crime

Man arrested for taking 'normal' picture of woman on train

137 Comments
By KK Miller

Japan was one of the first countries to sell mobile phones equipped with a camera back in 2000. Having a camera on you at all times sure does come in handy, as you’ll always be able to capture that special moment wherever you are.

Unfortunately, sometimes that special moment is a peep-shot or a scandalous photo which is certainly a violation of privacy. Japan has taken a very no-nonsense approach to help stop these highly inappropriate photos, and it comes in the form of the Anti-Nuisance Ordinance. So powerful is this law that the latest person to be arrested has caused a bit of commotion. His crime? Taking a picture of a fully-clothed woman sitting beside him on the train.

The 40-year-old man was arrested in Kawasaki City for taking pictures of a young woman next to him on the train. The police arrived on the scene after the woman called and informed them of what the man did. The photos in question did not contain any sneaky under the skirt shots or attempts to get a glimpse of her bra, just full body shots, head to toe.

So, why was the man arrested? Cases like this have made the news in the past few years, falling under the aforementioned Anti-Nuisance Ordinance. The law is quite broad in its language, but seeks to protect one thing: the safety and well-being of women. The law states that it doesn’t matter what you are taking a picture of, if the woman being photographed is made to feel uncomfortable or starts feeling anxious, you are liable to be arrested. Even so much as pointing a camera in the victim’s direction without taking a picture is grounds for arrest.

The last controversial case like this became big news back in 2011, when a man was arrested for taking pictures of a woman sleeping on the train. Another back in 2008 involved a Self-Defense Forces member, whose guilty verdict was upheld by the Supreme Court for violating the Anti-Nuisance Ordinance by taking 11 pictures of a woman’s butt/hip area. The woman had all of her clothes on but the court ruled he was in clear violation of the law.

The law also does not discriminate with the age of the woman and any female, young or old, can complain that she is feeling “shy, ashamed or embarrassed”, and the person causing that discomfort will have to deal with the police in some fashion.

With another case getting national coverage in Japan, the Anti-Nuisance Ordinance will surely continue to be scrutinized. For example, the ordinance does not mention males in any fashion. What if it’s a man’s picture being taken and it makes him feel uncomfortable? Is this against the law? There’s also the question of how far does this law go? What about people who are taking pictures in Shibuya Crossing, one of the busiest pedestrian intersections in the world? Or someone who’s been caught by the Google Maps car? Or most of the programs on Japanese TV?

Source: Itai News

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137 Comments
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hope he gets out of it ok, ridiculous law

10 ( +22 / -13 )

Utter nonsense...

5 ( +18 / -13 )

Dangerous, slippery slope, basing laws and punishment on how someone "feels." How does this guy know how the woman feels? Maybe she wants to be in pictures? Who can possibly know for certain, even the woman herself? I suspect her "uneasiness" would disappear if she learned that "creepy man" next to her turned out to be her favorite movie or music star. It's an arbitrary standard.

1 ( +11 / -10 )

How is this ridiculous utter nonsense?

A man takes a picture (of a woman) without that person's consent.

A clear violation of privacy.

In other countries he'd be arrested just the same.

All the "what ifs" here don't mean a thing until they become "it's happened".

2 ( +26 / -24 )

Agree with the woman. Who wants some perv sitting next to them taking photos?

10 ( +23 / -13 )

Geoff, I have to agree with the law. If someone you have never met started taking pictures of you for no particular reason, wouldn't you feel a bit uneasy? How does the person plan to use YOUR photo? Identity theft? Frame your for something? Who knows? It's just creepy!

15 ( +22 / -7 )

Exactly, turbostat.

I'm mean...what if the woman in question were your girlfriend? Then how would you feel about such a "ridiculous law"?

Or imagine if the man had taken the innocent photograph, Photoshopped it and uploaded it to a porn site.

Then what?

Think past the instant gratification factor you enjoy by having the freedom of a camera in your pocket.

Social responsibility and respect.

Those who don't have it - and abuse it - should be punished.

5 ( +14 / -9 )

801215Sep. 05, 2014 - 07:41AM JST A man takes a picture (of a woman) without that person's consent. A clear violation of privacy.

There is no privacy in the public. Does police ask your permission in taking survelliance photo of you or everybody else in the public?

15 ( +28 / -14 )

Mikesbo,

He should have asked for permission.

Professional photographers have to do it with professional models.

No slippery slope here.

It's called common sense.

5 ( +14 / -9 )

801215Sep. 05, 2014 - 07:52AM JST He should have asked for permission.

How ridiculous. It can sometimes be annoying, but it is legal. Are you going to jail? You got millions of people at the public areas, the beaches, airport, nightclubs, restaurants, that people take photos. All these people have to ask permission? There is no way any lawyer would try to defend the case. And what is the damage? The photo looked too ugly and damage your reputation?

2 ( +13 / -11 )

What happens for photo taken without consent? They could be sold to porno industry. Then your face is used to compose with someone's naked body, then maybe create sex scenes? Many applications such as pasting in crime scene photo, etc.

-13 ( +11 / -24 )

The guy is a perv and he knows it. I know this crowd hates generalizations, but I'll just say it: 99% of the time, when a 40-something year old Japanese guy takes a photo of a female stranger, particularly with a cell phone, there is some lowly prurient interests involved.

Although I do find this part hilarious:

The law...seeks to protect one thing: the safety and well-being of women.

So this is the one time we read about a perp actually getting arrested? For taking "normal" photos? How many times have I read about folks getting suspended sentences for molesting children, taking potty photos of their students, or even killing their offspring... Doesn't seem like "safety and well-being of women" is really that much of a priority.

-4 ( +8 / -12 )

801215

How is this ridiculous utter nonsense? A man takes a picture (of a woman) without that person's consent. A clear violation of privacy.

AGREED!........................You ASK some one you don't know, if you may take a picture. . . .

2 ( +9 / -7 )

Publi space no privacy You need to be dumb to believe your picture is not taken Doing otherwise leads to the opposite of people getting sneaky, ie Japanese.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

sfjp30 : How ridiculous. It can sometimes be annoying, but it is legal. Are you going to jail? You got millions of people at the public areas, ...

Not legal in Japan, apparently.

The difference is the unwanted attention paid to a particular person. If the guy was doing a broader shot that happened to include the woman, he might have had a case to avoid arrest.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

combinibento Sep. 05, 2014 - 08:07AM JST So this is the one time we read about a perp actually getting arrested?

If your in the public, even if it's in a rude manner, anybody can take a picture. What if police went after every people that take normal pictures without permission? What a waste of taxpayers money.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

I wonder how this extends to Japanese people taking pictures of who they consider to be 'gaijin' on trains

14 ( +14 / -0 )

If a celebrity in a public place gets their photo taken - which happens a million times a day in practically every 'free' country on earth - it is not only perfectly fine and absolutely legal, but these photos can then be shared, uploaded, or even sold and re-printed in magazines. There are major websites and publishing industries entirely dedicated to such candid and unwelcomed shots.

So, if someone here (801215, combinibento, semperfi, etc) can explain the difference between this guy and with what literally goes on all the time, then don't waste your time voting me down, but instead become a lawyer and go make billions suing the paparazzi!

1 ( +8 / -7 )

The case in question does sound like a nuisance, but the ambiguity of the law is ridiculous. I'm sure many on this forum are guilty. Have you ever visited a temple/shrine and taken a picture of woman in a kimono without her consent.? I'm sure some of you have snapped a shot of a funky dressed japanese girl in Harajuku or Shibuya. If you walk around the busy parts of Tokyo there are many visitors taking pictures of the people in the crowd. If it's taking a picture of any woman without her consent then I'm guilty.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

This could have been me three years ago. Was taking a picture of the train like any tourist when a woman came in from another car. Guess some people here think I should have begged for mercy.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

In my opinion, this concerns more on the moral values of humans, to know their limits and to be able to control their whims. To know what's appropriate and not.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Should I sue any shop that has a surveillance camera?

8 ( +14 / -6 )

then why are not all those paparazzi in jail?

2 ( +6 / -4 )

A clear violation of privacy.

Is taking a photo of someone in public essentially different from merely looking at someone? In most countries "assumption of privacy" does not extend to public places. In America or most other places I can take a picture of anyone in public, with or without permission. If they are in public, they are part of the scenery, like it or not.

And in extension, how anout applying the anti-nuisance law to security cameras as well? The young woman in question probably had many minutes of her image recorded at every business, office, and station she visited.

Japanese judges are not like judges in other countries. In America and Europe, judges are chosen from a pool of lawyers with long experience practicing the law. They are chosen or elected primarily for their experience and fairness. In Japan, judges are appointed straight out of university, and after attending a judge training program, you become a judge. Judges start working in their 20's. In other countries, the strongest trait which a judge is required to possess is wisdom, and wisdom is acquired from long experience.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Supey: If a celebrity in a public place gets their photo taken - which happens a million times a day in practically every 'free' country on earth ... can explain the difference between this guy and with what literally goes on all the time ... become a lawyer and go make billions suing the paparazzi!

The difference is he was in Japan where he could be arrested for it.

(others): ... (i've done that) ... (everybody does that) ... (some woman walked into my photo) ...

He was SITTING NEXT TO HER.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

The police love these broadly-worded laws. Basically, if the police want to arrest you, there is some law somewhere they can use. And, unfortunately, in many cases, the actual purpose of the arrest is different from the original intent of the law in question.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

So, one time while traveling back home from a Yokohama trade show laden with lots of stuff, a bobbing drunk woman sitting next to me finally succeeded in fully passing in the space between my back and the seat, forcing me to stand the rest of the way. If I had taken a photo of her to post on, let's say Facebook, I could have been arrested!!?? I hope the police make the distinction between 'ogling' photos and "look who stole my seat" photos.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

It's very simple. If you take an indiscriminate wide shot of a crowd of people in public, you are fine. If you single out a specific clearly identifiable person on the picture, you have to ask for permission. This is privacy law in many countries.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

that is our cousins in the north, nutty as a squirrel cage! So instead of arresting him, how about making him erase the pictures? Take a note of it and if he does it again arrest him.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety”

7 ( +9 / -2 )

"look who stole my seat" photos

You may be sued for the defamation of character.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Selchek: "It's very simple. If you take an indiscriminate wide shot of a crowd of people in public, you are fine. If you single out a specific clearly identifiable person on the picture, you have to ask for permission. This is privacy law in many countries."

But that's part of the point of this article, and the criticism of the new law; where does it end? What if you are taking a wide shot but a person in the forefront feels 'violated'? What's more, people sneak (very poorly) pics of me all the time, if I'm at a temple, or walking around, they see a foreigner doing something and often take a pic. It pretty much never bothers me, but if it DID bother me, think of all the people who would get busted (if they took the chance to make the law a little less ridiculous and apply it to all people, not just women). Some train geek could be locked up depending on who was in the shot of his train photo, etc. Any time I've ever taken a picture of someone I don't know I've asked first, and sometimes asked to be in the photo as well, but the people who take shots of me rarely ask at all (sometimes offer the 'sumimasen' nod or partial bow when I notice them, though).

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Legal...perhaps. But I can understand the concerns here, its a thin line between privacy and legality. If some weird stranger takes a picture of me I also would not be happy with it.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I am reading this news on my smartphone while riding the train. I am therefore technically guilty of pointing a camera toward the lady sitting in front of me... Hope that does not make her uncomfortable....

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Stupid law, that means anyone flashing their mobile phone (with camera) anywhere can be arrested at anytime.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

I am therefore technically guilty of pointing a camera toward the lady sitting in front of me... Hope that does not make her uncomfortable....

Got a handkerchief to mask with? Or paper napkin, etc.?

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Something like this happened to my daughter, who was about 8 years old at the time. She was on the train coming back from school and this strange man sat down across from her on the train and just began taking photos of her. This was all very upsetting for her and she was crying when she came home.

Most people in this day of instant photos and social media really don't know where to draw the line when it comes to respecting the privacy of others.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Does this broadly worded law only go one way? Or if I spot a female snapping photos of a dead-drunk salaryman without his knowledge or consent, can I have her dragged off to the cop shop? Just saying.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

This law is wrong in many ways. I understand and can appreciate the intent of the law. However, how can any law be applicable to just women and not also men. Isn't that discrimination? The law also doesn't require every picture taken in public to get the permission of the subject. How can you get the permission of every person in a public place in a crowded city? Finally, it's legal to take a persons picture in public as-long-as they do not complain about it? Why not just make it illegal to take any woman's picture in public without their written permission. Otherwise, the law is arbitrary and subject to be abused.

A lot of folks are making the spurious argument that a person's image can be used for porn or some other nefarious reason without their permission. Well, that has always been the case. It's just easier to do now because nearly everyone has a camera. Not only individuals, but the government is taking your picture all of the time. So are companies with their surveillance cameras. Every public place is subject to surveillance these days. Do we trust governments and corporations with our pictures but not the public?

3 ( +8 / -5 )

sfjp330Sep. 05, 2014 - 07:51AM JST

801215Sep. 05, 2014 - 07:41AM JST A man takes a picture (of a woman) without that person's consent. A clear violation of privacy.

There is no privacy in the public

that's utter nonsense. there are laws that protect your privacy even in public. no one can take your pic or film you without consent. what this old man did was odd and suspicious, and it was the correct decision to arrest him.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Stupid law, that means anyone flashing their mobile phone (with camera) anywhere can be arrested at anytime.

It could be potentially applied stupidly, but in this case the young woman was done justice. And if this guy is indeed a pervert, it could help stop him before it escalates into something like full-scale stalking.

Regardless of law though, I wish Japanese would come to realize that taking pictures of people without permission is just rude. Once a young lady came up to my toddler daughter with her big camera and just snapped like 5 consecutive photos right in her face without saying anything. At the time I was too shocked to say anything, but now I wish I had told her how rude she was.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I have done this but to a cashier in JP, she was so pretty i was stunned and wanted to take a souvenir photo of her, can't speak japanese.. So decided to fast snap a pixelated : unfocused image of her. Lets be practical, not all people have bad intentions, sometimes you just wanted to take a picture of someone because you think she's cute or something like that I don't know the culture in JP but really .. Law or without this law.. It all depends on the individual's intention/ peace all xD

0 ( +4 / -4 )

... Lets be practical, not all people have bad intentions, sometimes you just wanted to take a picture of someone because you think she's cute or something like that I don't know the culture in JP but really ...

Haha, now picture some big hairy dude a head or two taller than you in close proximity taking full-frame photos of YOU .... and leering ... eyes agog ... if he'd do that maybe he's licking his lips, too ...

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

As uncomfortable as it makes me to say, this IS a bad law. As America has shown with its asinine Stand-Your-Ground Law, you can't base public policy on how someone says the "feel". If there is no damage done then the picture is legal. By this reasoning no one should be able to take a picture of a crowded park, or inside a train for any reason. It IS a slippery slope.

Protecting woman and girls from inappropriate treatment (including unsavory hidden cameras) is important but punishing regular photographers isn't doing that.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

yet another example of a well thought out law, man the politicians were on their game that day

0 ( +2 / -2 )

This is a sad day for anyone in japan who is a street photographer. I suppose that in today's day and age, Henry Cartier-Bresson, Eliot Erwitt, Moriyama and so forth would be in jail now.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

"Or most of the programs on Japanese TV?". This is what makes the law's utter nonsense

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

though I take photo's the issue of privacy and asking permission is more in vogue today- yes you can still take some in public, but when you spend your time creating a portfolio with a women in the next seat- sorry a bit too much without a waiver signed.

i think if the nascent photog had a at least asked and was granted permission .

so sorry those who feel this was a "regular" photographer- a regular photographer sitting next to someone would have asked the question at a minimum.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Considering that earlier this week it was announced that the 'average working housewife' would have her photo taken more than 150 times a DAY by surveillance cameras then I think it is time the law was updated. Obviously it should also cover men, but, as Japan is about 100 years behind on equality I doubt that will happen.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This is a great law, and the man deserved to be collared. This law should also be extended to include men in its protection. Did this man ask the woman could he photograph her? That is the question. You can't just snap your camera at anyone you feel like. People should have the right to not end up in a random stranger's photo album or home video.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

What a load of bolleaux.

This over-sensitive woman gets her photo taken without her consent from the minute she steps out of her house until she steps back into it. CCTV is everywhere, we live in a panopticon.

I read somewhere the NSA can remotely access our webcams too, which makes sure I always give them a good view of my broad buttocks after (and also before, for maximum effect) I've showered.

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

Didn't know about this one "Law"...I understand common sense, privacy, etc...(never thought of taking pics like this myself), but arresting the guy...it seems a bit too harsh !!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

If you don't ask for permission before taking a photo or filming, then it's a violation of the law. It's the same in Australia. This guy pretty much had it coming. And by the way, America is pretty screwed if it allows people to take pictures of others WITHOUT permission or adding mosaics. Not only women; taking pictures of either gender without permission is illegal. If he had asked for permission then it would've probably been fine (although no guarantee the woman would have said yes). Well putting the law aside, it is rude, stupid and a form of perversion to take a picture of someone without their permission. They have their clothes on? So what? You take a picture, and keep it with you. Why did you take it? Here's the answer: Although it isn't porn, you're still a pervert. You think they're cute or attractive? Definitely a pervert. Now, concerning surveillance footage etc, that isn't perversion, that's for security's sake so don't use it as a shield for your perversion. By the way...if you didn't actually take a picture and you aren't guilty then nothing apart from talking to the police will happen. Plus, when you do use your phone for things other than photos/recording, do you happen to notice that IT TENDS TO FACE DOWNWARDS TO SOMETHING CALLED THE GROUND? Yes there is a mirror app on phones, and in those situations you do point it ahead (or to the ceiling), THE MAJORITY USING THAT APP ARE WOMEN SO DON'T EVEN TRY MAKING EXCUSES. The end :D

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Whaaaaat?? I've been to japan many times and took a ton of pictures of everything and everyone I came across even in the trains, I just didnt give a **** lol. I guess no one complained because I'm a handsome gaijin?? ^__^

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

While the police were right to arrest the guy for taking the woman's picture without her permission, the law itself is asinine, overly broad and misandrist--the law ONLY protects female humans of all ages! No mention of male humans!

This law should be either reworded or scrapped!

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Certainly taking a picture of the woman next to you in train without permission is not a good behavior. I stand to be corrected but most places with surveillance camera declare that camera is in operation. One can choose to go there or not. If one is taking a picture of many people crossing at Shibuya etc, this may be considered the person is amazed at the number of people crossing and many people in that picture cannot be identified easily. So, taking picture in public places may be permitted on case by case basis. For me, this particular case is not acceptable. The question is; what will he do with that personal picture? There should be limit to what is acceptable or not.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Aw man, nobody ever takes pictures of me except my wife.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

that's utter nonsense. there are laws that protect your privacy even in public. no one can take your pic or film you without consent. what this old man did was odd and suspicious, and it was the correct decision to arrest him.

