Photo: SoraNews24
crime

Teen calls police over man she thinks is holding a knife

29 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

At roughly 1:30 in the afternoon last Thursday, an operator for the 110 emergency number in Sendai received a call from a woman in her teens. The woman, who was near Sendai Station, the busiest rail hub in Japan’s northeastern Tohoku region, had called in to report spotting a man carrying a knife or other bladed instrument of some kind.

The police response was swift, with dozens of officers rushing to the scene. When they arrived and spoke with the caller, however, her friend, also a woman in her teens, told the police that she had seen things slightly differently. According to the friend, what the man was carrying wasn’t a knife, cutter, or any other type of blade, but a garakei.

Or, as we call them in English, a flip phone.

It’s not clear whether or not the friend had convinced the caller that what she’d seen was just some old-school communications technology, and not a dangerous weapon, between the time she’d placed the call and the police arrived. Either way, officers still felt the need to investigate, and after analyzing security footage they were able to identify and find the man the girls had seen. With his cooperation, they searched his belongings and sure enough, he had a flip phone on him, but no knife. No charges were filed against the man, and no injuries were reported, because, again, it was a phone.

The woman’s age seems to have been the primary factor in the mix-up. It’s been several years since smartphones became the norm in Japan, and with KDDI, one of Japan’s largest telecom providers, discontinuing its 3G network service this spring, flip phones have become an increasingly rare sight in Japan. The caller’s exact age hasn’t been mentioned in reports, but it’s likely that neither she nor her peers have ever used a flip phone, and that lack of familiarity probably made it hard for her to imagine that the man was holding something so harmless, especially if she was seeing it from a distance.

Another potentially contributing factor is that traditional Japanese handsaws often have a rectangular shape to their blades, with length/width ratios not too far off from a flip phone.

Screen-Shot-2022-05-22-at-13.34.10.png

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Still, the bizarreness of how something that was once an ubiquitous sight in Japan can now trigger an emergency response from dozens of police officers wasn’t lost on Twitter commenters, who reacted with:

“The generation that doesn’t know what flip phones are.”

“I guess it’s possible she’s never seen one before.”

“Flip phones were such a big part of our lives, but now they’re like a lost technology.”

“Ya know, I can kind of see how someone could make that mistake.”

“After this, I bet some people who still have flip phones are going to feel kind of nervous about using them in public.”

As for the flip phone owner himself, he hasn’t made any public comments about the incident, but I hope he wasn’t too shaken up by it, and was still able to enjoy the rest of his day watching DVDs and playing games on his PSP.

Sources: Asahi Shimbun via Livedoor NewsNikkan Sports via JinTwitter

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

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-- Still don’t want a smartphone? Japanese women might want you

-- 567 cartons of cigarettes bought with 120 smartphones at once leads to arrest in Chiba

© SoraNews24

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

29 Comments
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Better safe than sorry. A child or teenager doesn’t need to be groomed against speaking out. Plus, Japan needs more Good Samaritans, unafraid to speak out if the see something suspicious, especially in public venues.

4 ( +26 / -22 )

End the end, “No harm, no foul”. -Like the mistaken child here, perhaps the author makes a bigger issue out of a simple mistake?

- “With his cooperation, they searched his belongings and sure enough, he had a flip phone on him, but no knife. No charges were filed against the man, and no injuries were reported, because, again, it was a phone.” -

-1 ( +14 / -15 )

A man with a knife attempting to abduct an elementary girl (May 22) or a teenager with a box cutter encountering her favorite male idol (May 21) are real issues. Perhaps focus more on real “Crime” in Japan?

It may not been officially reported as big a problem here, but what exists is still a problem, not sensationalized from simple, periodic witness errors.

0 ( +16 / -16 )

She is paranoia as a school girl, what kind of paranioa she will become. when she become a housewife. In the US pointing someone has a gun while is not, can make innocent people die by law enforcement.

-1 ( +18 / -19 )

I still have one working in condition. A very good piece of technology that was made to last.

2 ( +13 / -11 )

dozens of officers rushing to the scene. When they arrived and spoke with the caller, however, her friend, also a woman in her teens, told the police that she had seen things slightly differently. According to the friend, what the man was carrying wasn’t a knife, cutter, or any other type of blade, but a garakei.

Either way, officers still felt the need to investigate, and after analyzing security footage they were able to identify and find the man the girls had seen. With his cooperation, they searched his belongings and sure enough, he had a flip phone on him, but no knife. No charges were filed against the man, and no injuries were reported, because, again, it was a phone.

Need a friend to convince her, and dozens officers to confirm that she is paranoia. At least what she said something that can be proved, If she said that man a chikan, that person can be arrested only because what she said, since there's no proof necessary only her words.

