A high-ranking 59-year-old civil servant in Yamanashi Prefecture may pay a heavy price for the theft of a pair of a woman's panties. In a press conference on April 9, Mayor Masanobu Miyajima announced that if the city decides to proceed with his dismissal, it would "not pay one red sen" (a sen is 1/100 of a yen) of the man's pension -- which would probably be close to 30 million yen.
The culprit would have been due to retire in March 2011.
The man in question was nabbed after a woman in Kofu City complained to police that from several months earlier her underthings were regularly being stolen from her first-floor veranda.
"The police set up a stakeout, and caught him red-handed," a local reporter tells Shukan Jitsuwa (May 5). "He admitted everything."
Two months earlier, a senior police inspector was nabbed in Sapporo City while attempting to take digital photographs up a 30-year-old woman's skirt on a station escalator. He had turned age 60 and was due to retire in March.
What is it with Japanese men and women's underthings?
"Men all over the world like to peep at women in their underwear, but it's only Japanese males who have this pronounced fetish for articles of women's underwear, shoes and so on," asserts an unnamed psychiatric counselor.
"More than feeling anger, a foreign woman here whose items were stolen simply couldn't comprehend why they were being taken. A foreigner with the same sexual impulsiveness would probably commit rape. Only Japanese men appear to be lacking in aggressiveness."
The Yamanashi and Sapporo cases are just two of a recent spate of crimes around the country involving men on the verge of retirement -- a number of who were senior police officials.
Well, if women can suffer from marriage blues and maternity blues (aka postpartum depression), notes Shukan Jitsuwa, then the pathology of "retirement blues" ought to warrant further investigation.
Aside from petty crime, another concern among this age group is suicide.
"Considering the ruthless system in the U.S. of laying off unproductive workers or civil servants, it wouldn't be strange for that country's suicide rate to surpass Japan's -- but that's not the case," the counselor continues. "There's a big difference between the ways American males manage stress or how they respond to it."
"Civil servants such as bureaucrats and cops are in occupations that don't require much discretion in personal decision making," criminologist explains. "We often see slight depression among men who remain in middle management up to their retirement. To keep their jobs in business areas where rank is extolled over work performance, they have to suppress their individuality and assertiveness in order to hang on to their careers.
"It's common for them to emphasize their work over family. And to be booted from the organization upon reaching the compulsory retirement age leaves them without a sense of belonging. In worst cases, the sense of anxiety causes them to lose control over their inhibitions, making them more prone to committing crimes," he adds.
Since the population of young workers is declining, the magazine concludes it is probably a good idea to find jobs to keep these men occupied into their 70s.© Japan Today