crime

Saitama police launch new unit to prevent groping on trains

66 Comments

In an effort to clamp down on groping and molestation aboard trains, the Saitama Prefectural police force launched a new unit comprising some 150 officers, mostly women, outside JR Omiya station on Thursday. Members of the new “Elimination of Molestation Patrol” unit handed out fliers at the station and patrolled various trains throughout the prefecture.

The team had its first success later in the day, when a plain-clothed female officer witnessed a man touching a high school girl aboard a train on the JR Takasaki line. The officer worked her way through the crowd and typed out a message on her cell phone declaring she was an officer and asking the girl if she had been molested, and showed the girl the message. The girl nodded and the officer apprehended the man - a 32-year-old unemployed resident of Kawagoe City.

According to police statistics, there were 106 reported cases of groping aboard trains in Saitama in the first eight months of this year, with many of them occurring during the morning rush.

Mihoko Akiyama, an assistant inspector, said: “I hope that victims get the courage to raise their voice, instead of simply putting up with the situation.”

© News reports

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66 Comments
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Rjaspl - what an ill-judged and inflammatory comment!

How come there are no complaints about women groping men. Oh ya, men would enjoy the attention.

imagine if someone said similar things about a girl 'enjoying the attention'. Its this kind of attitude that perpetuates the whole sorry affair. At least the J police are finally getting the idea and taking it seriously. I am a male, have been groped on the train by a female and i did not 'enjoy the attention'.

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S7ro9kGm3aQ,

" . . . Ummm. What?"

One of the biggest obstacles to tackling the groping/molestation problem on trains is that victims are hesitant to draw attention to themselves out of embarrassment or humiliation. They don't want to scream out, "Molester!" at the top of their lungs, alerting everyone around them, much like rape victims in the West don’t particularly like the idea of advertising their victimization in the press. So it makes catching these asshats even more difficult.

The police officer communicating with the girl via a typed out message was a way of keeping the offense discreet, preserving the victim’s dignity, while giving the officer the opportunity to verify an attack in a way that didn’t alert the perpetrator, giving him a chance to flee.

dasyhard,

" . . . some mean looking Samurais with swords displayed by their side . . . "

Just as there are no longer cowboys having shootouts at the O.K. Corral, there are not longer any samurai wandering the streets of modern Japan. There haven't been for about 120 years now.

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How come there are no complaints about women groping men. Oh ya, men would enjoy the attention.

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One exception - I've stepped in when some gaijin is assaulting / abusing a Japanese woman. Only in cases like that am I not worried about the situation being twisted by the police.

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I read of people making citizen's arrests on gropers here and physically restraining them..what is the legality of that? It is technically assault. What would happen if you grabbed a perp, just for the Japanese female to deny she had been groped in the first place? Not too hard to imagine happening for these eyes.The public need to be informed as to their rights and the proper course of action if such an event is witnessed.

I follow a basic premise as a foreigner in Japan: don't ever touch a Japanese person for any reason whatsoever. Ever. (Cue a slew of lame gf/wife jokes)

Now, back home is another matter entirely. Cracks knuckles

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The invention I'm currently working on will be a Godsend to women, police, and also the falsely accused.

My "electric knickers" are designed to deliver a shock to any chikans coming into contact therewith.

The current can be varied to suit the mood/general vindictiveness of the wearer, delivering anything from a mild tingle to an incontinence-inducing 500v. Justice is delivered swiftly only to those making physical contact. A range of attractive bras in pastel and Disney-character designs will follow this autumn.

There have been teething problems: wearer electrocution was one as was sparks "jumping" between wearer and hand rails/metallic accessories/old ladies' fillings.

One final warning: don't forget to turn then off before you go on a date girls!!

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I understand the need to be especially cautious, particularly with certain segments of the police dept., but no one is saying you need to break the guy's jaw. You're simply speaking up and using the tools available i.e. in this case, the culture of shame and "face" by pointing him out and if necessary, holding him for police (I'm thinking of a case fairly recently where I believe a 17 year old was being groped, and crying, when a fellow passenger stopped and held the guy until police arrived).

Being a foreigner certainly carries with it some baggage depending on all those involved, but if the girl / guy is visibly upset and not saying anything, I'm sorry...but you need to do something. We can't just turn a blind eye to things like this, regardless of consequences.

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'The public needs to be informed as to their rights and the proper course of action if such an event is witnessed'. --Good point.

Personally, I think gropers are cowards so it doesn't take much to stop them. Once I saw a young girl being humped by an old man on the train. (it wasn't even very crowded) After I realized that no one else was going to do anything, I just tapped him on the shoulder and he got off at the next stop. The cops can only do so much. We have to look out for each other!

