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Mother of falsely accused groper who killed himself seeks justice

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Early in the morning of Dec 11, 2009, 25-year-old Shinsuke Harada killed himself.

The venue he chose was one he knew well from his university days – a platform at Waseda subway station. Not long before, he had had a dreadful misadventure. At JR Shinjuku Station, he’d been jumped by two male university students whose female companion – all three had been drinking – accused him of groping her. They beat him and dragged him to a police station, where police interrogated him throughout the night.

Harada’s mother, so suddenly bereft of her only son, continues to seek eye witnesses at Shinjuku Station.

“For nearly an hour after the police released him early on the 11th,” says Naomi Harada, 53, “my son wandered around central Tokyo. He is extremely nearsighted and wasn’t wearing his contact lenses, so he wouldn’t have been able to see much. He was studying English, and generally carried an IC recorder about with him. It was switched on. My son’s voice is on it, muttering something through tears. I can’t make out what he’s saying.”

April 30 would have been Shinsuke’s 26th birthday. On that day at Shinjuku Station, Naomi was interviewed by the newspaper Yukan Fuji. Almost every day, Naomi is at the station, handing out flyers in the hope of locating someone who saw what happened that December night. She shouts herself hoarse to get attention, but two hours go by and only four or five people have bothered to take a flyer.

After graduating from Waseda University’s business faculty in 2008, Shinsuke took a job with JAXA, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. After a year and a half there, he left in October 2009 to join the staff of a private Tokyo university.

By Dec 10, when the incident occurred, he was just starting to get used to his new job. It was shortly after 11 p.m. On his way home from an office party, he was changing trains at Shinjuku Station and climbing the stairs to the platform when he brushed against a young woman. She said Shinsuke touched her. Her two companions jumped him and beat him.

“After that,” says his mother, “my son was asked to go voluntarily to the police station. All that is recorded on the IC recorder. My son insisted he was the victim of an unprovoked attack, but the police interrogated him as a suspected 'chikan' (groper). My son said to the officer in charge, ‘Am I supposed to go through the rest of my life as a victim of a trumped-up chikan charge, as they say on the news?’”

He was finally released at 5:45 a.m. the next morning, having signed a written promise to be available for further questioning. Instead of going home, he left his bag in a coin locker at Shinjuku Station and boarded a JR Chuo Line train for Tokyo Station. There he transferred to the Tozai subway line and got off at Waseda Station. When the next train came in, he threw himself in front of it.

A mere 55 minutes had passed since he left the Shinjuku police station. A Tokyo Station surveillance camera image shows Shinsuke looking exhausted and walking unsteadily, apparently disoriented owing to his short sight.

“The police sent my son’s case to prosecutors,” says Naomi, her distress plainly written on her face. “The prosecutors dismissed it, the suspect having died. But my son absolutely did not grope anyone. His university friends, his former JAXA colleagues his colleagues and superiors at the private university, all agree: ‘No way young Harada is a chikan.’

"Meanwhile, the police have said not a word about what they heard from the university students who attacked him. And the prosecution has decided not to make the record of their dismissal of the case public. I’m trying to bring the truth to light so that my son can rest easy.”

Besides spending time at the station seeking an eyewitness, Naomi is struggling for the first time to master the personal computer and learn her way around the Internet. She has set up a blog. She asks anyone with information to contact her on Shinsuke’s cell phone. The blog’s address is http://harada1210.exblog.jp/

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

52 Comments
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My God. What a sad, sad story. I pray Shinsuke Harada rests in peace.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I can't say if this young man was innocent or not, but the guys who beat him sure seem to be guilty. They should be punished for it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

These women who cry "chikan" have no respect for themselves, their victims and especially not for the real victims of this crime. How can it ever be taken seriously with people like this around?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Why weren't the people who beat him up charged with assault?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Sweet Jesus... may Shinsuke and his mother find peace. This is a lesson on how a minor event - true or not - may lead to an avoidable tragedy.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

No security cameras?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don't comment much here on JT but this story just breaks my heart. I hope Harada-San is able to lead a happy existence up in heaven because I think he was mistreated here on Earth.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Next time i go to Japan, I should walk around with both my hands on the top of my head

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So the "victim" and "witnesses" had all been drinking and drinking is a prerequisite in order to present yourself as a reliable witness. That's scary. Also, in Japan at least, if two or more altercations took place, and even if you were the initial victim, beating somebody up over something as minor as touching somebody, will leave you as the worser offender and lands you in deep doo. Ahum, the cops told me as much. It's a sad story, but still, personally I wouldn't have thought of killing myself after having been accused of groping.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

[...] the police have said not a word about what they heard [...]. And the prosecution has decided not to make the record of their dismissal of the case public.