-4 ( +13 / -17 )

Need a friend to convince her, and dozens officers to confirm that she is paranoia. At least what she said something that can be proved, If she said that man a chikan, that person can be arrested only because what she said, since there's no proof necessary only her words.

Making an understandable mistake and choosing to err on the side of caution is absolutely nothing like making a false accusation on purpose. Crimes in the past may have been prevented if people noticing something wrong had made a report to the police in time.

The accuser saw something tht she thought was dangerous, and instead of just assuming everything was right she left the decision to the police, that is something that should be encouraged to a certain degree.

0 ( +15 / -15 )

The accuser saw something tht she thought was dangerous, and instead of just assuming everything was right she left the decision to the police, that is something that should be encouraged to a certain degree.

She make assumption that was a weapon which is false, and use valuable resource dozens of officers to make confirmation of her paranoia which is false. Her accusution can harm innocent preson, especially when she accussed innocenet person having a weapon, officers will assume that person have a weapon in the first place and will use excessive force if necessary.

-8 ( +10 / -18 )

I remember a story about a small child a few years ago in the west who had never seen a book and was trying to swipe the pages like in an ipad. So this is not surprising to me. talk about a generational gap.

-3 ( +8 / -11 )

Hmm strange the old phone they give to the children to play even in preschool I saw many kids playing with old flip phones.

-3 ( +8 / -11 )

Maybe more young people need to watch older TV shows and movies instead of just cartoons and YouTube.

-2 ( +11 / -13 )

Better safe than sorry though it is a little surprising considering how flip phones are still regularly used in Japan. Also, we're calling female teenagers "women" now? Not "youth"? interesting....

0 ( +10 / -10 )

Praise where praise is due. She did the right thing.

-10 ( +9 / -19 )

Good job the phone owner was Japanese.

0 ( +11 / -11 )

She make assumption that was a weapon which is false

And that is still better than the opposite, had she been right she could have prevented injuries or a death, as she was wrong only a few people lost some time, it should be obvious which result is more important to prevent.

Her accusution can harm innocent preson

How? according to the article her only "accusation" was seeing someone with a blade, how is this supposed to harm anybody? is a knife going to magically appear in the belonging of the person with the cell phone? obviously not, so as soon as the incident is clarified nothing is lost except for time.

officers will assume that person have a weapon in the first place and will use excessive force if necessary.

In Japan? when has this happened? this is not realistically possible, specially because no violence was even reported.

1 ( +12 / -11 )

He should sue the police for harassment and the nosey teen should he prosecuted for wasting police time.

-5 ( +12 / -17 )

Precisely why teenagers shouldn't be regarded as adult women.

As usual a ridiculous scandal making false accusations by a fe※※le

-12 ( +6 / -18 )

It was definitely a knife because she could see the pointy tip of the blade .

-16 ( +4 / -20 )

a woman in her teens

You mean "a teenage girl".

7 ( +13 / -6 )

Good on her! Better to be wrong than have another potential mass stabbing event, which could have possibly been avoided, not reported!

-2 ( +8 / -10 )

I don't know. Doesn't a fax machine look like a bomb from certain angles?

-2 ( +10 / -12 )

Thank God for the Smart Phones. They are better and don't look like a knife.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Guy should sue this stupid teenager. Or if underaged, her parents. Nobody holds any kind of knife looking at it, or putting it alongside their head as one would with a phone. Short of someone pointing such a phone at someone and threatening them. there's no way anyone with a 3 digit IQ could mistake any phone (flip or otherwise) for a knife.

-2 ( +11 / -13 )

Mr KiplingToday  08:56 am JST

Good job the phone owner was Japanese.

So if the man was not Japanese, Japan would quickly re-write the laws to make carrying a flip phone a crime?

-2 ( +10 / -12 )

The teen should be required to be eye checked.

It is impossible the teen would be the only one to see a blade the size of a flip phone.

And bringing 12 officers for a check, that is also ridiculous. Because if the man were a would be criminal , he may have gotten frenzy because of such presence suddenly.

There is no praise when there is no reason to have called police.

By saying it was the right thing to do, everyone is going to call police for any (bad) reason. That is without consideration of the other stated potential hurt mentioned above. This is not a game.

Think of consequence.

It is already the case for calling ambulance in Japan, remember all articles during hard covid times.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

OssanAmerika:

So if the man was not Japanese, Japan would quickly re-write the laws to make carrying a flip phone a crime?

Let me translate Mr Kipling's joke into American:

Good job the phone owner was white (and not Black).

-13 ( +1 / -14 )

With such a youth all thinking about how the future will be becomes obsolete. lol

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Let’s be clear. The individual making the call to the police was a teenager. She was a girl.

she was not a woman.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

A knife???

That's a Knife!!!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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