crime

Teacher's conviction for groping girl on bus overturned by Tokyo court

91 Comments

The Tachikawa branch of the Tokyo District Court has overturned the conviction of a 30-year-old teacher who was found guilty three years ago of groping a 17-year-old girl on a bus in the Mitaka area.

The defendant, Masayoshi Tsuyama, was charged with molesting the high school girl on the bus by touching her buttocks, TBS reported Wednesday. At his trial, Tsuyama was found guilt and fined 400,000 yen.

However, Tsuyama appealed the verdict, claiming that although his hand might have made contact with the girl's backpack, he definitely did not grab or touch her buttocks. The court based its verdict on the victim's testimony that she felt the palm of Tsuyama's hand touch her buttocks.

During the appeal, on-board footage from the bus's security camera was brought forth as evidence. The footage confirmed that Tsuyama's left hand had been holding the strap, and that his right hand was occupied with a mobile phone at the time of the alleged incident, TBS reported.

In overturning the conviction, the presiding judge said: "Seeing as the victim's testimony is inconsistent with what the security camera footage shows, I believe that the previous ruling was made with little to no rationale."

Following the verdict, Tsuyama told reporters, "Almost anyone could find themselves caught up in such a misunderstanding. Although there was no real case, that girl genuinely believed she had been sexually assaulted, and her feelings are real, which I believe makes her a victim of sorts. It must be difficult to believe that such a thing has happened to you, so I do feel for her. When I finally heard the judge's ruling, I was so relieved."

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91 Comments
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During the appeal, on-board footage from the bus's security camera was brought forth as evidence.

Here we go again, evidence is required for the defense but......

that girl genuinely believed she had been sexually assaulted, and her feelings are real, which I believe makes her a victim of sorts.

Just an accusation is required for conviction...

38 ( +41 / -3 )

This kind of 'false' accusation is a terrible thing- Tsuyama's life will never be the same - -It wilt take him a long time, if ever, to recover psychologically, to recover his reputation, and, if he so chooses, to recover his career in education.

26 ( +28 / -2 )

That girl should be ashamed, news like this makes it harder to convict those who actually do molest and makes victims less likely to come forth if they're to be looked at as liars.

18 ( +20 / -2 )

I don't get it, why was the security camera footage not used in the original case?

62 ( +60 / -2 )

Tessa - because the 99.7% conviction rate must be upheld so we can all feel secure about living in a safety country.

23 ( +31 / -9 )

I don't mean to bash on the poor girl, if she truly felt like she was molested and in danger she should definitely come forward about it. I guess the fault here lies with the original prosecutor.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

No witness or any other proof makes this unbelievable to imagine as a court case....

8 ( +9 / -1 )

This is why I think some of these chikan claims are bogus. Trains and buses are fricken crowded here, and sometimes you just can't avoid touching the person next to you. I've been "touched" and I'm a fricken guy. But at no point did I think that someone was groping me. It was CROWDED...it happens! I have even had a women wearing bright red lipstick, lean in so close to me (again because the train was crowded) that she got lipstick all over my white shirt near my collar. Being married, this could have gotten me into trouble, But fricken bounds of reason people...accidents happen! That's why these zero tolerance, 100% conviction. guilty until proven innocent laws are so damn ridiculous. No human judgement, or benefit of the doubt, just throw him in jail because anyone who touches a woman in any way on a train or bus is OBVIOUSLY a groper (sarcastic comment). It just proves that these so-called investigators are so damn lazy that rather than doing their jobs, they take the easy road and throw everyone in prison effectively ruining their lives.

In this case, this man was very lucky that the security camera vindicated him, because he could have spent time in prison over a stupid misunderstanding. But I would also argue that this man's life is probably already ruined, because he probably lost his job, and his friends and family have probably already villainized and think of him as a pervert anyways.

I could continue on my rant about these stupid women-only cars, but for the sake of sanity, i will just leave at that. just glad that this guy was able prove his innocence, and the girl and her family definitely own him a DEEP apology.

18 ( +21 / -5 )

"re tramazided"! happens all the time. Something bad probably did happen to her before and something about the bus ride itself reminded her of that experience.

I am glad an innocent man was cleared.

11 ( +11 / -1 )

The man should file a civil suit against the girl if possible.

6 ( +15 / -10 )

HaraldBloodaxe: Yes; Absolutely, "Safety Japan" ; lmao~

0 ( +7 / -7 )

So, if there had not been a recording of this even, then...?

Well, at least justice was done in the end, in this case.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I always make it a point to have both hands high in the air holding onto a passenger support to avoid ever being falsely accused but I know that if I were, I would be done for by the Japanese legal system anyways. This guy is so, sooo lucky that a surveillance video popped up which vindicated him, as to where it was in his first trial or why it hadn't exonerated him gives me more reason to doubt justice will be served if It were to happen to me.

