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'Teen repellent' in Adachi park spurs flood of inquiries

54 Comments

Over the past several years, Kitashikahama Park in Tokyo's Adachi Ward has suffered repeated acts of vandalism to toilets and other public facilities. Soon after repairs were made, the same facilities were damaged again.

"In that park alone, damage (believed done) by youngsters last year cost us about 700,000 yen," the section head of park management tells the Kameari Keizai Shimbun (May 21), a local website.

A private security firm conducted patrols at the park two nights a week. The patrolmen would approach the local youths who regularly hanged out there and asked for their cooperation, but "there were limits on what they could do," a staff member of the ward office sighs to the Internet news site J-cast (May 20).

Residents adjacent to the park have also complained about teens' loud voices and setting off of fireworks at late hours.

So in April, ward authorities decided to decision rent a "Mosquito MK4 Anti-Vandal System," an electronic noisemaker produced by Compound Security System of the UK. It was installed in the park and went into operation from May 21 between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.

The robustly constructed device, in the form of a 10-cm cube, generates a harmless but irritating high-pitched whine above 17 kilohertz -- a range that few adults over age 25 can hear, but which is still audible to teens. Maximum volume is 85 decibels.

The device was originally developed in the UK to discourage loitering around shopping malls. According to the company's web site, the Mosquito's effective range is 30 to 40 meters.

Adachi Ward rents the device from Melc Co Ltd, a security service based in Chiyoda Ward.

"The objective of installing the Mosquito where young people hang out is to make is make them feel uncomfortable enough to make them want to leave," a Melc representative explains.

Some convenience stores in Japan have installed the device after complaints from nearby residents over noise and littering by teens. Its 40-meter range is enough to discourage loiterers without annoying people in nearby homes.

Adachi Ward plans to utilize the Mosquito in Kitashikahama Park on a trial basis until March 2010. If evaluations are favorable, it may consider procuring more of the units. Acts of vandalism at the 470 parks and other public areas in Adachi Ward were estimated to cost 3 million yen in 2008.

The story has also received wide coverage in the domestic media, reportedly leading to a flood of inquiries from building management firms, local governments, shopping malls and residents groups.

© Japan Today

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54 Comments
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The "Mosquito" should just play country music to repel kids.

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Now teens have only to vandalize the Mosquito thing and voilá!

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Even better, blast high-frequency enka.

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The patrolmen would approach the local youths who regularly hanged out there

Capital punishment?

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The Mosquito is likely to keep selling, since if it succeeds in chasing off the teens they will move down the street and become someone else's problem -- thereby creating and perpetuating demand.

On second thought, since every teen I see in Tokyo these days uses an iPod, how the hell can they hear the drone from a Mosquito if it's "only" 85dB?

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Tahoochi, now you are insulting us!

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Beelzebub

Maybe if they are using an iPod, then they are probably not yelling out or vandalizing anything. NHK reported on this recently and it said the cops asked the kids to move along and the kids basically told the cops to jump in the lake. It just shows how little respect these punks have for police.

By the way, don't their parents have any control over them?

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Brainiac

If this doesn't work, perhaps the park will be forced to adopt what Shinjuku did on its promenade between the rail station and high-rise buildings to keep out the homeless: cover all flat areas with conical bumps of varying heights, making it impossible to sleep (or do anything else) there.

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i though all these youths are listening to their music or playing their PSP,DS via headphone? would they then still hear that high pitched sound?

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Any babies nearby would be crying all night and the parents would have no idea why. Also, I'm 33 and I can hear the mosquito device, and it really hurts your ears after a while.

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They should just play JPOP music...same thing " generates a harmless but irritating high-pitched whine " !!

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They are used to great effect in parts of Britain, apparently, but as mentioned above, they are very upsetting for babies who are within earshot. Few babies are likely to be in a park after dark.

Another scheme that has also been shown to work, and is less infringeing on humna rights is classical music played in these areas. The youths, who presumably listen to the lowest common denominator of music, R 'n'B, are driven away by Mozart. Everyone else positively likes it.

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If annoying noise could act as a repellent, nobody would shop at places like Yodobashi or BIC, use JR or escalators. This will not work in Japan because Japanese people accept annoying noises as a natural part of the environment. I have been told that this is because they have heard these sounds since birth and grown up with noise.

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AH so, you beat me to it. exactly right.

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These are a load of crap, I can hear the sound it makes and I'm in my 30's, most people I know can hear them as well... it's not a solution.

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Other thing, if the local residents are upset about noise and fireworks, then they can call the police and report the disturbance? Then, the police would come and ticket the noisemakers. I mean, that's how it works in other countries.

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Typically ignorant way of passively dealing with an issue instead of confronting the problem.

Damage done by youngsters

Shouldn't this read; "Damage done by the criminals/vandals"?

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Technology at work, excellent.

