Advice to victims of bullying, DV, neighborhood trouble: Record it


Bullying is rampant. Domestic violence is rising. There’s extortion, stalking, reckless driving. What can a victim do? Who can he or she turn to? School authorities? The police? With what evidence? If none, there’s not much either can do. It’s simply the victim’s word against the alleged perpetrator’s.

Josei Seven (Sept 20) suggests a far-reaching solution: secret recording devices, perpetually switched on.

Their merit is their ability to produce evidence that can’t be ignored. Their demerit is less easy to put your finger on, and Josei Seven doesn’t try, but its readers perhaps will not fail to be chilled by the implications of being under constant surveillance, everywhere and always – even at home, though they may not know it.

 Case in point: The mother of a junior high school boy suspected her son was being bullied by classmates, shaken down for money. She worked during the day, and could not keep an eye on things. But a camera could. She had one secretly installed. It furnished the evidence she needed. The extortion was occurring at home, when no adults were present. The camera brought the case to a conclusion.

Domestic violence is nightmarish, and the police’s unwillingness to get involved seems at times to put their effectiveness in question, but they have their point of view too, says former police officer and current crisis management consultant  Hiroshi Sasaki. “The police are chronically shorthanded,” he tells Josei Seven. “They can’t act before the commission of an actual crime.” ]

Even then, it’s not always possible for them to move. A physical attack by an abusive spouse may well produce bruises, if not worse symptoms. But what does a bruise prove? If the spouse denies involvement and is known in the neighborhood as an easygoing person, which is often the case, it’s simply the victim’s word against the spouse’s. If the spouse says the victim fell down the stairs, the police may suspect but can’t assume that it’s a lie.

Unless, of course, the attack is on video.

 Yes, but, the reader instinctively demurs, is everything in our lives to be recorded? The answer, with surprisingly few reservations, is yes. The legal exceptions, says lawyer  Mayumi Matsushita, pertain mostly to other people’s homes or property. You can’t, for instance, plant a bug in your lover’s apartment or car to check on his or her fidelity. But in your own home, it seems, your rights are pretty much unlimited. There, says Matsushita, secretly recording your guests’ conversation is “not a violation of their rights.” That may be true legally, but from a purely social or personal point of view, readers will have to decide whether they’d want to pay visits to their friends on those terms.

That is not to make light of the hazards recording is meant to avert. And as Matsushita says, “If (recording) is not secret, it won’t accomplish much. Since there’s no other way to gather evidence, if it were made illegal, we would be unable to protect ourselves and our families.”

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment A camera will make no difference if you (a foreigner) have a dispute with a Japanese.

Case in point: I used to wear a bike camera. Was involved in an accident with a mini van. (Full of construction worker types.)

They claimed I hit their already badly scratched van. I didn't and thought, "No problem. I have the whole thing on video."

Long story short and despite both the police and insurance man watching the video.....I ended up over 50,000 out of pocket.

I no longer wear a camera. No point.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Their merit is their ability to produce evidence that can’t be ignored.

While I agree with the pretense - Rodney King.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

maybeperhapsyes I'm just curious. In your case, what was the evidence (assuming there was some!) provided by the plaintiff that won over the police and insurance people?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japanese discriminate if you aren't part of the system, and if your a foreigner, well guess what YOU are not part of the system. Plain and simple, the rights you think you have don't really exist because you are a foreigner. 

Foreigner father takes his children from Japanese mother, he's charged with kidnapping, Japanese mother takes kids away from foreigner husband and hides in mommies house, it is her right, and system will back and protect her.

So having video of a crime involving a Japanese national against a foreigner doesn't matter, your an outsider not part of their system.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

There was a popular 7 year long (over 130 episodes) TV series about bullying and recording actions. Oddly, the girls caught up in it never thought to record all conversations, ever. It took 3 seasons before they thought to record even a few conversations.

I was sexually harassed at work. Between voice recordings, SMS and emails, it was a clear case and quickly handled. Asking the other person to stop always needs to be the first step. Only when that fails, do you start recording and keeping evidence.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Their merit is their ability to produce evidence that can’t be ignored.

Who are they suggesting this will work against? Black companies? Tailgaters? Bosozoku? Gymnastics coaches who physically assault young athletes?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I ended up over 50,000 out of pocket.

Is that a real story? Body work on a car is much more expensive than that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As a foreigner in this 'omotenashi' country, I avoid contact with Japanese (other than my wife) other than what is necessary. I'm also as careful as I can be when I go out somewhere. I'm sure that with video in hand or not, I would be the one taking the fall. I used to hold Japan in such high regard. Those days are gone.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@maybeperhapsyes: Driving, or riding in your case, is not a right it is a privilege in Japan. No party in an accident is 100% at fault. The logic is that if you were not on the road you would have not hit their van. Even if you ran into a parked car if the parked car was not there you would not have hit it. More than likely you had to pay for an entirely new part as paint touch up and smash repair places don't exist in Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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