Would have liked to have seen the look on the J-prosecutors face when the verdict was released. I bet he argued till he was blue in the face and out of breath as to how the video evidence supported his claim that Mr. Tsuyama molested the girl or at the very least, didn't exonerate him. Unfortunately, this won't be the end of the saga for Mr. Tsuyama as he will have to endure and be victimized again, at his own expense and that of the taxpayers, by an appeal from the prosecutor. Although Japanese judicial authorities will NEVER introduce double-jeopardy, a procedural defence that forbids a defendant from being tried again on the same (or similar) charges following a legitimate acquittal or conviction, they ought to change the law in Japan where a judicial review board screens appeals by only those made by prosecutors and give approval. This would stop wasting the courts time and tax payer's money on attempts by prosecutors to salvage their loss/win ratio and egos.

Please, please someone step in and tell me where I'm wrong!

7 ( +10 / -3 )

@tessa That!

@mirai: i thought you were a girl heh.

I've been "touched" and I'm a fricken guy. But at no point did I think that someone was groping me. It was CROWDED..

The problem is, guys use this as an excuse.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

One solution could be to introduce "Men Only" cars on trains in addition to the "Women Only" cars during peak hours. For buses, which indeed are much more cramped, the problem is more complicated. Glad this man was finally exonerated.

3 ( +11 / -8 )

So quick to label this guy guilty from the first judge based on her word against his, so glad the guy in the end won the case and there was video. I hope he didn't lose his job or anything

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Ok...so what about his job? Did he lose after the original conviction? Did his friends and family abandon him like they usually do? Does the girl get charged for lying? How about the prosecuters? No protest from the caring and polite citizens of Japan in defence of this man? That`s what I thought...

7 ( +9 / -2 )

One solution could be to introduce "Men Only" cars on trains in addition to the "Women Only" cars during peak hours.

I would love this, and definitely ride that carriage where possible. I, like another poster said, also ride crowded trains like I am being robbed - both hands high in the air. Looks ridiculous, but nobody can accuse me of groping.

Actually I think it was rocketnews that published an article on what to do if accused, based on advice from a lawyer. Can you believe one of the top pieces of advice was to "run away"? Since you are guaranteed to be convicted, the slim chance you have by running, is bigger than the chance of being convicted. It is a sad state of affairs...

5 ( +6 / -1 )

This poor teacher was SAVED by that security video! My gues, some other idiot was feeling this girl up and the girl was angry and she CHOSE this poor teacher, scary, very scary!!

9 ( +10 / -1 )

totally love his repsonse to the girl because he didn't blame her at all. if it were me, i would be enraged at the girl for making me go through all this.

16 ( +17 / -1 )

Mr. Tsuyama was generous in his interpretation of the girls' intent.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

It is thankful that this video recording existed, otherwise an innocent man would have had his life ruined. It is curious that it was not presented at trial. One wonders if the prosecution knew of its existence and said nothing, knowingly trying a person they knew to be innocent. Not sure if that was the case, but recent scandals involving prosecutors offices don`t give one much confidence.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

They didn't look at the camera in the original trial? wtf?

10 ( +10 / -0 )

I thought that the introduction of "Women Only" cars was a ludicrous idea but after hearing stories like this from other men who have had potentially career ending, family splitting, friendship terminating situations over the years and my own experiences with overly nervous co-passengers who notice me behind them encounters, I have come to the conclusion that "Men Only" cars are need as well. If my wife is allowed to commute to work without fear of being groped, then why shouldn't men be afforded the same right to travel without fear of losing their career, family and friendships, their lives?

I know this sounds ridiculous and as I'm typing this very moment stop and give pause to my own thoughts but the truth of the matter is the solutions just aren't there. If you have a ZERO tolerance for gropers and factor in the 99% percent conviction rate you will have a large percentage of innocent men pay for the crimes of a bunch of scumbags and that is completely unacceptable. The problem with many innocent men being wrongfully convicted is much to do with a overzealous legal and judicial system in Japan but that won't change anytime soon. There have even been reports of women with an accomplice who target some pore schmuck, she accuses him of groping and whala, there is her witness to the crime. If your going to pack 300 people in a car built for 100 then you can't prevent some pervert loser from groping but do you really want to continue hearing and reading stories of a legal system that victimizes an innocent man, not once, but multiple times?

if there are say 12 passenger cars, you designate 4 cars for women, 4 for men and 4 unisex. You reduce the opportunities of groping by roughly 66% and if they pack the unisex cars with cameras and undercover female officers, people will ultimately have a more relaxed commute home. I haven't seen any video cameras on buses or trains myself but I would be a huge supporter of the transportation companies throwing them all over the place. At least an innocent man can point to a camera and say, "Lets go see what's on the footage!" which just might be the only chance he's got going for him.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Two points here:

The video evidence shows that Masayoshi Tsuyama didn't do it. This doesn't mean that this girl WASN'T sexually assaulted. It could have been someone else.Those criticising the girl and saying she lied, etc. are way off base. There's no evidence to support that, and in crowded public transport in Tokyo it could have been another commuter, and when she turned around Tsuyama seemed to be the most likely suspect.

That being said, the original JUDGE (not the girl) does deserve to be reprimanded on two counts. Firstly, they didn't consider the video evidence, and secondly he convicted on the basis of the girl's testimony alone, which is frankly ridiculous, since she was wearing a backpack and therefore INCAPABLE of seeing who's hands were on her behind, even if she did turn at just the right moment.
4 ( +7 / -3 )

He was a teacher at my kids' school. Info on this while the process was ongoing was hard to come by. He was in limbo for three years, not able to work, on a reduced salary until the matter was finally settled. He persevered. Sometimes we saw him and his supporters in front of the local train station working to bring attention to this matter. I think there was support for him in the community, and it appears that the people close to him stayed loyal.