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Let's see, kids in a park, or kids driving around on loud motorbikes and/or getting into trouble in other places. Give the kids something to do and they will more than likely do it. Give them a cool place to hang out and they will go there. A park is the perfect place. better they are there than wandering the streets. people need to stop picking on these kids and start listening to them. who do the police pull over? kids and old people. you've got to wonder why people assume that only kids are the trouble.

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people need to stop picking on these kids and start listening to them

Next time they are smashing up the park toilets at 1:00am you go and try "listening" to them. I am absolutely sure that would stop further vandalism...

I'm all for this device, but it's a short term measure, not a solution. What is needed is a strict zero-tolerance policy by the police and community. Teenage kids shouldn't be out after 8 or 9pm. They shouldn't be allowed to gather in large groups in the park late at night. They should be at home, studying or watching TV or listening to music like normal kids. If they don't follow the rules both they and their families should be punished. It's as simple as that.

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Developed in a land of stone houses for louts with thick skull bones.

Perhaps they should turn the volume down a bit for the sensitive Japanese body... and I wonder what the plants have to say and the organisms that inhabit the flowerbeds?

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Sounds like a pretty effective and simple solution, but it would be better if the kids had better places to go.

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a cool place to hang out..the shounenin reformatory sounds like a good enough place for me.

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They should be home at 1 am.

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I am 33 and I hear the bird repellent at the entrance of buildings arround Tokyo. Loud, high in frequency. Makes me mad...

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They should just play JPOP music...same thing " generates a harmless but irritating high-pitched whine " !!

But its really dangerous, if you begin to like it you could be commited.

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You want annoying noise, live next to Shidax, even though there are huge signs on the Shidax Building telling people to “PLEASE KEEP QUIET”, as the whole of Shidax is surrounded with apartments, the STUPID of Japan who visit Shidax cannot read their own language and have to rev motorbikes at 3 am in the morning or scream at the top of their voice. 1 Big Gaikokujin Yelling out “SHUT UP” every few days seems to be working at the moment!

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The story has also received wide coverage in the domestic media, reportedly leading to a flood of inquiries from building management firms, local governments, shopping malls and residents groups.

Because teens in Japan have absolutely ZERO supervision or parental guidance?

Um, police? J-Police are armed and trained to handle big bad criminals, but not loitering teens suspected of vandalism? Do teenagers have no parents? Can none of these places rely on police to do their jobs? My parents would disown me if I was even suspected of vandalism.

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Gaijinocchio: Actually you raise a good point, where are these teenagers parents? They should be charged for endangering their own children or not providing care.

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Yeah not going to work agaist any teen that has already loss some hearing loss from blasting their iPod or other choice of mp3 player all day long.

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I live directly across the street from a fairly large park. The city (Urayasu) decided to put a basketball court and skateboard course with no surrounding fence in the middle of the park. Resultantly, I've been listening to to all night basketball games and skateboarder clangs and crashes for 4 years. The only quiet nights are when it rains. The cops come when I call at 3am but phoning them up and detailing the situation in Japanese (always required) when I'm half awake is irritating. I pleaded with City Hall and they finally put up a sign, "No use after 7:30pm" but it's effectiveness is laughable. Otherwise City Hall doesn't really seem to give a st. I'd like to buy one of these teenager "repellant boxes" myself and install it. It would be even better though if it were equipped with a laser-beam vaporizing function which rendered the inconsiderate little adolescent aholes into harmless puddles of plasma. Their sudden demise would probably pass unnoticed anyway, especially by their parents.

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Most teenagers are not vandals. These devices are indiscriminate and where possible, be restricted to non-residential or private property uses.

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i'm glad that some people on this thread are thoughtful enough to question the parents/guardians in this case. if parents aren't around to supervise their children in the evenings then it seems likely they're rarely around at all. in which case we should be spending the money looking into why parents won't, or perhaps can't spend adequate time with their kids

until such a time this sort of action is just paper over the cracks, as it is in the uk where this was invented. it's about time we start questioning why it's so incredibly hard to raise children in our society. if doing something as basic as this isn't high on our list of priorities then i feel our priorities are totally wrong

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This device wouldnt have any effect on those that did baito in a pachinko.

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As they say, spare the rod and spoil the child.

Youth's or anyone for that matter need to be physically punished(strongly) for criminal behaviour, and not just verbally scolded or confined (Jail time). And parents need to get the same physical beatings for not reining in their kids.

I advise you read 'Starship Troopers' by Robert Heinlein, not the dumb arse movie, but the novel. His future world characters talk a lot about what was wrong with our society (20th ~ 21st century) and what lead to it's collapse.

Remember, they are looking back on the problems of the 20th century, crime, violence, Young criminals, inadequate punishment for crimianl behavior etc... It's a good read. Rather insightful.

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they didnt try firehoses first? jeez!

