Police in Hyogo Prefecture have arrested a man suspected of being a "chikan" (someone who gropes unsuspecting women on crowded trains). The suspect’s capture wasn’t the result of a sophisticated sting or surveillance operation, though.
As a matter of fact, the arresting officer didn’t even have to chase the man down, as the police claim he was caught red-handed when he grabbed the behind of a fellow passenger who’s also a policewoman.
Part of the reason some chikan get away with their crimes is that Japan’s packed commuter trains can be crowded enough to make identifying and physically apprehending them difficult. On top of that, whether they’re conscious of it or not, the offenders are often exploiting Japanese societal values.
Since conflict is to be avoided, many people won’t raise a ruckus unless they’re absolutely sure someone just copped a feel, and they’re also 100% confident who it was. At the same time, Japanese culture’s emphasis on not causing trouble for others often manifests as not sticking your nose into their disputes, so a woman who decides to confront a chikan can’t always count on her fellow passengers to lend a hand.
According to the arrest report, at around 7:55 a.m. on Dec 3, a 21-year-old policewoman with Hyogo’s Kawanishi police department was riding a limited express train on her way to start her shift. Somewhere between Kobe and Sannomiya stations, two of the busiest stops on the Kobe Line section of the JR Tokaido Line, the officer felt someone touch her behind.
Following the hand to its owner, the officer claims she found 35-year-old Masaaki Ukai, a resident of Himeji City. “You’re a chikan, aren’t you?” she asked Ukai, and took him into custody before he was booked by the prefecture’s Fukiai Precinct.
Media outlets report that upon learning the woman was a police officer, Ukai’s “spirits sank.” A trial date is yet to be set.
Sources: Nico Nico News, Livedoor
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