.

Is it? People regularly make such claims, but no one ever seems to be able to actually provide anything to back up such claims.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Once again, these kinds of rules only affect the law-abiding. Anyone bent on going Errol Flynn in the train will do so regardless.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

A quick look around finds the Japanese word Konpo/Kompo 梱包 being used in this context. The understanding in the Japanese mind has to be ‘properly/thoroughly packed’ or ‘packed away’, ie out of sight and not easily extracted.

https://www.google.co.jp/amp/amp.tokyo-np.co.jp/s/article/2018072001000941.html

From this article in Japanese: 国土交通省は20日、列車内に梱包していない刃物類の持ち込みを禁じる方針を明らかにした。

3 ( +3 / -0 )

but the rate of loons stabbing random victims is definitely much higher than other countries. That loon that drove his truck into a crowd of people and then started stabbing people in Akihabara a decade ago is a very good example.

A decade ago, though.

Is it really much higher than elsewhere? Or are the mental health services here worse than elsewhere, I wonder.

I don't understand why people would be carrying knives onto public transport unless they have mental health issues.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

So, it was previous ok to carry a knife onto a train? It is already illegal to carry a knife with a blade long than 5cm.

Station staff and conductors will be able to forcibly evict passengers with such knives

Sounds pretty dangerous.

the ministry introducing protective shields, stab proof vests and tear gas spray for staff as new steps. 

I can't see anybody running through a crowded train with a protective shield.

Stab proof vests for all staff? Or, do the non-protected staff have to wait for the protected staff to come?

I'm guessing they mean pepper spray. This is probably the most practical of the above suggestions, but only if all staff carry it and they are trained to use it. It also needs to be secured to the user so it cannot be used against them.

It's pretty obvious Japan is not the safe country they keep boasting about. These security measures they are suggesting 'might' work in certain circumstances, but they are not the perfect answer. They should be addressing why so many Japanese people are carrying knives and why so many of them are 'flipping out' and stabbing people at random. There are at least a dozen random stabbings every summer - It only seems to happen in the summer - This has been happening for many years and just keeps happening. I agree that Japan does have a lower crime rate than other countries, but the rate of loons stabbing random victims is definitely much higher than other countries. That loon that drove his truck into a crowd of people and then started stabbing people in Akihabara a decade ago is a very good example.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

You can carry any knife packed, as long as you have a good reason fot it.

I wonder if being afflicted with the uncontrollable urge to whittle qualifies as a good reason.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

People talk colloquially about ‘packing’ a gun. If you are ‘packing’ a knife, that means carrying a concealed knife. In this article the English word ‘pack’ could be ambiguous.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

You can carry any knife packed, as long as you have a good reason fot it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The measures will not require baggage screening, as that process would need extra space and hamper smooth boarding, the ministry said, raising the question of how effective they will be.

IOW, these measures are a lot like many other measures in Japan.

I get it, screening every train passenger in Japan is impossible, but since we're all functioning adults can we skip the patently futile pronouncements.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

A rather odd law being that knives over 5 or 6 inches long are already banned in Japan for carrying.

If you are caught and charged with the swords and firearms act, you will receive serious prison time and people have gotten that for carrying large knives.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I guess plastic knives and forks are excluded ... right ?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites