Most koban (police boxes) in Japan feature a small room in back where police officers working shifts can stretch out on a cot to rest. But some, according to Shukan Post (Oct 21) have been putting the rooms to use for romantic quickies during their breaks.
On Sept 1, the Nagano prefectural police announced that a police sergeant and a female patrolman had been found to have engaged in "inappropriate behavior while off duty" and would be subject to disciplinary action. They wound up submitting their resignations. The sergeant was a married man age 44; his partner was a single female aged 22. While on break, the two admitted to have engaged in sex in their koban on multiple occasions.
This was by no means an isolated incident. In Ehime Prefecture last July, a sergeant in his 30s (married) and a female subordinate in her 20s (single), assigned to the same koban, admitted to having conducted a torrid affair between September 2021 and March of this year. The male was demoted in rank; the female resigned.
In Hyogo Prefecture in May 2021, a female sergeant (age 29 at the time of the incident) was socked with a pay cut after admitting to having sex with two different male subordinates between August 2019 and February 2020. The men were also subjected to disciplinary action.
Two similar cases had occurred in Hyogo, one in 2017 involving a married police captain (age 39) and a single policewoman (age 30). The other, in 2020, involved three amorous encounters by a sergeant (age 32) and a female officer (age 21) while on duty.
What is it, Shukan Post wants to know, that makes cops find these "koban sex" encounters so irresistible?
"If you look back 20 or 30 years or so, it was rare to see policewomen assigned to koban work," said Taihei Ogawa, a former cop who writes about crime. "Then from 2009, the decision was made to expand the types of jobs performed by females, and they began getting assignments to koban, including night shifts.
"The police, moreover, have been employing more females, which increases the likelihood of their being assigned to koban duty."
Ogawa notes that younger cops, including the women, are typically mentored by seniors, who teach them the ropes.
"In most cases, the system is to assign three cops to work the same koban shift, including two females," Ogawa explains. "Naturally they go on patrols and take meals together, and also go on break together."
And therein lies the rub.
The young policewomen are typically paired with veteran cops in their 30s or 40s, most of whom are married. In their close working environment, the younger women often pour out their personal problems and concerns, which is often a springboard to romance.
Former policewoman Chinatsu Yoshino (a pseudonym) recalls what it was like as a 19-year-old rookie who spent a year on the koban beat.
"During our weekly judo workouts, we'd engage in close physical contact," said Yoshino. "Also we'd go out drinking twice a month, and it was common for male colleagues to try to kiss or grope me. On our second date, one invited me to accompany him to a love hotel. He felt no sense of restraint at all."
"It was when a cop dropped his trousers and grabbed me from behind that led me to resign," she relates.
Afterwards Yoshino, now 48, assumed a new career appearing in adult videos.
"In addition to senior-junior relationships, there's the 'blue wall of silence,' the unspoken code against informing on their colleagues' indiscretions," explains journalist Ogawa. "Officers generally keep themselves in good physical shape through training in judo; many of them are at the peak of their sex drive. They often can't afford love hotels on their police salary. But as their working hours in the koban aren't clearly set, once the spark is lit, five minutes are enough for them to get it on."
"Some men may boast about their koban conquests to colleagues who disapprove. And once the cat's out of the bag, the bosses have no choice but to punish the errant parties," Ogawa added.
When it comes down to it, the article concludes, some cops appear attracted to koban sex simply out of the sheer thrill of it. Kind of like joining the "mile high" club on airliners.© Japan Today