That's actually not true, at least not in the United Sates. It is legal to photograph or videotape anything and anyone on any public property without their consent unless they are somewhere that they should expect a reasonable amount of privacy (such as a bathroom stall). This is how the paparazzi make a living doing so, as long as they do not impede that person (such as block them from walking down a sidewalk) they can photograph them without their consent.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The headline is incorrect because the man wasn't arrested for taking a photo. He was arrested under the Anti-Nuisance Ordinance, which is mentioned in the post too! If he also happens to be married then his wife might give him hell too!

6 ( +7 / -1 )

tideofironSEP. 05, 2014 - 10:59AM JST

It's hilarious to see how many people here have absolutely no clue about privacy laws and photography. In most countries, it is and always has been fair game to take a photo or a video of a person (as long as it isn't anything obscene) in a public place without requiring their permission.

In some countries you will be insulted or even beaten while taking photos without of ordinary people without their permission. So, I completely understand value of that Japanese law.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Sorry, but I'm inclined to side with the woman here, mainly because we're talking about a incident that happened specifically in Japan. The fact that the law governing this particular type of offense seems designed to protect the privacy rights of women exclusively speaks volumes about what I mean by that. For those who still don't understand what I mean, three words: Women Only Trains.

Japan is a society that has for so long openly embraced the idea that women exist almost exclusively for sexual objectification and gratification by men that laws seeking to drag Japan, or more specifically Japanese men, into a more enlightened 21st Century -- kicking and screaming, if need be -- have become a necessity.

Enter the train photographer: Yes, in what many would consider a normal world, simply being in a public place like a train strips one of any reasonable expectation of privacy. However, Japan isn't like most places, and it's not at all unreasonable to find that the photographs this man took end up on some adult website somewhere to be ogled by other strangers. The poster Toshiko got hammered with the thumbs-down for suggesting as such, but she's absolutely on the mark. This is precisely what happens with the more prurient hidden camera work in Japan. And lawmakers know it (although I wouldn’t dare to speculate why).

Even as a man, I too would be uncomfortable if some stranger decided to just randomly take a full body shot of me without saying a word. That's just . . . creepy. What compelled him or her to shoot a photo of me in the first place? And what does he plan to do with my recorded likeness from there on? And why didn't he simply ask for permission first? That, at the very least, is a common courtesy. Even professional photojournalists, protected as they are by freedom of press laws, generally tend to adhere to a simple, "Do you mind if I take your photo?"

Do I think the guy who took the picture should be thrown in jail for what he did? No. It's a public nuisance violation, so the punishment should fit the crime with say, a monetary fine of some sort. But I'm afraid I don't believe Japanese society, or again more specifically Japanese men, are quite ready to embrace some of the responsibilities inherent in the exercise of basic freedoms, like brazenly (or secretly) taking a photo of someone on a train. As silly as it sounds, this guy likely would not have gotten into trouble if he had been more discrete about taking the photo, thus sparing the woman the discomfort that led her to report him to the police in the first place.

Here's the thing about freedom: Just because the law says you can do something, that doesn't necessarily mean you should.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

i kind of agree that if she doesn't want to be photographed she should be able to prevent it. as for street photographers, i think that the whole oeuvre sucks.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

If this illegal, why aren't there jails filled with paparazzi?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

utter nonsense. next step will be a law against looking at someone.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

oneduce: I wonder how this extends to Japanese people taking pictures of who they consider to be 'gaijin' on trains

Stick finger up your nose before they click the button, get bonus points.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Watch out around when you take that selfy! you never knowwhatperson might decide to take offense and turn your fun time into a nightmare. Can we arrest police and government for the street cams? The convenience stores for outdoor cams?

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

From what I read here, it seems like some of the photographers in 'photo of the day' could be arrested as well. If the lady felt uncomfortable and had the determination to report it to have him arrested, she could have taken the other route of asking him to stop and remove the picture as well.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

illegal or not, why on earth people with cameras think they have a "right" to take pictures of whoever they want is a mystery.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

With so many pervs in this country this law is needed. Call the cops and have them sort out if there was a violation. Of course, she could have grabbed his phone and smashed it, but then she would have been arrested for destruction of property. If it was my wife and I was sitting next to her, I would have been arrested for destruction of property. I don't get the paparazzi or surveillance comments. How could you be drinking on a Friday afternoon

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Of course this should be against the law... I don't see what the fuss is about.

Taking a picture of anyone, man or woman, sneakily without their permission suggests there's something weird about the photographer's motives anyway. And it doesn't have to be taken up someone's skirt to make it creepy or sexual. Not everyone is turned on by the same thing - who knows what they're going to take that photo home and fantasize about? There are plenty of people who'd get off simply on the fact the photo was taken without permission - it's all about power and taboos.

I'm not saying lock these people up, but they should at the very least be cautioned and have the picture deleted from their phone. Whatever the law says, it's a violation of privacy and just rude.

On a more personal note, when I was on the train the other day the young man sittting next to me held out his phone with the front camera on and started enthusiastically posing for some kind of selfie with me. It was so out of the blue it was more funny than anything else, but yeah... surprising. He stopped and looked sheepish when I gave him a incredulous what-do-you-think-you're-doing!? face. Guess since I'm a foreigner in Japan people think it's fair game.

It doesn't help that Japan (and my home country, England, to a certain extent) have this "look the other way" culture. It means that even if people see this kind of thing happening, there's almost no chance anyone's going to step in.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

And yet Japanese TV thinks it is okay to start filming random foreigners arriving in Narita airport and ask them why they are in the country, before showing these unrequested interviews to an audience of millions. There seems to be no privacy law or thoughts of discomfort applying to this garbage TV show, so why to a random photograph? Japan truly is the land of contradictions, aka illogical nonsense.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

next time i see a tv camera man pointing his camera at me i'll call the police.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

When in Rome, right?

Yeah, in the states we can take pictures of people without consent, most likely because we don't have the rampant problems of groping or up-skirting or whatever that Japan does. It happens, sure, but nearly like we see here.

...therefore, is it really any surprise to see laws trying to curb those behaviors?

On the same note though, I really think Japan should do more to empower women... Protecting them is all well and good, but sometimes it is to the point of coddling or putting them in the mindset that they have to goto the police or whatever for help. If she had told him off (politely or otherwise) I wager he would have stopped.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Even so much as pointing a camera in the victim’s direction without taking a picture is grounds for arrest.

Anyone here own a smartphone with a camera? Well, if you're male you can now be arrested for no reason.

Why? Because you pulled out your phone to check your mail in an area where there was one paranoid woman who thought you MIGHT be taking a picture. The back of your phone (the camera) was pointed in her direction and therefore you're guilty.