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Groping is not acceptable behavior, however, that being said, just what does the public expect the police to do about it? It seems that even the victim can not open their mouth in protest even when in public as it happens? Just how much do you think big brother can do for you? Grow up and take care of yourselves, or at the least protest LOUDLY, ok? Geesh

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I think whatever our good intentions it is VERY difficult for foreigners - and most people here are - to be able to step in when faced with a situation like this. We all know of stories or have personal experiences of prejudice by the police. I myself was arrested with my two children when falsely accused of "attacking" a man with my pram. With my 1 year old baby in it! (The truth was he tried to upend it with his foot but lied to the police and they automatically believed him!)

In the face of this, whatever our good intentions, what can we possibly do? I would love to step in and help someone in trouble, but I am almost scared to these days.

This is a problem with society - with pervs who think it is OK to feel up young girls because the "go-ahead" is everywhere - manga, magazines, TV, Lolicon etc, and with girls raised to be quiet and demure and not fight back, and with a police force who generally really don`t take a lot of these reports seriously.

You can bet these guys wouldn`t try it so easily if they thought they were going to wind up named, shamed, prosecuted, or even if the girls learned to fight back.

If I see a girl being attacked on a train (because "attack" is the right word for this) I probably will still step in whatever the consequences because my conscience wouldn`t let me walk away. As for myself and my own daughter (and sons because as someone rightly pointed out women are not always the victims here) - well, I double dare them to try something!

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Shaolin7> exactly! I would be more than happy to intervene if it was my wife etc,but I have been charged for assault before in Japan,and we have all seen the anti-violence posters on Japanese trains.Most of us can imagine who will get the benefit of the doubt if blows are exchanged,even if acting in self-defence.I read of people making citizen's arrests on gropers here and physically restraining them..what is the legality of that? It is technically assault. What would happen if you grabbed a perp, just for the Japanese female to deny she had been groped in the first place? Not too hard to imagine happening for these eyes.The public need to be informed as to their rights and the proper course of action if such an event is witnessed.

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Is this Japan's version of a "QRF" (quick reactionary force)?, SHEESH! Instead of using young females, why don't they hire Sumo wrestlers or some mean looking Samurais with swords displayed by their side and this to me is a much greater deterrent than female officers who might just get groped too.

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The officer worked her way through the crowd and typed out a message on her cell phone declaring she was an officer and asking the girl if she had been molested, and showed the girl the message.

Ummm. What?

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This is good. About time they did something about these sickos.

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Not really...a perv's intent will always prevail and he/she will have to do it. If these ladies are in plain clothes they'll catch some.

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Hellhound, problems are only "dumb" to people who can't see what the big deal is.

I hope they don't expect the police officers in the photo to have much success as undercover cops. DOH! JT just blew their cover! :-0

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japan has some DUMB problems

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these grouper people need to get a life.

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I think this is a good initiative too. It sickens me to think that girls / women who are groped feel it's too much trouble to say something. They have every right to stand up for themselves. Once again however, as evidenced by several posters' anecdotes, you are working against a cultural mindset in an uphill struggle.

Osakadaz: while I applaud your restraint and understand your reasoning as to why you didn't grab that punk, I still wish you would have said something to him, even if it meant following him to another carriage to avoid embarassing the girl. If you're silent in the face of wrongdoing, it almost seems like implicit agreement, or at least apathy, and it simply reinforces the idea that they can continue to behave like this with impunity. I have to ask this question again -- if this were your sister, friend, wife, daughter...would you simply "let it go"? I'm certainly not encouraging you to hand out a beatdown, but at least speak up for people who maybe feel powerless to speak up for themselves.

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To all males, if you do not want any trouble keep your hands up and also your eyes!.....I myself like to use two loops instead of one. I can not seem to get my hands into one loop like most males. To all the gropers, stop, well that is unless you are a blue grouper. OooOOOOooo blue grouper, Oishii!

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I'm glad to see the J-cops taking an active role in combating groping! It's really ridiculous that it's such a problem that it would REQUIRE a whole task force. I understand that commuters can get packed like sardines in these trains, but that's no excuse for poor impulse control. If a man can't stand close to a woman without feeling the need to grab her, then obviously mommy and daddy didn't teach him to keep his hands to himself.

And I agree with 888naff that I hope this will help minimize false accusations. As much as I detest gropers, fondlers, and creepy leering jerks, I also feel no sympathy for a woman who would falsely accuse a man of groping her. They not only make the man's life miserable, but they make it all the harder for genuine victims to be believed when they come forward.

I'd love to see a story sometime soon about a groper unwittingly grabbing an undercover cop, and getting a sharp knee to the groin as a result. Man, that would make my day.

Good on you, Jcops! Let's hope it's successful in Saitama and spreads to the rest of the country! :)

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Undercover female cops on trains? This is a great idea! Creative use of cell phones too. Score one for the J-cops.