33 ( +32 / -0 )

Well, sorry to say it, but this is Japan's feudal justice system at work. Someone makes an accusation with no witnesses and no evidence to prove their case, but an innocent person is convicted regardless because the justice system decided he would be convicted. In fact evidence did exist, but never appeared at the trial because it would have exonerated not convicted. Most Japanese believe anyone arrested is guilty or they wouldn't have been arrested and they unfortunately have blind faith in the justice system. There are judges in Japan with long careers who have never once delivered a not guilty verdict. The justice system needs an overhaul, but will never get one. TIJ.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

I once helped arrest a chikan who was dressed in women's clothes to avoided being suspected of the touching. The high school girl who felt the hand blamed a university student near her but he saw the cross dressed chikan do it and a confrontation developed quickly. I only realised it was a man when I sat on her on the platform till the JR staff and police arrived. They then thought I was the victim till they spotted the crying high school girl.

Although, I have told the tale many times and got laughs - that university student could have had his life ruined.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

jimmyo: Thanks for that info, that was really bad, I hope he was back paid for the money that was reduced. Thank god for that security video.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

That really makes me want to avoid riding the trains altogether. As soon as I get a license, I'm going to get a scooter. Beats sharing the trains with salarymen anyway.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

During the appeal, on-board footage from the bus's security camera was brought forth as evidence.

Because, you know, such evidence wouldn't be of any use in the original trial itself...

4 ( +4 / -0 )

During the appeal, on-board footage from the bus’s security camera was brought forth as evidence. The footage confirmed that Tsuyama’s left hand had been holding the strap, and that his right hand was occupied with a mobile phone at the time of the alleged incident, TBS reported.

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

Security camera rescued this teacher. Looks like he was more interested on i-phone talking.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

hampton Jul. 17, 2014 - 10:12AM JST

Well, sorry to say it, but this is Japan's feudal justice system at work. Someone makes an accusation with no witnesses and no evidence to prove their case, but an innocent person is convicted regardless because the justice system decided he would be convicted. In fact evidence did exist, but never appeared at the trial because it would have exonerated not convicted. Most Japanese believe anyone arrested is guilty or they wouldn't have been arrested and they unfortunately have blind faith in the justice system. There are judges in Japan with long careers who have never once delivered a not guilty verdict. The justice system needs an overhaul, but will never get one. TIJ.

Sadly, can't disagree with you on any point except whether the video was presented at the first trial or not. I once knew an assistant prosecutor in the Tokyo Prosecutor's Office and he basically told me this. The whole fate of the accused lays in the hands of the prosecutor handling the case and it is the first priority of the accuser's lawyer to convince the prosecutor not to indict or to seek a lesser charge. Once the prosecutor indicts, it's game over and the trial is just a formality with the lawyer's job to seek the lightest possible sentence and the judge imposing the penalty. There is NO innocent until proven guilty mentality anywhere to be found in the legal system and the only way to get a conviction overturned is in someway disprove the grounds for conviction by finding collaborating evidence that was either not presented at trial or discovered later.

People have to understand that Japan's legal system was never intended to provide protection to the individual but was designed to protect society from the individual. Those who have the reins believe that allowing individuals the freedoms they think they already poses ultimately means that Japanese society will be transform into a anarchist state as society turns away from it's obligations to the collective good. Yes, there were recently recommendations made by a council on judicial reforms but that was just a show for the public in an attempt to show the judiciary was serious on making changes to Japan's antiquated legal system but the recommendations will have negligible effects, and sadly that is where the judiciary intends to keep it

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Crazy Joe:

The man should file a civil suit against the girl if possible.

No, it's the first prosecutor who should be sued. He (or she) should have examined the video evidence at that time and known not to prosecute in the first place. Sloppy investigating and devastating for the falsely accused.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Poor guy.

I and probably lots of other guys have a fear of this happening to us. Keep both hands up, or read a book. Cross fingers.

The girl may very well have been touched by someone else, so I can't say "false accusation". Why was the vid not used 1st time??

1 ( +2 / -1 )

taj Jul. 17, 2014 - 10:58AM JST

No, it's the first prosecutor who should be sued. He (or she) should have examined the video evidence at that time and known not to prosecute in the first place. Sloppy investigating and devastating for the falsely accused.

In all likelihood the prosecutor knew of the evidence and concluded it should be excluded from the pre-trial hearing if there was one. Unfortunately, conviction rates can do nasty things to a prosecutor or his/her assistants who package the case for them. The only way to put a dent in evidence not appearing in trials, for whatever reason, is to make it illegal and crime with substantial penalty and loss of career, which it is not, and require police and prosecutors to present ALL evidence to lawyers at some stage prior to trials. As it stands now prosecutors are asked to provide relevant evidence, which is their loophole, as it would be too time consuming to examine ALL evidence at the pre-trial hearing. They can use the excuse that it must have been overlooked and that's that.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

This fellow was (ahem!) fined 400,000 ? I hope he gets it back & then sues the ass off them!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

This is my guess. Probably a person who was talking with him gave an idea to request security camera . Or bus company (maybe school bus) examined video and showed to defence attorney? It is Japan, Guilty until proven innocent, Glad justice is done, He does not have to pay 400,000. If he paid bail money, he gets all back. He can sue for mental anguish and more to sloppy prosecution office.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@Bartholomew Harte

My own feelings exactly ! I was just about to write the same thing ! I really hope he gets everything back, including his reputation !

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Have to admire Mr Tsuyama's forgiving attitude. Top man.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Yeah, the dark side of a groping society. Guilty until proven innocent! The problem is, it happens so damn often all the women are paranoid (not that I can blame them). Keep your hands high in the trains fellas or you just might cop the blame for someone else's indiscretion.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

And... Am glad the teacher was exonerated. What an amazing and selfless reply from him as well. Only in Japan will you find such a reply.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

One solution could be to introduce "Men Only" cars on trains in addition to the "Women Only" cars during peak hours.

They already have these. It's Car No. 9, right next to the "Women Only" Car No. 10 on the Tozai Line. ;-)

The thing that's unforgivable in all of this is that the video evidence wasn't introduced -- or at the very least not considered -- in the very first trial. This man should never have been dragged into court if someone had bothered to look at the video evidence. The prosecutor's office owes Tsuyama a profound apology for their appalling incompetence. And they need to explain to the victim that, whoops, the guy who actually did it is probably still on the same line you use every day.

It’s for this reason that I don’t take issue with the existence of “Women Only “ cars. It’s an incontrovertible and depressing fact that groping of women on trains in Japan is happening, even today, despite a slew of public awareness campaigns. But it still happens. In a perfect world, women should be able to commute to and from work or school or simple travel with a reasonable expectation that some warped asshat isn’t going to start groping them out of the blue. But the Tokyo subways are not a perfect world by any stretch. There are some real creeps on the Tokyo subways, and not just of the perverted variety. Belligerent jerks, sober or drunk, people with clear mental issues, and a host of passive aggressive types with what very clearly is a simmering rage boiling under the surface for whatever reason that they let seep out in small, irritating increments on fellow subway passengers. But hey, it’s a city of 9 million people. You’re going to see some bad apples in such a diverse and populous mix. So, if “Women Only” trains are what it takes to allow women to commute without feeling like prey, then so be it, despite their existence being what I believe to be, for all intents and purposes, a giant sign board screaming out to gropers, “Have at it, boys. Society and the police have neither the time nor will to try and stop you.”

That being said, I do take issue, as do most here, with the idea that once simply accused, the defendant is essentially screwed for life. Compelling evidence is crucial in any criminal case, particularly when one considers just how packed a morning or evening train can become in urban areas like Tokyo and Osaka. At Mirai Hayashi pointed out, on some days, there’s simply no way to avoid not only being literally pressed into uncomfortable stances and positions that require an almost superhuman display of balance and counterbalance, but there’s also no way to avoid having someone else’s body, hand, or face inadvertently pressed where you would rather not have it.

Again, I have no doubt that groping occurs, and frequently. But there has to be a better way of investigating them than simply assuming an accusation alone is cause for conviction.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Reported on World Day for International Justice (July 17th)? Seems to be a nice coincidence haha!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Frankly, the man is a saint for not suing for damages.

That's at least 3 years without work/reduced salary plus it could be years before the man gets back into reliable work. On top of that, will he have to move to get out of his dirtied reputation? Will he be able to expect fair treatment in future job with raises/promotions?

I'm not for tar-and-feathering the girl, mind you. She was right to report this, but the police were terribly wrong for not fully investigating and having it explained to the girl before prosecuting the man.

Ideally the police and the girl should have settled this behind closed doors and the man should never have even known about this.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

how come the CCTV replay only watched when he appealed at the higher court? becuase I assume that the first thing investegators will do is to check the CCTV first before escalating this issue? If I am Tsuyama san, I'll demand to fire these inestigators who handled his case.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What interests me more is the comments section, which seems to be summarizable into "Japan Can't Win."

First, what happened to the video evidence? Isn't it really the Defense's responsibility to think of such things and get it from the relevant places? If the original judge banned its presentation on some pretext, that might be cause for criticism, but as far as is known, it was never proposed by either side. In an adversarial system, the judge considers the case based on what is presented to him. He doesn't "remind" sides of their lapses.

Second, on the issue of convicting based solely on the girls' testimony. To be fair to the judge, he's in a tough spot. The Defense apparently didn't do its job and come up with much on their side. He's left with the Prosecution's case which seems very much to revolve around the girls' testimony. The man's testimony is useless (yeah, sure, you'd confess to such a thing unless it was squeezed out of you over 23 days).