Well done Japan, you've just produced the most sexist piece of legislation anywhere in the world. And we're seeing more and more of this sexism in Japan.

If anyone ever threatens to arrest you for this just point out that the law is unconstitutional and therefore void:

Section III.14 - All of the people are equal under the law and there shall be no discrimination in political, economic or social relations because of race, creed, sex, social status or family origin.

Any law that allows a man to be arrested for an offense that a woman could commit without penalty is not equal, and therefore unconstitutional.

End of story. Any good lawyer should be able to get this guy off. Challenge 2 is finding a good lawyer in Japan.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Akkio "If you don't ask for permission before taking a photo or filming, then it's a violation of the law. It's the same in Australia." And which law would that be, sunshine? I do love the way commentators such as your good self confidently proclaim "xxx is AGAINST THE LAW". Amusing thing is they can rarely ever cite THE LAW.

In your case you've got buckleys, because you are, quite simply, wrong. There is NO tort of privacy in Australia. If you are in a public space, and the person creating an image is not making one that is lewd or indecent, then, generally speaking you are fair game. Not that I am not endorsing a "free for all" approach to shooting people on the street. I believe in good manners and respect for others as much as most other people. But this is quite a different situation to asserting that it is AGAINST THE LAW to photograph a person in Australia without their consent.

Please. Cite this law you speak of. Is it a statute? A precedent case? Come. We are waiting, expectantly for your legal revelation.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Seems like a bit of a gray zone law, but these cases seem to use it the way it was intended. Taking pictures of people on the train is a little weird and you could probably get a warning from police in other countries too.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

i know someone who calls himself a "street photographer" and thinks it is his inalienable right to take pictures of whatever or whoever he wants. walks around with a camera and kit all the time (looks like some lame tourist mostly) and throws a wobbly if told cameras not allowed into a venue or if someone objects to having their picture taken. essentially a loser and would benefit enormously from some jail time. so I think i am on the side of the poor put upon woman here.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

the important thing is intension of photographer behind photography. what he want to do with that snap in photoshop.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Japan, please don't become like the UK and the rest of the western world! Japan is one of the few places in the world where you can still go outside with a camera and take photos in public without harvesting negative attitude, being threatened with physical violence or have your camera destroyed or gasp being arrested. The s*** has seriously hit the fan with people being paranoid about being photographed!

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

CGB. Why do you think it is ok to point your camera at anyone you choose and take their picture?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

What about making eye contact on the train? That seems to make many people very uncomfortable, could that be a violation of the Anti-Nuisance Ordinance?

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Most people here cannot make difference between action and intent. If not hurt, why think the other will with a photo ? Be smart and smile ;)

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Please ask for permission before you take someones photo, this is just basic act of respect.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

The piece doesn't give much detail on the law but on face of it if the guy is being a nuisance. Taking multiple full body shots of someone without their consent could be quite intimidating.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Don't take anyone's photo without permission. Period.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

We;;, here's a breakdown of photography in public places of people in a nutshell. http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Ftonymcnicol.com%2F2009%2F01%2F26%2Fphotography-in-japan-what-are-your-rights%2F&h=sAQEOzj7Z

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What happened to the Free World? I always have taken pics or videos for years of the basic daily life in Japan and many other countries. Privacy what does that mean, one is doing something wrong and doesn't want to get caught? I get on the train, turn on the video and walk down the aisle filming. Life as it is...I don't even see who I'm filming until I get home and take a look at it. Oh, she's cute (I think) but I had no knowledge of taking her video/photo...it's just life as it goes on. Shinjuku, Shibuya crossing, onsen, beaches, izakaya, typhoons, festivals, stations etc....now we can't take pics or videos? I don't care if you take my pic or video. Come on over...take as many as you like...

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

The law in Japan is the same as the US & the UK to an extent. Google "shouzouken" which is one's right to image. In a nutshell, candid photography is in no way illegal. Not taking the photo, anyway. Selling/distributing is a different story. If you go on a crusade to say that taking photos without ones consent on the street is illegal/immoral/pervy then you're pissing on an art form. Makes me glad I left the country.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Then I am guilty, too. I have taken some interesting photos of an old farming lady I have seen on trains I use. She has a backpack bigger than she is. She sometimes lies down and sleeps on the way home.

I have also taken photos of girls with clothes or bags with something written on them in English. They would be embarassed if they knew what was written. "Too drunk to ..."

Once a girl got angry with me when she thought I was taking her photo. Actually, I was taking a photo of a dog of the four-legged variety that I was taking for a walk. The dog was amusing herself chasing pigeons.

Ellon Lee, if I asked a Japanese girl and she said yes, I would probably not take a photo. I never take photo of people doing a peace sign. That is just my rule. People no longer look natural when asked. Naturally, if someone verbally or by body language shows disapproval, I will not offend them.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Akiba Angel:

Pervy/weird, right? https://www.flickr.com/groups/2634506@N24/

:-/

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

It's a shame that so many here are airing their ignorance. Mainly those apologising for this guy, and using as a defense, instances of TV crews pointing cameras, or surveillance cameras, etc. It's this very form of dull-mindedness, this inability to discern the difference between some freak taking an uninvited photo, or a tourist taking an undesired photo of a local, and cameras put in place for security ( please save the conspiratorial comments for another day) or news crews, TV crews, etc-- this is why we need ridiculous laws in the first place. When interpreting what's right and what's wrong, such silly judgement is quite dangerous. Laws may exist or not exist, but to follow or not follow without exercising the ability to interpret and discern, and judging everything as either black or white is stupid. Sure, there may not be any laws to prevent unwanted photo-taking, and anyone might be 'fair game'; but only an ignoramus needs a law to tell them they shouldn't venture into others privacy lens first. These people need their camera privileges revoked and need to be sat in a corner for 5 or 10 minutes.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Has anyone actually seen the photo in question? Go to the Flickr group I posted which is devoted specifically to candid street photography in Japan (on Film, nonetheless). Please tell me (with a straight face) that it is "wrong" and this anti-nuisance law isn't yet ANOTHER self-reassuring measure for Japanese cops.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

"Even so much as pointing a camera in the victim’s direction without taking a picture is grounds for arrest."

Cripes!

"Should I sue any shop that has a surveillance camera?"

Oh my...