A typical case of 臭いものに蓋をする. One of the things that really piss me off here in Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

desmosedici- "Also, in Japan at least,...." This article suggests that the exact opposite is the case.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

and is it really good news reporting to call him a "falsely accused groper" when we dont actually KNOW if he did or did not grope the woman? Therefore, the word "accused" alone should suffice in all honesty.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is why we need male-only subway cars.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The scary part is this can happen to anybody. he train tracks. I would probably wait for the cops to show. That's the best I could do during this. Stopping a fight !!! I could end up in jail or 8 hour explaination.

I would have watched them made sure nobody dies / and or nobody throws anybody in t

All three had been drinking, that's just great !!!! Probably they are still drinking today and still having (partying) fun.. While an innocent person killed himself. **Tell you the truth if I saw two men dragging a man up or down the stairs what can I do to stop it? What if he really did the crime ? What if he didn't. In that particular moment in time, what can you do as a foreigner ? Stop it ? and fight 2 men ? or call the police which will take 20 minutes to show up ? Like really, I'm not Superman !!! These drunk men and the victim was probably yelling and screaming to death. How can you find the real perp ?? victim ??? or whatever ????**

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sad story but I know why people just walked by. It's a headache to get involved !!!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There is obviously more to the story than what's printed. A wrong accusation leading to suicide hours after the fact? This young man obviously had severe problems. You don't simply kill yourself because a bunch of drunks (and the system) throw you a bad day.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Sadly... the story holds truth to many problems in their society. Suicide, inept cops, bullying, groping (the issue), the 1 gal 2 tough guys disease, false claims, attention seeking, guilty until proven innocent, bystanders taking no action, interrogations with no lawyer and the simple fact that the Japanese lack empathy for each other. Poor woman....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Combinibento - From what I hear about the police's tactics in Japan they'd probably spent the entire 7 hours in interrogation threatening him with scenarios how his life would be completely ruined if he didn't confess.

Plus I notice that there's no mention of a hospital visit after the assault. A concussion or similar head injury could easily account for his lack of balance and disoriented behavior. I'm shortsighted and I walk just fine without my glasses, and I certainly don't "walk unsteadily".

The more I look at this the more it screams "Head injury!" to me. Sure he probably may not have been a pillar of strength or stability before the incident, but after 7 hours with the cops and with a head injury his behaviour becomes a lot less inexplicable.

As for the groping issue, I think this needs a serious re-examination. I've been in the Tokyo subways and I'm very careful about keeping my hands in sight, but several times I've had women shove into my personal space simply because they know that I'm going to back as far as possible away or risk them yelling "chikan!". Women aren't all saints and there are just as many malicious women as there are men, and for every guy there is out there who gets off on the power of molesting a woman in a train there's a woman who gets off on the power-trip of being able to ruin the life of anyone she accuses. They need to seriously revisit the issue of chikan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Terrible situation. I generally avoid drinking out late for this very reason. Better to find a place near your house or take a taxi home.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Those three should be held for aggravated assault. Sounds like the girl really did believe that he touched her inappropriately, though.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I dont live in or near Tokyo, but when I was visiting, I could take my backpack off (younger days) standing up on a crowded train, and it wouldnt fall to the ground. in fact, it wouldnt move at all. So how can you AVOID touching someone in those conditions?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The article says he was climbing the stairs to the platform.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I heard lot of such cases. Even my female colleagues told me to be careful. Lot of frustrated girls make up such case. I don’t trust Tokyo girls, worse women in the world. Actually, where to grope? All flat stuff. Anyone doing chikan in tokyo should be Gay. Anyway I keep my hands up while walking in crowd train and station.

I feel, we should wear head mounted survival cam to avoid such cases. Anyway I am going to do that from next week.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Frungy said: The more I look at this the more it screams "Head injury!" to me.

I was thinking along those lines too. But your fleshing out of details got me thinking: the lack of a hosptital visit might explain why the police seem happy for this to go away. They don't their own culpability recognized.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm sorry but it's better to be groped than to be falsely / mistakenly accussed of groping and have your life ruined.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Im wondering why nobody has bothered to ask why the 2 guys were not arrested for assault. So you can just go and destroys peoples lives in Japan just by accusations?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

We don't even know if he was falsely accused. We just know his mom thinks he was. What if he DID touch the girl and then killed himself after realizing what a huge mistake he'd made? We have no way of knowing what actually happened.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

We don't even know if he was falsely accused. We just know his mom thinks he was. What if he DID touch the girl and then killed himself after realizing what a huge mistake he'd made? We have no way of knowing what actually happened.

Yes, that is the position of the defenders of the existing Japanese judicial system that has a conviction rate of 99%.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Krishtx--So, anyone doing chikan should be gay because the women of Japan are all flat, you say? Gee, so sorry not all women can fill out with fat in the chest region. It's genetics, you know. No need to be upset about it. Besides, the article is about a supposedly accused gropper, not the size of women's breasts. Hope we'll be able to find out whether was innocent or not.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The best way for men to keep away from this kind of trap is always engage two hands holding something while standing in a jam-packed train. If you have one free hand, the girl next to you will be naturally suspicious about you in a country where groping happens frequently.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan's criminal law is archaic - and for a country that purports itself to be a "developed nation " needs to have this addressed . , . . . . . A SUSPECT SHOULD NOT BE INTERROGATED by police WITHOUT A LAWYER respresenting ( him / her) PRESENT.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I agree with semperfi. Japan's legal system needs an overhaul. We are talking about a country that has just begun to use a jury system.

Crimes are not equal, even if the punishment for a certain type of crime is. I don't believe that a beating and torture by cops for hours on end is justified for whatever he possibly could have committed in a second on the stairs...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@nandakandamanda

She is the worst person in the whole story. She didn't say what actually happened... She just outright accusered him of doing something horrible. And just branded him "chikan" which naturally provoked aggression towards him, as the word is intended to do. Men need to stop assuming women don't lie and letting women use men to hurt whoever they feel should be hurt.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@silverstar

who cares if he was innocent or not... look at what special status a crime to a woman is given. its so ridiculous for him to be treated that way even if he did touch her inappropriately. a molestation charge in that context, where someone is totally safe, is just a power trip for that person. simply being touched by someone is just not that bad... I've had my butt randomly grabbed by girls that I didn't know. I thought it was weird and slightly irritating but I did not try to publicly brand them and try to bring hostility on them. That kind of fake victimization is just evil.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

sad story...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Unless I'm mistaken, I believe it was reported that she actually recanted her statement? As noted here and by other news sources, his colleagues and friends vehemently and tearfully denied he had the character to do this. What a sad and senseless end. Somehow, I don't think the accuser or her two partners in crime are losing any sleep, which makes this all the more sickening.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I am just curious....how exactly would this warrent suicide? I know it is not a pleasant charge but at least if he was alive he could fight it. This being especially true once everyone sobered up the next day and realized that maybe they had been a little quick to charge him with groping when the accuser was drunk that may have actually stagered in his way accidently. I doubt that she would want to retract her statment but if he fought it, I am sure she would.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Just goes to show, you can accuse anybody of groping, gang beat him, and the police will believe you and interrogate him from night to morning on your drunken word alone.

This hurts the innocent more than the guilty. Even in Roman times it was said that if it were merely sufficient to accuse, what will happen to the innocent?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If I were this mother, I would go after the cops who 'questioned' him for hours. The only two witnesses were likely drunk and this is a case of groping not rape so what the heck were they asking this guy for 5 or 6 hours? And since he had been beaten, there probably would have been visual evidence (bruises, cuts, blood) so how the heck could they have believed anything the two 'witnesses' said? Seems to me they should have just thrown everyone in the drunk tank for the night.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

dolphingirl...you have the right idea! The drunk tank for all and ask again in the am!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I am just curious....how exactly would this warrent suicide?

Sakurala, I think what drove him to suicide was the sleep deprivation. Remember, he was on his way home in the evening when the incident happened. Then he gets brutally beaten by two men emboldened by drink and the desire to impress the false-accusing woman. Folowing this, he's interrogated in the police station all night long.

That kind of exhaustion can drive anyone to despondency.

Something tells me that he had no idea he'd be up all night answering aggressive questions from the police when he first entered the police station -- being bruised and bloody, he probably thought they'd be more interested in who attacked him!

Just about everyone except Shinsuke disgusts me: the woman who gets her two friends to beat someone just on an accusation; the two men who believe the woman's accusation unquestioningly; and of course, the bullying police who took the side of the false accusers and weren't even interested in the punishment they'd already given this poor man. What could they possibly have been asking him for six hours?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

That's what got me about this story. The guys beat him up and then the police hauled him in. What a bunch of idiots.

I was walking to the station once and saw a couple of those loutish teenagers, tall kids with long orange hair, taking turns kicking some younger schoolboy with glasses on. I walked over (everyone one else was studiously ignoring what was happening...), and said to the kid in Japanese, (the two bullies backed away when they saw me coming over), "hey, let's go, you don't need to stand here and takes this, let's get out of here." He just stuttered that everything was ok.

I repeated my offer three times, each time hims saying it was all fine. "The hell with it" I thought and walked off leaving him to his fate. As I was leaving some local keystone cops ran over from the koban and asked if I was ok.

I was incredulous. " You better go help that kid," I said, I am fine. They went over and I kept walking toward the station. It was Sendagaya in broad daylight, and looking back I saw the cops standing and reasoning with the two bullies....