Remember that the prosecutors and police have already interviewed this girl, not necessarily in a sympathetic manner (as Frungy's female friend can attest), and in sending the case they're de facto sending their authoritative assessment that while there is no other evidence (that they wish to present anyway), the girl's testimony has been shaken and found good. Under these circumstances, it is hard for the judge to find reasonable doubt with the Defense not really doing its job.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Jimmyo, thanks for the personal insight to how this really mentally strong person got support from the community. Good to hear! Because once The System turns against you in Japan...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It should never have got to court in the first place. As a matter of course the police should have reviewed the bus video evidence. The charges should have been dropped.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Old Oriental proverb goes "Never stoop to fix your shoes in a watermelon field, and never adjust your hat in a pear orchard." 瓜田に履を納れず Kaden ni kutsu wo irezu, 李下に冠を正さず Rika ni kanmuri wo tadasazu.

Remembrance of this in a crowded bus or train today might help us avoid unwanted accusations.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I would go as far as to say most of the chikan claims are total bonus, most people here, especially women are way touchy and overprotective so overreact to things that cant be avoided in public overcrowded traffic. that is why I stopped using public transport here

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Justice has been served, and he's happy with the outcome. I don't think the girl was trying to get him, for cash or anything, I think it was a case of mistaken identity. Someone else probably touched her buttocks, either on purpose or by chance, and he happened to be behind her. It's an honest mistake, but I can't believe the video was not used before by the defense. It would have avoided a guilty verdict in the first place. HIs statement at the end really says a lot about his character, "Almost anyone could find themselves caught up in such a misunderstanding. Although there was no real case, that girl genuinely believed she had been sexually assaulted, and her feelings are real, which I believe makes her a victim of sorts. It must be difficult to believe that such a thing has happened to you, so I do feel for her." I'm glad he was found not-guilty, but as many have said, he will have to start rebuilding his life now.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Alarming how many commenters are pro gender segregated train carriages. That's EXTREME.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

It is scary that one can get convicted on nothing more than an accusation. I am glad that in this case they found video evidence and reversed the conviction. I try to hold grab straps with both hands on crowded trains in order to avoid precisely this problem.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Why don't we all just put up all our hands in the air like we just don't care and molestation problems won't happen

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I was on a jury that considered the case of a man who was charged with child molestation. It was very emotional.

I think it is important that we not judge someone guilty before hearing all of the evidence. Being charged with a crime does not automatically make one guilty, and as members of a jury, it is our duty to keep an open mind, until the end of the trial. In the case of the man charged with child molestation in which I was on the jury, all 12 of us, men and women alike, unanimously came to a "not guilty" verdict, in less than hour.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I bet 3 years ago, most of you would have been blaming the guy if there was no camera footage. This type of thing actually happens often and people need to realize that not all guys are perverts.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

it is hard for the judge to find reasonable doubt with the Defense not really doing its job.

And it's equally unreasonable for a judge to find with any degree of certainty that this man was in fact the culprit based only on the victim's testimony, i.e., without evidence.

This is not a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation in the least. The issue here is whether the public interest is better served by placing the onus of responsibility on the prosecution or on the defense to prove their case.

When a person's livelihood, and indeed entire life, is hanging in the balance based solely on the testimony of the victim, then I would say without reservation that seeking to ensure innocent people are not put in jail takes absolute precedence over what, as best as I can tell, is little more than a justice system seeking to "send a message" to would-be gropers, to hell with who gets crushed underfoot on the way.

The onus is and should always be on the prosecution to build a case that leaves no doubt in the mind of the judge and/or jury. They didn't build such a case. Yet the original judge still chose to convict. That's not justice. That's gross jurist incompetence. There's a reason presumption of innocence is the cornerstone of most modern legal systems in the world today: In order to avoid just the sort of unjust outcome that derailed this man's life three years ago. Without witnesses, without DNA, without video evidence, they took this girl at her word that someone who touched her from behind was absolutely this man. How can anyone call this justice?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

"Alarming how many commenters are pro gender segregated train carriages. That's EXTREME."

Not at all. First of all, it's a suggestion that SOME cars be designated as such, not all, AND that the riders would have the option to choose. Hardly EXTREME.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@John Galt: Gender separating cars do not work in 21st Century. Some chikans love same sex targets, There are women haters chikans who love men.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Toshiko is right. Most of you don t have common sense or know what real life is:

segregation is coming back to middle ages no proof, no conviction touching people is social. Japan is a no touch country , no future

You can't imagine how ridiculous this article and most comments are. Why just women just slap if really touched, or shout, that is enough. Rape, or physical injuries, that is what is important. Rest is peanuts. I will continue to behave normally and would shout and get angry myself if a woman calls me chikan if it happens I took her buttocks for my mobile for a second. Shit happens and it is life. And It happened to me by both males and females. So what ? Do you want to live in utopia world like some hunger games ? Pitiful

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I hope they compensate him for legal fees and slander.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

is he allowed to sue the initial prosecution for defamation, lack of evidence, and wages lost (if any?) ?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Well if I were him I would sue the prosecutors to high heaven and DEMAND their practising licences revoked!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

after all he had to go through, he has words of understanding for the high school girl who unwittingly got him into trouble. that's a real Teacher with the capital T. hope he gets back to work asap.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The man should file a civil suit against the girl if possible.

Why? She reported what she thought was happening. She's not the one who convicted him and put him in jail. Now if you were going to advocate him suing the prosecutor for ignoring the security video before taking this to trial, I'd agree with you 100%.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I for one believe every mode of public transport in Japan should have cameras everywhere. I do not like riding crowded trains.... any inadvertent move could get you in trouble.... at least a camera should prove whether contact was intentional or not.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I for one believe every mode of public transport in Japan should have cameras everywhere. I do not like riding crowded trains.... any inadvertent move could get you in trouble.... at least a camera should prove whether contact was intentional or not.

You would think so, but as this case shows, even when there ARE cameras, they're useless if the prosecution decides to ignore them.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Jonathan Prin Jul. 17, 2014 - 11:37PM JST

Toshiko is right. Most of you don t have common sense or know what real life is: - segregation is coming back to middle ages - no proof, no conviction - touching people is social. Japan is a no touch country , no future

You can't imagine how ridiculous this article and most comments are. Why just women just slap if really touched, or shout, that is enough. Rape, or physical injuries, that is what is important. Rest is peanuts. I will continue to behave normally and would shout and get angry myself if a woman calls me chikan if it happens I took her buttocks for my mobile for a second. Shit happens and it is life. And It happened to me by both males and females. So what ? Do you want to live in utopia world like some hunger games ? Pitiful

I used to think the same way until I better understood that Japanese society just isn't on the same page unfortunately. Japanese women won't make a spectacle of themselves and nip the problem quickly but rather wait till they can't bear the humiliation any longer then react and NOTHING seems to be changing in this regard. If a women accuses you of groping her, shouting back may cause you more grief and prosecutors will throw that at you as well in trial. Yes, women should give a warning to those standing next to them that the SOB touching her better quit doing so and that might put an end to it but that will require educating ALL Japanese and must be taught in schools as well for it to take root.

There are two main reasons to address and empowering women as mention above is the first and most promising. Secondly, but sadly unrealistic, a criminal justice system that actually seeks justice and not simply convictions to meet quotes or further one's career. We need police and prosecutors who truly understand that people are innocent until PROVEN guilty and should be treated with respect no matter the crime and NO ONE should be arrested without sufficient evidence and held in indefinite detention in near torturous conditions until one weakens to the point of collapse and signs a confession. And the reason I say this is sadly unrealistic is the patrolmen on the street and their superiors are not being asked to change their mindset nor are police training methods changing which means those who hold the reins condone the present system.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Almost anyone could find themselves caught up in such a misunderstanding. Although there was no real case, that girl genuinely believed she had been sexually assaulted, and her feelings are real, which I believe makes her a victim of sorts. It must be difficult to believe that such a thing has happened to you, so I do feel for her.

Absolute class act; much respect for this man.

I must say I am quite disappointed in the attitude of many posters here, who seem to be terrified of false accusations; are you really going to live your life in fear over the relatively small chance you will be falsely accused? False accusations of sexual assault ruin lives, certainly, but not anywhere near as many as actual sexual assaults. This same attitude shows up when people talk about missing children - I don't think I could live with myself if fear of being falsely accused kept me from helping a lost child.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

We are terrified of false accusations.... mainly because in the Japanese system it seems you're guilty until proven innocent and they will continually interrogate you until you admit to the crime. They can keep you for over 30 days if they like without actually charging you. So if the idea of being falsely accused of a crime in Japan appeals to you go out and ride crowded trains and buses to your Hearts Content. The other problem is.... it is such a big problem in Japan... to many women have been groped by some very stupid idiots for too long.... so there might be a lot of women out there that might jump the gun and point a finger and any infraction. I rode the subways in NYC for years and didn't even think about it because women there would immediately beat anybody that touched them and therefore no one does. But Japan... women were silent for too long. Now they're starting to speak up... and rightfully so... but my gut tells me some might be frustrated and may lash out when it may not have been actually warranted.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

That kind of accusation and convicted on base of the victim’s testimony is nightmare for every men.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Triumvere Jul. 18, 2014 - 09:01AM JST

I must say I am quite disappointed in the attitude of many posters here, who seem to be terrified of false accusations; are you really going to live your life in fear over the relatively small chance you will be falsely accused?

Have you ever commuted on the Chiyoda Line, Keise, Yamanote etc.? Do you have any idea as to how packed they are during rush hour? This is a real problem and believe me when I tell you, when these ladies get on the train, 99% turn in the opposite direction once they make eye contact with a gaijin. Do you think that that fear may make us less likely to be accused, I think not. I have seen confrontations in the train and on the platforms and I have even seen men stalk ladies even when the women are aware of it and took a risk by stepping in-front-of the pervert and block him as to give the lady time to get off and keep him on until the doors closed.

So yeah @Triumvere, put me down as one of those, "terrified of false accusations" because it seems unlike you, I have been here too long and have too much to lose, a family, freinds a career and my freedom.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Who saves three year old tapes?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Who saves three year old tapes?

I would be more inclined to ask "who kept the tapes hidden for 3 years?"

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Wow, with all these comments I'm reluctant to say anything because I know it will be buried, but...

there is a common scam these days where teens will cry "chikan" to get the money from the accused, because it will almost ALWAYS end up a guilty verdict. This messed up mentality is what makes it worse for chicks who really are molested - they look like one of the scammers, much less a victim.