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Okay, it's one thing to take pictures of people's private parts. Got it. It's wrong. It's another to start taking pictures of people being people. It's not offensive. It doesn't violate you. Unless the person is actively stalking you, there's no malicious intent. While maybe they could have asked, they weren't trying to peep at something. And even just scrolling by without intention of taking a picture of you at all? What if they were just taking a "selfie"? What if someone was walking by when you snapped the picture? And even with this logic, that would mean all those places with security cameras would be breaking the law too. All someone would have to say is "The camera on the street corner is making me feel uncomfortable" according to this law. How is it any different than someone with a cell phone making a video of their experience or everyday life? Because it provides security? Look at the bombings in Boston. It wasn't a security photo that ID'd the brothers. It was a recording from a cell phone. Maybe this law needs to start being a little more specific, like lewd and photos completely violating basic human rights, not everyday photography.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

dumb law....so if some woman takes a picture of a man, would she be arrested too? i think not!....such double standards instigated by right winged women's groups pushing for destabilization and inequality

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Man arrested for taking 'normal' picture of woman on train

Ahhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!! He took a picture of another person sitting next to him!!!!!!!! Doesn't he realize that.........wait a second, have to put on my silly PC thinking cap on.........Okay, I now have the mindset of a 5 year old.

Doesn't this evil MAN understand that he should have first made sure that he wasn't violating any PC laws that are on the books?

Next, sure the picture he took didn't harm anyone, but she could have felt that he invaded her (imaginary) personal space had violated her in someway........ Okay, can someone tell me again what the heck he did wrong because my silly PC cap fell off.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Now, for a bit of a reality check, what about folks taking picture of all those drunk office-men and women (trying to keep it as PC as I can) laying on the floor of the train?

Can those drunks or their drunk fiends also call the cops and have those evil picture taking none-PC evil doers thrown in jail?

I love taking pictures all over Japan with my cameras, if I happen to take a picture of another human being (yes, it's happened on more than one occasion in a none sicko way) in one of my many shots can the PC police come and haul me off too?

Sure, the guy should have asked, but she was in a public place and his shots weren't offensive, well they weren't offensive to most humans.

What's next, being arrested for taking pictures of police committing crimes or violating people's civil liberties?

Oh wait, that already happens......

Sorry if I have offended any of our fine PC Liberals here, my intension wasn't to insult you, my intention was to make fun of the laws you create, that do nothing but imprison the innocent.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

I'm having a bit of a hard time with this article because let's be honest...it's essentially trying to justify a creeper's behavior.

The right to one's own image is nothing new. Countries like Austria have it. And the desire to know where your face is floating around and who does what with it is perfectly reasonable as well. And yes, even in the public sphere you have a right to privacy. We are not talking about group shots (where you become part of the masses) or CCTV (which also usually gets deleted), but if you take a picture with a focus on one person, you need their permission. It's as simple as that.

I do feel a little sorry for hobby photographers who feel like this limits them in their art, but not all people are okay with having their picture taken and you have to respect that.

Now back to the man in the article. I suppose the woman should have felt flattered that a complete stranger was taking her pictures? And that he had something to take home with, so that he could look at her again and again, and maybe feel good about it... Now who would feel uncomfortable about that?

Last time I checked the right to one's own picture applied to both women and men. It is however a sad reality that women are more often the focus of unwanted and persistent attention, and therefore feel less safe out in the streets. I would like to think that most men acknowledge this issue and have a little sympathy with the ladies, instead of going on a defensive "it's all about me and how I'm being blamed" rant. As for how to not look like a creeper: I usually tilt my smartphone down when I read it, instead of holding it up, so the whole "pointing a camera in the victim's direction" problem has never even presented itself to me.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

how is this so hard to understand? Dont take a picture of someone without asking their permission first. Simple.

Twice (that I noticed) I had a camera shoved in my face, one at Daimon station by a guy who snapped the pic and ran. He knew he was in the wrong. So did the station officer I told who chased after him. The second time two very creepy Chinese businessmen tried to subtly snap one as I walked past. It was very unnerving. I confronted them and they immeidately started apologising and trying to delete it. Again - they knew they shouldnt have done it.

On the other hand, many people over the years have been polite enough to come up to me and ASK if they can take a photo. No problem. They may have subversive reasons, I dont know, but Im much more comfortable with being asked and able to say yes or no, than having a sneaky shot taken which DEFINITELY suggests some subversive reason.

There is a big difference between taking a photo of someone and inadvertently getting someone else caught in the background, and taking a photo of someone directly without their permission. How people cant see the difference is mystifying to me and makes me wonder how many people are trying to justify their own behaviour.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Spent most of my day at the beach taking photo's and thought about this post.

Parents would be very unhappy and probably concerned enough to phone the police if someone was taking photo's of young children in a public park or outside a school on a public street.

It needs a bit of common sense and maybe the guy should have asked the woman first.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

If you ask first shoot later you ruin the shot. Plain and simple. This guy might have had bad intentions (honestly I don't know), but that's not the argument here. The argument is how much privacy can one expect in public, and the answer is basically none. If you could, you'd walk around with a lot less clothing and not pay attention to anything around you. As per before, there's an entire type of photography devoted to shooting the subject without disturbing it. Generally when I shoot candid street photos anywhere (and I've done it extensively in Tokyo) I shoot from the hip and am almost always unnoticed. Basing the law off of it's name, I'm assuming I would not be breaking it as I'm not being a nuisance to anyone. No camera in face = no problem, right? Well, that's pretty stupid, too. Would you rather have someone w/ a DSLR walking around taking photos or a mobile phone? Get real, people. The world is a canvas, and you are a part of it.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Professional camera men show their ID at entrance of meeting. They also have 'tasuki' (showing which media they belong) on their shoulder to hip and use huge cameras on 4 stools. When chasing stars, they are same way. They don't use I-phones or I-pads. Media do not use camera men who are still new in the field. Assistants to stars/politicians chase away I-phone using street camera men.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Giving women the power to make laws based on feelings.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

don't take pictures of strangers without permission

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

@jounetsuyumeSEP. 06, 2014 - 01:50AM JST

don't take pictures of strangers without permission

''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

Best advise .

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Asking for permission ruins the moment! Each photo op has a magic moment that can not be faked! Some women shout "fire" for no reason... this is proof! I have had my photo taken before... and I am not the most attractive of the species. It didn't bother me in the slightest and I stood there for a few extra shots. Don't cry fire unless there is a fire!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

A pro street photographer is one thing. I can imagine sitting on the train and feeling extremely uncomfortable if a dude sitting next to me started taking my photo without asking permission. Given the situation it is rude and abnormal behavior. Deserving of arrest? I'm not sure, though I wouldn't want to confront the man myself. Someone who is doing something so rude and weird might do something worse if you confront them about it. As a woman myself I fully sympathize with the woman.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This kind enforcement of draconian laws in Japan is not surprising when you take into consideration how the police can detain you for 23 days without trial.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

In the height of summer there are always close up pictures of salarymen (and women) wiping the sweat from their brows with handkerchiefs. JapanToday has published many like these.