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Until the parents act responsibly, the children never will. The roots of this problem is in the homes...

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Arrest the little s.o.b.s, since talking to thenm nicely doesn't seem to work.

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The problem is which ones do you arrest? Not ALL of the kids in the park are vandals.

I DO like the idea that a certain technology "quirk" is being turned around on teens. For a few years now students have been using downloadable ringtones that are up in that same frequency range so they can receive texts without the teacher hearing the phone ring (adults can usually hear a phone vibarate in the quiet of a classroom).

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Some 7-11's in parts of the world play opera music at night...gets rid of teenagers faster than a homework assignment!!

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I remember reading a few years back that a store which was having trouble with teen shoplifters hired the biggest teen bully in the neighborhood to intimidate his peers into taking their business elsewhere. Apparently it turned out to be extremely effective. So perhaps this kind of persuasion would work, although blood might be spilt at some point.

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All you need is to have a rather low frequency sound of 17 hz. The anus resonates at that frequency, you can figure out the results. BTW it keeps everyone out of the park at those hours.

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I think that this teen-repellent will be hugely popular in Japan.

It seems to be effective as human rights activists are trying to ban it in EU.

They have also turned this buzz into a mobile phone ringtone. Teachers over 30 cannot hear it, so they can use it during class hours.

Download the teen-buzz (mp3) from here and see if you can hear it.

http://pd.npr.org/anon.npr-mp3/atc/atc_teenbuzz.mp3?dl=1

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ouch! just downloaded that....damn thats annoying

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I mentioned to a friend recently that there were frequencies around some buildings that drove me nuts. She informed me that they were these particular security devices used to drive kids away. Well ... they drive me away too. They usually use them in the doorway or just outside of the stores, but I'm far less likely to spend money in a store if I have to plug my ears to go inside or while browsing near the entrance. I can't even walk past the Big Box in Takadanobaba. It feels like an intense itching inside my brain--not pain, exactly, but EXTREMELY uncomfortable.

I've always known my ears were sensitive, but figured years of rock concerts would have damaged them to some point by now. No, no, 26 and I can still hear the "teen" ringtone and all these damn frequencies. And while I don't want to purposefully damage my hearing ... it would be REALLY nice to not suddenly want to claw my ears off while going out somewhere.

This is just a park so I don't care too much, but ... I think while these machines seem like a good idea, younger adults like me who still have keen hearing are going to avoid places that use them. I already have a blacklist of stores I won't go to anymore because it's just too uncomfortable.

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" The robustly constructed device, in the form of a 10-cm cube, generates a harmless but irritating high-pitched whine above 17 kilohertz—a range that few adults over age 25 can hear, but which is still audible to teens. Maximum volume is 85 decibels. "

How is this supposed to work in the age of the ipod?

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mmm japan is changing.

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WilliB,

If you've got your iPod on, odds are that you're not with a group of friends. The music makes it hard to hear what your friends are saying. iPod users probably aren't the concern in the park at night anyway. I don't think I'd be doing something to dull one of my senses in a park at night.

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Teen repellent my ass! I downloaded the sound and although I am 66 years old I can hear it.

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They have been using these devices in Europe for a few years now, normally placed outside late night shops, which is a little odd given that most customers of late night shops are the young & it is designed to unsettle the young, NOT just teenagers. And maybe being 26 feels old to a 26 year old, but it is not old. When I first read about these things I was tempted to get the designs & see how great a range of people could be “unsettled” with a little adjustment here & there. I abandoned the idea because I have cats as do some of the neighbours I thought about unsettling & I have no desire to upset innocent animals. Which brings me to another point nobody seems too concerned about. There are some little critters in the park at night that do have a perfect right to be there & they are not vandalising the place. These devices may move the idiots away & may even get them to go home & annoy their parents, but where do the poor animals go?

Maybe what is really needed is a curfew for all minors with a standing fine imposed on the parents if a “child” is found out the street after a set time without an acceptable guardian. At least this way the animals don’t need to suffer horrible noises.

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I was going to say that I wanted one, but listening to that link above changed my mind. I couldn't listen to more than a few seconds of it and I'm a couple of decades out of hearing range. What's up with that? You won't see me in the park, that's for sure.

The teens are only doing what they were programmed to do by their parents, so the parents should be obliged to listen to these tortuous sounds in much the same way that the rest of us are obliged to tolerate their devil-spawn.

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Brilliant idea, can we get one of these at Amu Plaza?

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FYI, that link of the mp3 ringtone is a SIMULATED version of the actual 17kh sound, it's not the actual sound. It's made so everyone can hear it.

This idea is awesome, I will install one in my parking lot to stop vandal kids from trying to break into my cars.

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I like what these devices can do, but unfortunately they're also indiscriminate in affecting babies and some adults. Classical music and opera are much better choices - even soothing for everybody else.

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