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"Saitama! Can anything good come from there?" he asked. John 1: 46

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So I guess we can look forward to the gropers heading to Tokyo and Chiba to get their rush hour fix. Would be an even greater idea if it were a national assault instead of just in Sleeztama.

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nice!

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Actually as a woman I feel I am lenient on groping...the trains are so packed it's hard to not have your hand on someone else, but if I feel that a mans hand is getting a bit to comfortable, and my hands are full with bags and such, a nice elbow in the general direction solves the problem, and gets everyone's attention, and I don't even have to say anything.

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all the anti groping squad should wear ultra short mini skirts with thigh high stockings to draw the gropers out. Why waste time watching the " show " then text message and show phone to victim ?

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Cool! Plain clothes police on trains are a great idea to stop groping. I can't wait until one of these officers gets groped... And I mean that because I want to see the guy being made an example of.

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It will be interesting to see whether this will change things....

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I hope they also target the false accusation and bribery from some women re groping as the consequences for their victims are far greater and I think this is a far far magnitudes more serious crime than groping.

Where as some say a slap in the face would deal with a groper and maybe some of these women don't really think groping is that serious anyway if they go round falsely accusing people of it so they can bribe them or just for kicks. Quite scary really being a man on a commuter train in Japan sometimes.. could have a massive impact on your life.

But not to say its just the men that do the groping either, but it will more likely be them that are victims of these false accusations.

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Go get them good, anti-groping squads.

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Sending a squad of young female cops out there makes the cops look like they're doing something. Like DJDailleult said, most cops make reporting a crime difficult to say the least.

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Osakadaz, that was very nice of you. I wish there were many like you. I understand your wife very well. Does not matter what you all think, but I will tell you how I felt when I was groped in Japan and outside. I felt yucky, terrified and ashamed that I was the victim of a pervert.In that momen some fear takes over and the mans face looks ugly and the feeling of shame overtook me that I did not know what to do next. Spent hours in the shower because felt very dirty.

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I never understood, what's the kick of gropping someone, especially in a train. I guess some japanese males have a real problem with their sexuality...

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“I hope that victims get the courage to raise their voice, instead of simply putting up with the situation.”

I knew a woman who did that and she said she ended up spending seven hours at the police station. Said the cops were very nice to her though!

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My wife is due to have a caesarean section in 20 days and she refuses to stand near the priority seats and knock some salaryman or young bird out of their comfort zone.She is petrified of inconveniencing anyone or making a scene even though the priority seats are there for people like her.Now if Japanese women haven't got the backbone to even do that, when the safety of themselves and their baby is on the line,then don't expect them to do anything when they are groped.

A sleazeball sat next to the girl in front of me once and seemed to wedge himself right up next to the girl next to him and it didn't surprise me when the girl stood up and moved seats to see the guy had been fondling her breast.But..the girl said nothing so he went to another carriage to look for someone else. He looked like a punk and I certainly wasn't going to get into a fight with him if the victim herself couldn't be bothered.I did pull her up about it before I left the train and told her that she should have brought our attention to his actions and that she had let herself and other females down by her weakness.I feel bad about doing that now,but I was pissed off at the time.

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Another waste of tax money - speak up people! Someone is feeling you up grab their hand and raise it in the air and shout who's hand is this touching me?

No.

It's not a waste of tax money - a lot of those being groped are basically children and you can hardly blame them for not being brave enough to speak up.

Yes.

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Ratpack: God, I couldn't agree more. Give voices to girls... but it's so against their culture, they'll never do it. rolls eyes

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It's always a great idea to fix a problem after the problem has gotten out of hand, no? Why not also try to curb the ongoing cycle as well by cracking down on these little 'lolitas' that dress up like sailor moon magna hotties and then wonder what the fuss is all about when some prev stares at them, snaps an 'up skirt' photo or grabs a 'cheek'. Crack down on the underage porn as well. I do like the idea of undercover cops catching the prevs in the act but I think that posting their photos when convicted would be an even better punishment because of the family shame and shame in the neighbourhood would be a great way to stem those urges.

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Yeh, as much as I like anyother male loves walking behind the shorter than your underwear type skirts worn by the "why do they always seem to be just busting into puberty?" age group, wolfpacks dead on target, and JT editors seem to agree because they haven't omitted his comment yet. Couple this with all the xxx magazines in convenient stores nationwide and who the xxx is kidding who? Its all geared to these type of gropers. So it'll take a lot of work by the gov't to stem the magazines, the vvideos (also sold nationwide at the convenenient stores) and the what not to stem this "comfort girl" mentality of modern day Japan. This is an issue Pigeon Yama aught to attack as vigorously as Talibin education!