I wouldn't want my sweaty face posted online, it would be a "nuisance" to me. Would the photographer then be subject to arrest?

What's the difference?

What about at a sporting event? The picture of baseball player just as he makes an error. Embarrassing for him, a nuisance. Criminal?

Taking a picture of someone without permission is a breach of etiquette, and, frankly, creepy in the case. But criminal?

And to all the people saying it's illegal in country X, can you provide any actual citations?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I don't currently own a smartphone but usually there should be some indication that the camera of the phone is ready or taking pictures. Right? So if the camera light is on, and you are pointing to someone, it indicates you are taking a picture of that person. Reading/using and pointing/camera angles I guess would be very different. Right?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@manager

I don't currently own a smartphone but usually there should be some indication that the camera of the phone is ready or taking pictures

That's a legal requirement for all mobile phones here in Japan. This guy took a photo of a woman facing him so firstly he probably used the front facing camera and he must have seen that too?

In some countries, like Britain under the various anti terrorist acts you can be stopped and prevented from taking a street photo of say, what is considered to be a "sensitive building" or the cops show up because you are shooting in the middle of the night.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

So, why was the man arrested? Cases like this have made the news in the past few years, falling under the aforementioned Anti-Nuisance Ordinance. The law is quite broad in its language, but seeks to protect one thing: the safety and well-being of women. The law states that it doesn’t matter what you are taking a picture of, if the woman being photographed is made to feel uncomfortable or starts feeling anxious, you are liable to be arrested. Even so much as pointing a camera in the victim’s direction without taking a picture is grounds for arrest.

It sounds like the police will be quite busy arresting the paparazzi and sightseers for taking pictures of women in any crowd or if the women are standing alone, if the woman feels anxious or uncomfortable.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Those kind of laws are popping up in several countries. Those are dangerous, too restrictive and ambiguous! A similar case happened recently in UK. Now with this kind of law, a street photographers like Henri Cartier-Bresson might end at the police station in Japan after taking a photo of a women? Where is the common sense? What a waste of time and money just because someone "feels uncomfortable".

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It should be illegal to take anyone's photo without their permission, not just women.

It is utterly unacceptable that men should not be protected by this law.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I remember the saying " take a picture, why don'cha!' In reference to someone staring a at you intently. Well, this guy took things literally when in reality, it means, " hey, I'm uncomfortable with your intent, move the hell on!"

0 ( +0 / -0 )

We don't know this guy's business or skill. Is he a porno photo producer?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I think this law is reasonable.

There's a lot of case in my country about a guy threaten their ex to expose their sex tape to public if she didn't do what they ask.

I once caught my teacher took photo of **his students,female students in fact. Without permission. He's a pedophile.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Maybe women in Japan should wear the burka or, men in Japan cannot have any device that can take a picture.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@KapunaSEP. 07, 2014 - 06:26AM JST

Maybe women in Japan should wear the burka or, men in Japan cannot have any device that can take a picture

''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

That does not work when porno business men use face and somebody's naked body in their production process.. Also they paste and make sexual activity scenes.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

This is anti nuisance law is a very good piece of legislation and I want the Keystones to strenuously enforce it.

I was innocently driving my car on a country road and had my picture taken by an organised group of pervs who then passed it onto some of their other kinky and dangerous friends. I never gave any approval for having my picture taken nor was such approval asked for.

The kinky and dangerous friends then started sending me extortionate letters demanding I attend their office to be abused and humiliated and pay them large sums of money to stop the harassment. I couldn't get them to stop and had to give into their demands to pay what they quaintly called a speeding fine and to further their kinky jollies they also took my driving licence off me.

This unauthorised use of speed cameras is an invasion of privacy and a major nuisance and needs to be stopped now.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Good thing he didn't commit that crime against humanity in feudal japan, could have cost him his head. All the young lady had to do was ask him to stop and remove her picture from his phone.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Presumably all of the commenters complaining about the law are men, and 90% most of them have taken photos of women on trains without their consent.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

you cannot have a law that is gender exclusive, already Japanese lawmakers are accusing the police and the legal authorities of violating the constitution and human rights laws with this ordinance, and it has already been abused. make it equal or take it away and replace it with something more specific to deviance then it would make sense.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Americanhonor: you cannot have a law that is gender exclusive, already Japanese lawmakers are accusing the police and the legal authorities of violating the constitution and human rights laws with this ordinance, and it has already been abused. make it equal or take it away and replace it with something more specific to deviance then it would make sense.

;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

Does this law specify men only? or women only? Which gender is specified????

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I think this is ridiculous as well.

I am studying to be an English teacher in Japan right now and when I get there, I don't want to worry about getting arrested because someone happens to be around the general area of the thing I'm trying to take a picture of.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Perhaps he should have asked her first if he could take a picture of her.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Ok First off, you can't create a laws that assumes the accused is guilty. That develops a 'witch hunt' which can be manipulated in so many ways. Next you can't make a gender based rule, because by doing so create a lot of exceptions (a woman taking a photograph of another woman without her consent.....not a crime?). Finally If the accuser only has to feel uncomfortable to raise a complaint, what is the standard for discomfort? It's 'subjective', (chemical reactions based emotions combined with an analysis of the situation using previous interactions....) In a country where people have a lot of trouble dealing with stress and emotional states, it would be very bad to start basis laws and ordinances on feelings.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

ok well then government or private security cameras that zoom in people as they walk down the street should also included. after all I dont give permission for anybody to take my picture/video without my consent. if this was in a western country lawyers would tear this Ordinance to shreds.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I'm fine with this being considered a petty crime with small fine ticket, but definitely not criminal record. By all accounts I can see why it would be annoying to have a camera in your face on the morning commute, but it certainly isn't something to be traumatized over either.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Presumably all of the commenters complaining about the law are men, and 90% most of them have taken photos of women on trains without their consent.

The vast majority of comments here cover one of two views:

the specific case: what happened to this man is an arguably reasonable consequence of his acts

the relevant law: as it appears biased

Both aspects are only roughly detailed in the article itself.

In case it is not obvious, these two views are perfectly compatible and do not collide directly: a biased law can still result in a fair outcome when the right case comes up.