Damn. If it was the states, if I was the cop. Man, those two would be on the ground in cuffs, and be making a court appearance.

There is no sense of fair play in this country. It's just the strong preying on the weak.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

ThonTaddeo - "What could they possibly have been asking him for six hours?"

It's a very simple psychological game. Ask for a story. Increase the pressure until there are inconsistencies. Treat each inconsistency as a lie. Use each "lie" to apply more pressure, with threats of prison time, etc. Use the promise of decreased pressure and a lighter sentence or even just a fine to extract a confession (even though the police have no power to guarantee this).

It may not be whips and chains, but it's definitely not a reliable means of extracting the truth. As far as I'm concerned the police shouldn't even get involved in asking anything more in-depth than your name and address until they have written statements from witnesses and sufficient evidence to press charges. Anything else is just "fishing" for convictions, and this sort of fishing isn't moral since the determining factor in someone signing a confession is the person's tolerance for stress. Someone with a low stress tolerance who is completely innocent will sign anything just to make them stop the threats and stress.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Soredemo boku wa yattenai <-go watch this movie. Depicts what happens here and shows you how you are treated by jcops. Very good movie about a decrepit J-judicial system.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

watch this movie and get a glimpse of how u are guilty with little to no possibility of proving your innocence ...Soredemo boku wa yattenai

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is a frightening and sad case, and highlights the lack of basic human rights in Japan. The J police use mental torture as a means of extracting confessions from people. This case brings the entire justice system in Japan into disrepute. This brave mother should take her son`s case to the International Courts. She will get no satisfaction here.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I could not find anywhere in the article that the girl retracted her claim that she was "groped"? What in the world made this kid kill himself and not clear his name? The government of Japan really needs to invest in suicide awareness.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

avenger said: Im wondering why nobody has bothered to ask why the 2 guys were not arrested for assault.

You mean other than all the people above you who asked?? (facepalm)

ALHQQ said: I could not find anywhere in the article that the girl retracted her claim that she was "groped"?

Its a quote from a poster with no source. I searched but could find no proof of the claim. The kanji for Shinsuke Harada is 原田信助 is you want to search.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If the girl and her two friends recanted the story about Shinsuke Harada roping the girl then the police should charge the three with a false crime.

There seems to be a lot stuff that are wrong with Japan in regards to the article. The J-police is incompetent at their job and is always looking for any reason to convict a person regardless if the people accusing the guy have any merits or not. Ever heard of the word "evidence." Since it seems the girl and her friends were drunk that should have been a red flag as to the merits of the case.

Shinsuke Harada probably committed suicide because he wasn't able to face his family, friends, and his company instead of fighting for what he believed to be justice. The J-police tacit is to shame the person who is in their custody so he/she will feel guilty about it and do whatever the J-police wants in order to avoid further embarrassment.

Justice or truth does not exists in Japan. It's all about what is best for society as a whole, but there are so many things wrong with it when the individual rights is at the expense of society. The J-police, J-corporation, and the J-court system are corrupt. These institutions need to change for the better.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sorry, that was me that thought there was a recanting from the woman. I had read another article on a different site that I am sure stated that (I even cross-checked it with this article, noting this discrepancy) because I remember seeing his picture. However, after checking up both Japanese and English sides it appears that article was pulled. My apologies, but it doesn't change my feelings on this.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

False accusation is almost as common as actual cases of sexual harassment in Japan and more credence is often given to the accuser than the accused. Where there is a lack of evidence or evidence is obtained under duress prosecutors should have a lot more clout in telling police to do a better job. The same problem existed in many other countries including the UK and after several unsafe prosecutions the Police and Criminal Evidence Act was passed that lays down rights and rules for the treatment of all those in custody. This includes how interviews should be conducted, legal representation, welfare of those in custody and most importantly how long they can be detained. The effect of the legislation is to focus the police on the quality of evidence such as their interview that is recorded. There have been amendments by other legislation, particularly in relation to terrorist suspects, but its basically the same. If the rules aren't followed then the police would be in serious trouble as any departure from agreed procedures needs senior authorisation and ultimately permission from the Judiciary and when this is not obtained then the police themselves can be prosecuted. I suspect there is similar legislation in the US and Canada and also other European countries in addition to the UK. The Japanese criminal justice system has long been under the spotlight of those concerned with human rights.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Like it has been said, we do not know the truth, but there was still alot of unjustness going on here...

I like dolpfingirls statement:"Seems to me they should have just thrown everyone in the drunk tank for the night".

To me this would have been the best way to go about this and more than likely this young man wouldn't have committed suicide...though I have to say, for him to have committed suicide, he must have been going threw some other issues as well...maybe the pressure built up and he couldn't take no more.

And I am sorry but I have to say this..krishtx...that comment was out of order! Totally uncalled for.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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