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Omiya is a good place to start. Sodom and Gomorrah!

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Uh-uh, I think I've slipped, sorry. The officer showed the young lady her, that is the officers, phone?

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Wait on, I've seen quite a few women react visibly to being groped but it's the men and women around the victim that just look around meekly avoiding getting involved. It's us passengers that should get out of our comfort zone and point at the groper and alert others. But I'm just as bad as anyone because as a jingai I felt it wasn't my place to say anything.

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Yes a good catch - but was it a set-up? The officer knew the young lady's phone number?

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wolfpack: couldn't agree with you more. It's great that they are doing something but to really stop this from happening, some changes have to be made. First, young boys and girls have to be taught what to do if they are touched inappropriately. And they have to learn that it is not socially acceptable to touch others. Second, men and women have to set the example by speaking up when this happens and helping out others too!

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Hey i have an idea.....why not "teach" girls not to be mindless morons and stand there like shop window mannequins while they are getting groped. The gropers in their demented minds think that the no no no silent sqeals mean yes yes yes as are seen in mangas and videos. Hey girls SCREAM "FU&K OFF" as soon as you feel someone touching you. Then turn around and drop him with your knee in his groin....simple. Case solved. No need for extra funds to provide undercover cops. Just educated schoolgirls on how to be assertive.

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Doesn't this program simply teach the police officers how not get caught anymore?

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Mihoko Akiyama, an assistant inspector, said: “I hope that victims get the courage to raise their voice, instead of simply putting up with the situation.”

the fear probably comes from the fact that even if they say something to tha guy the other people on the train will "fall asleep" of "read their paper". this female officer force is the only thing that could make an impact.

but the WOMEN not the young girls that have this happen to them should learn to speak up.

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Pocketbunny: sorry but I'm confused. Is "here where they don't get groped like they do there" japan? Is there America?

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I think what they really need is to increase penalties for this. Instead of letting of the men with just a slap on the wrist, send em up for actual jail time. If the penalties are increased, it will make men think twice about doing it.

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The picture accompanying this article should show a rear view of the anti-groping task force.

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"I've come across a lot of exploitation of seemingly underage girls"

Yeah, seems to be pretty common unfortunately. I assume the rail companies are being forced to pay for this?

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I don't know if groping on public transportation is only an issue in Japan, but it does seem to be a significant problem. Because young girls are so often the target of the chikan, it's a good idea to put together special police units to target specific problems like this. However, there is a bigger cultural problem - the over-sexualization of underage girls in Japanese society. I'm no prude, but I've come across a lot of exploitation of seemingly underage girls. It's almost like encouraging people with pedophile tendencies to act on their impulses.

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I think that is an absolutely great idea. I don't know why they didn't come up with it sooner. I hope that those who are caught groping these young children get convicted. Kind of an off subject question...Does Japan have a website to see sex offenders in there area? Also do they have a registry for these offenders?

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How to waste tax money ?It can not collect from love hotel whole of Japan? But why not write in Train no groping ? There are half naked poster advertised. why not stop by authoriies of this kind of earning money by train compmany?

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Get to the root of the problem, Japanese men reading porn comics on the train for starters.

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It's not a waste of tax money - a lot of those being groped are basically children and you can hardly blame them for not being brave enough to speak up.

I agree. Those who says its a waste of money have twisted values. I am happy my taxes go to help woman who get groped by Japanese Jabba The Hutt and other ugliness.

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For someone who got gropped, "PocketBunny" is an odd choice for a screen name.

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ADK and Pocketbunny thank you for saying these. Commendable effort by the authorities. Oh but please don't forget that male children have also reported being groped.

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isnt it usually the police making the news for doing the groping??

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Best to start chopping off hands like the Taliban...

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Having been molested as a child myself, I kind of wish that American police were so on top of this sort of thing. Granted, women don't get groped here like they do there, but it's really good that they're trying to help. I agree with ADK99: when you're young and someone does something like that to you, fear is pretty much the only emotion that functions normally...

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... just for anti-chikan? i think this is a waste of money, when the problem really is that, their "don't care" attitude to anyone. another case, sept 21 2009 in marui shinjuku, someone stole a bag at a store there, and the thief run, without anybody getting on his way.. no body is willing to take initiative to help others, or they are thinking it is really "mendokusai". i don't know if they are just thinking about themself and afraid to get hurt, or just really dont care.

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an another unit for false groping is also under study?

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It's not a waste of tax money - a lot of those being groped are basically children and you can hardly blame them for not being brave enough to speak up.

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Another waste of tax money - speak up people! Someone is feeling you up grab their hand and raise it in the air and shout who's hand is this touching me?

See him on the train again and say - aren't you the guy who felt me up yesterday?

He'll soon be too embarrassed to take the train

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