Allow me to use two personal examples that will illustrate this for you:

I have a wife and two daughters, and nothing matters more to me than knowing them safe. I would definitely not condone molesters and underskirt photographers, and I find it absolutely normal that someone disturbing one's well being for his own ends should be penalized somehow for the sake of the public order.

In the 5 years I have lived in Tokyo (and I firmly believe that Tokyo is not like the rest of Japan in case you feel the urge to compare,) therefore riding the train on a daily basis, I have occasionally been the target of what I would describe as nut jobs. They are fairly rare given the density of population, but trains are where all sorts of people gather every morning and evening, and the laws of numbers (probability of meeting a weirdo times the number of people times the number of days in a year) eventually lead you on the path of people you wish you never came across. I have been elbowed for no reason, underwent the loud complaint of a strangely dressed lady who complained I smelled (I don't believe that I do) etc... Then you get to read much worse on places like Japan Today, but let us keep that in the "freak incident" category. All in all, the point is: you will occasionally meet strange people in Tokyo. Now put this into context: we are in a country that considers you guilty until proven innocent in case a woman complains about harassment. Heck, there was even stories where they released some poor guy after 3 years of jail just because the police never bothered looking at the footage of the bus he was riding... Even lawyers advise that if you find yourself the target of such accusation, you do not try to prove your innocence, just run away! Now, as if this possibility not being enough, comes this law that states that simply holding your smartphone in what could be interpreted as the direction of a woman, is ground enough for her having you arrested because she felt "uncomfortable." This effectively makes any male smartphone owner a potential target to any female passerby in need of some action.

I am no law specialist, nor have I read the actual text. But if things are as they are presented in this article, everything that has been said in previous comments regarding the biased nature of this law (mono-gender, based on a subjective and one-sided argument, etc...) is indisputable.

Finally, this could probably be interpreted as the usual knee-jerk reaction-type law creation: Japan lawmakers tend to try and re-establish some balance by empowering the side they consider weakened in a specific situation. The problem here is that by scaring the potential ill-willed photographer, this law also introduces a legal loophole that any woman can use to hurt any individual of the population of camera-equipped man, guilty or innocent. Will this be a problem often? Hopefully not, but after experiencing years of daily commute in Tokyo, this kind of law just made me resent riding the train a little more.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I saw two girls taking pictures of a guy sleeping with his head back and his mouth wide open and snoring like Dagwood Bumstead on the train today, lol.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@Xinef: nice post. As far as evidence, usual should apply, cellphone contents, witness testimony, any CCTV footage. For the guy released after three years, if it is the teacher vs student on bus I read some or one of the articles on other newsite(s), it didn't seem so cut and dried that he was innocent.

AmericanHonor: already Japanese lawmakers are accusing the police and the legal authorities of violating the constitution and human rights laws with this ordinance

@AmericanHonor: How's that work? Lawmakers made the law and now they're complaining? Or is it national lawmakers complaining about local ordinance?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The thing is there is a thin line between violating your privacy and an Innocent shot, I mean if it came at the center of a photo being taken or deliberately when you are in the train or a plaza it shouldn't make feel uneasy because these shots are taken everyday everywhere, to me difference is when the picture is taken more than once, a woman wouldn't notice if an unwanted picture is taken just once, but when the picture is taken more than once it is annoying and upsetting if you have not consented.

The cases that the article refers to seem to point a photos taken deliberately, without consent (the first one was "full body shotS" meaning there was more than one) and the guy is arrested accordingly, as for the one that was sleeping on the train it also said it was more than once, however, you should not sleep in public, a train is not your private place, and if you sleep you are showing in public a private aspect of you.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

There's a camera on you everywhere you go. This is making me feel uneasy, uncomfortable. Please stop it!!

I've said it before and just like others before me. Women have it too good here. Anything they want.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I don't think there is enough information in this article to reasonably judge this specific incident. I do think this law is precariously perched upon a potentially very slippery slope.

I mostly agree with JoiceRojo:

The thing is there is a thin line between violating your privacy and an Innocent shot, I mean if it came at the center of a photo being taken or deliberately when you are in the train or a plaza it shouldn't make feel uneasy because these shots are taken everyday everywhere, to me difference is when the picture is taken more than once, a woman wouldn't notice if an unwanted picture is taken just once, but when the picture is taken more than once it is annoying and upsetting if you have not consented.

Basically, if someone indicates--verbally or otherwise--that they don't want their picture taken, then the photographer needs to respect their wishes. Paparazzi are irritating enough when they are going after public figures; unleashing them on individuals who are not in the public eye is undesirable.

On the other hand, from the article it seems that this law is written so broadly it could potentially apply to other situations--someone taking pictures at a festival (the Awa Odori, for example), or even taking pictures at famous landmarks in Kyoto or elsewhere. (I've taken shots at Kiyomizudera with people in the frame because there was no way to compose the shot without them in it). In these cases, I am less sympathetic. These are public events and public places where people should expect a lot of pictures to be taken (I'm even less sympathetic to the couple who photobombed my shot at the Sapporo Yuki Matsuuri in 2010. But I'm over that. Sorta. Maybe...) ;-) More seriously, the concern that I (as an enthusiastic if amateur photographer) have is how this law is enforced. Walking up to a stranger on the train, pulling out a camera, and snapping away is one thing (and I would agree it is wrong); taking pictures of the people participating at a festival is quite another (I would argue that this is not wrong).

One additional point-- the idea that we have the "right" to control if--and how--we appear in photographs brings up some pretty thorny issues. Remember the picture of the South Vietnamese General who was photographed executing an enemy soldier? I'll bet he wished he had the right to prevent that photo from being taken. Or the photograph of the sailor kissing the nurse to celebrate the end of WWII. Do you really think Eisenstaedt asked for permission before shooting that photo? Was he "wrong" for taking it? I don't think he was wrong; other people may think he was, and there may well be a debate to be had on these issues... But it's not a simple one.

More broadly, I think the increasing presence of cameras (security and otherwise) / phones / technology in general is going to challenge and compel changes in the way people think about privacy over the next few decades. Twenty years from now (heck, 5-10 years from now), people may roll their eyes at things we would consider horrifying today.

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the power to make laws based on feelings. thats what half of the Japanese legal system is made up of. personal feeling/cultural norms will always trumps common sense in Japan

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Well maybe getting arrested is a bit much. But why take pictures of strangers in the first place? I'm a bit weary these days anyways because my friend was photoshopped to appear as if she was giving a bj. How about just put the phone away?

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