So it is important to have more cases like this one - where the guy didn't do it, and the innocent verdict is released publicly. This way the accused will know they can get a fair trial, the scammers realise that they too will have the run the system mill so they had better be damn sure they mean it when they accuse some poor schmuck.

There needs to be an appearance of justice on both sides.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The onus is and should always be on the prosecution to build a case that leaves no doubt in the mind of the judge and/or jury. They didn't build such a case. Yet the original judge still chose to convict. That's not justice. That's gross jurist incompetence. There's a reason presumption of innocence is the cornerstone of most modern legal systems in the world today: In order to avoid just the sort of unjust outcome that derailed this man's life three years ago. Without witnesses, without DNA, without video evidence, they took this girl at her word that someone who touched her from behind was absolutely this man. How can anyone call this justice?

Oh, I'll partially agree. On the other hand, consider the variant where the judge throws this case out of court. Or better yet, the Prosecutor or even police pre-vet it to save everyone the trouble.

If that story shows up on JapanToday, I'm sure instead of people saying the relevant authorities had made the right call, they'll call the Japanese authorities mysogynists that don't care about the plight of the poor girl who was groped on the train, blah blah blah. How dare they actually uphold presumption of innocence...

The video evidence? For one thing, it is the nature of the media to not put the spotlight on such things when it is easier to spotlight the poor girl who's case was "ignored" or even "ridiculed" by the police. We'd likely never hear the video evidence even suggested different in such a case.

That's the reality the authorities have to work with.

Further, there's also a point when we just have to accept that the Defense didn't do its job, and I think that (apparently) failing to get the video tape the first time out would qualify.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Mr. Perfect,

Have you ever commuted on the Chiyoda Line, Keise, Yamanote etc.? Do you have any idea as to how packed they are during rush hour?

Would it surprise you all that much to know that I have? Or that I have been in a car packed so tight that you could fall a sleep standing up and not have to worry about toppling over?

This is a real problem and believe me when I tell you, when these ladies get on the train, 99% turn in the opposite direction once they make eye contact with a gaijin.

This hasn't been my personal experience. Then again, I find that holding eye contact on the train isn't particularly common occurrence, whether you live in New York, Seoul, or Tokyo (I've lived in all three). Most people spend there time staring intently at their smart phones.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Triumvere Jul. 19, 2014 - 10:46AM JST

This hasn't been my personal experience. Then again, I find that holding eye contact on the train isn't particularly common occurrence, whether you live in New York, Seoul, or Tokyo (I've lived in all three). Most people spend there time staring intently at their smart phones.

You completely misrepresented what I said and give the impression that I'm eye-banging these ladies! I did NOT say Holding eye contact, I said "

when these ladies get on the train, 99% turn in the opposite direction once they make eye contact with a gaijin".

Whether we make eye contact or not, what difference does it make? The point is there are many of us who believe a real threat exists and whether you see it or not is beside the point.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

You completely misrepresented what I said and give the impression that I'm eye-banging these ladies

Uh, not exactly what I was trying to imply. Again, our experiences seem to differ here. I don't recall anyone "turning away" from me after making eye contact on the metro, ladies or otherwise.

The point is there are many of us who believe a real threat exists and whether you see it or not is beside the point.

I never said the threat wasn't real. In fact, I said false accusations can be life-ruining. But I think your sense of proportion is off. Let me see if I can put this a different way: There is a very real risk of death every time you get into a car; thousands (if not more) die every day, or sustain horrible, permanent injuries as a result of car crashes. But that doesn't mean I'm going to stop driving.

What I will do is try to drive safely, but I'm not going to waste much time worrying over what might potentially happen to me if I encounter a drunk driver or a motorcycle gang or whatever. You can't live your life like that - if you worried about everything that could possibly go wrong, you'd never make it past your front door.

For the record, I think the chance of you getting into a car accident is probably a lot higher than your chance of getting falsely accused of chikan, even if you take the train to work regularly.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Frungy

Those criticising the girl and saying she lied, etc. are way off base.

Didn't you read the story? A video of the incident showed that the accused did not do it. It may be true that another person did grab her behind but apparently the video did not establish that either (I would scan the video for off duty policemen). She just assumed that he did it without actually seeing him touching her. I can understand that she would be upset if she was indeed groped, but she could have ruined this guys career and personal and family relationships. Perhaps just the accusation itself has had the same effect.

Making unsubstantiated claims in the hopes of making some money is not only an injustice to the accused but also to real victims.

Tsuyama's comments after he was found innocent show a great deal of decency on his part. It would be easy to understand if he were infuriated due the very serious ramifications of being found guilty.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Triumvere Jul. 19, 2014 - 02:54PM JST

I don't recall anyone "turning away" from me after making eye contact on the metro, ladies or otherwise.

Physical appearance may differ quite a bit as my frame and attributes seem to cause some anxiety amongst both male and females no matter where I go. My wife is always grinning at me or pointing out other's reactions to me when out and about and I just don't notice it much anymore. Some of us just stand out considerably and others don't.

