“Human trash,” says Friday (Feb 7).
There’s a lot of it, it seems. Hiding in anonymous corners of the internet, it draws followers, make plans. Then they fan out and strike – on crowded trains, most famously.
Most readers will have guessed the subject: chikan (gropers). But there’s a twist. Jan 18-19 were the dates of this year’s National Center Test for University Admissions. It’s a standard test, taken annually nationwide by more than half a million senior high school students on their way up to college. It’s been much in the news lately. Its standardized, multiple-choice format, a national fixture since 1990, will be replaced, as of next year, by a freer-format test emphasizing imaginative thinking and self-expression over merely knowing the right answer. This year’s “Center exam” was the last.
What has this to do with chikan? Those corners of the internet that deal in such fare bristled with excitement, says Friday. “Carte blanche for gropers!” Go out there, have your fun, and don’t worry about being caught – your victims will be on their way to the exam, they must get there on time, they have no time to spare for superfluous matters like calling for help and reporting to police. Friday found “more than 1,000” such postings.
It spoke to a young woman whose experience must be typical of thousands. When it happened we’re not told – not this year. She was on her way to take the test. The train – it was morning rush hour – was jam-packed. She felt her skirt being lifted. She thought at first it had got caught in someone’s bag. She pulled it down, but up it went again. Then she felt a hand over her panties. “My blood froze.”
It had happened before, she says. Then, she’d caught the perpetrator, and station personnel came to her aid. The police were called, the man was arrested – which was very gratifying, but it had taken hours, she’d been late for school. Lateness was a luxury she could not afford on exam day. Fortunately her stop was next.
Her emotions in turmoil, she couldn’t concentrate on the test. When it was over, afraid to take the train home, she called her father, who came for her in the car.
That’s what it feels like for the victim – but it’s probably useless to appeal to perpetrators’ sympathy.
Many high schools this year advised female students to wear pants instead of school uniforms to the test, and if possible not to travel alone. There is, besides, a citizens’ campaign afoot to put a stop to this kind of thing.
It’s called “with yellow,” and claims several thousand activists nationwide. They wear something yellow to identify themselves. They ride trains strategically selected, and keep their eyes peeled. If they see a young woman who seems to be in trouble, they come forward. One activist whose prompt action she said prevented an attack said the high school girl she protected broke down in tears of gratitude.© Japan Today