There is a very real risk of death every time you get into a car; thousands (if not more) die every day, or sustain horrible, permanent injuries as a result of car crashes. But that doesn't mean I'm going to stop driving.

I agree and I no-longer commute by train but ride my Harley Davidson to my shop 18km through intense traffic which places me in harms way and being struck and killed on the road everyday. The main reason is I feel more relaxed, although I face far greater risk to my physical health, weaving through Mito-kaido than I do riding on a packed rush-hour train!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I agree and I no-longer commute by train but ride my Harley Davidson to my shop 18km through intense traffic which places me in harms way and being struck and killed on the road everyday.

Ultimately in life our priorities must be of our own choosing. Safe driving, my friend.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I'm surprised I'm not the only one that rides a train like a rollercoaster with my hands in the air. lol. I'm paranoid of some gold digger accusing me of touching her. Even when I walk down stairs I hold my collar or imaginary back pack to keep my hands up. On the train I hold two hands on a strap above me, or keep one on a phone. I've been touched many times on the train but never suspected "groping".

As someone said here, can't wait to get a license so I can get the hell away from trains. They are a death trap here. I heard that even if you are proven innocent you still have lawyer costs that empty your bank account.

Here's some light humour. I had my briefcase on the train once and it was digging into a business man's ass for like 10 minutes. I did not realize it was happening, he kept turning around and looked really nervously at me all flustered and all.

I looked down and saw my case was between his bum cheeks aggressively wedging him. I almost laughed at the sight of it but decided against it. Moral is there is no room on trains here.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

i don't understand what the thrill is in groping women. why is this such a problem? i'm glad the man got off and his empathy for his accuser is amazing. i agree he should sue the prosecutor. but i'm of two minds about the girl. if she really thought she'd been groped, her reaction is excusable. but if she was trying to run a scam then she should face charges. the problem that girls need to understand, is that when you falsely accuse someone of rape,sexual harassment, or groping etc, you undermine the efforts of women who were really victimized to get the help and protection they need. and if that person is ever really attacked, no one would believe it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

there is a common scam these days where teens will cry "chikan" to get the money from the accused, because it will almost ALWAYS end up a guilty verdict. This messed up mentality is what makes it worse for chicks who really are molested - they look like one of the scammers, much less a victim.

This is absolutely true - it happened to my friends husband (she was WITH him at the time but the scammer didnt realise it as she is western and just didnt connect the two of them) - she was bumping up against him deliberately, then a male accomplice she was with tried to start an argument with him, and carried it on once they got out of the elevator and into a car park. My friend held back, and then once there were no witnesses around except my froeign friend who they obviously werent worried about she suddenly screamed at the top of her voice "Dont touch my boobs!!!!!" - my friends husband luckily realised exactly what was happening, grabbed my friend and jumped in their car and took off before anyone turned up. It was a classic scam.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's the 21st century ... there's gotta be a way to restrict entry onto packed cars so they DON'T get packed ... maybe green/red lights at car doors with fines for ignoring them. Automatic, with weight sensors under the cars and/or infrared sensors in the cars. Double-stopping trains, to lengthen trains without lengthening existing platforms.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Who saves three year old tapes?

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

Not tapes like some decades ago

CDs are used now-a-days. You can enter the date of video recorded to examine exact day's video. Many business use now. Giga-bytes CDs.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

One hand fiddling with his phone, one hand on the strap, which hand did he say he touched the girl's backpack with? Third hand? If so, couldn't he also have touched her person? Was the hand on the strap really his or someone else's?

Cannot always trust the judge to make a correct verdict. It'd be interesting to see if the prosecutor or alleged victim had any comments, post-appeal.

Couldn't find much on this case in English, so I searched for the guy's name in hiragana and found a lot more details on testimony and evidence. Like, part of evidence supporting the appeal was that they tested his hands the day of the arrest for schoolgirl skirt fibers and didn't find any, unlike controlled testing they performed. No word as to whether he was smart enough or nervous enough to wipe his hands somewhere ("If it doesn't fit, you must acquit!"). Or if they immediately bagged his hands as evidence. Another item was that there was a short period of time his hand was hidden from the security cam. Defense was arguing that was too short a time to do any groping, apparently. And another item was that people's butt sensitivity is too dull for them to distinguish a person's hand groping them from a backpack bumping them.

https://www.google.com/#q=%E3%81%A4%E3%82%84%E3%81%BE%E3%81%BE%E3%81%95%E3%82%88%E3%81%97

0 ( +0 / -0 )

And another item was that people's butt sensitivity is too dull for them to distinguish a person's hand groping them from a backpack bumping them.

"Butt sensitivity"?

But seriously, brushing up against someone is one thing, but if somebody grabbed your ass I bet you could tell that it wasn't a backpack.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Yeah, that and the fiber thing is why I'm not trusting the appeal too much. Looks like he got a really good lawyer.

Something I couldn't tell from the Google translate was whether there were multiple school girls present, therefore more than just the one girl witnessing. The translation kept saying "school girls" but it might be translating to plural incorrectly.

The original text was "「尻の感覚の鈍さ」", Google translated it as ' "dullness of sense of ass" '.

http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=ja&u=http://www.magazine9.jp/don/120725/

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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