While swimming at the wave-generating "Cobalt Beach," one of the most popular pools at the Tokyo Summerland complex in Akiruno City on August 21, nine women between the ages of 18 to 24 were slashed on their buttocks or torsos by a person or persons unknown. The Tokyo Metropolitan Police have been poring over security camera recordings, but have yet to collar a suspect.
As a result, Yukan Fuji (Aug 26) reports that other swimming pools in the greater Tokyo area are taking extra security precautions over the upcoming weekend. As one analyst put it, "The perpetrator seems to be getting a thrill from the excitement he causes, so there's a good chance he'll repeat somewhere."
But nabbing the bizarre "butt-ripper," as some perverse cynics have nicknamed him, might not be so easy. At the time of the crimes, the complex was mobbed with about 10,000 paying visitors.
As the tabloid relates, shortly after 2 p.m., two female bathers said they felt sharp pains, and were found to be bleeding from tears in their bathing suits covering their buttocks. One suffered a cut of about 8 centimeters in length. Afterward, more young women began seeking first aid, making a total of nine.
"I suppose the assailant's purpose was not to cause injury so much as obtaining sexual satisfaction from hearing the women's cry of surprise," theorized psychiatrist Harufusa Higano, head of the Higano Clinic in Tokyo's Adachi ward. "Some people seek these kinds of outlets when they aren't able to satisfy themselves through normal sex."
Dr Higano also believes the criminal's choice of a swimming pool might be significant.
"A swimmer's guard would be down in such a case, and also it's happening in the water, where there's much less chance of someone witnessing the crime. I can imagine the criminal might be a school teacher or other type of respected figure in society who is viewed as a 'serious' person, and who sees such acts as a way to satisfy his urges without damaging his public image," Higano said. He believes the perpetrator considered his acts "play" because if he really intended to cause serious injury or death, he would be more likely to attack a woman's breasts.
"Since he may feel a sense of satisfaction from the uproar he caused, there's a good chance he'll repeat the act," Higano said, voicing fears that the possibility shouldn't be ignored that news coverage of the crime might inspire copycats in other parts of the country.
In the wake of the incident at Akiruno, the Toshima-en recreational complex in Tokyo's Nerima Ward announced that depending on crowd conditions it would "boost the number of security staff at its six pools and increase the frequency of patrols, while aggressively questioning people seen as behaving suspiciously." A spokesperson for Yomiuriland in Inagi City told Yukan Fuji it was adopting stricter security measures at its five pools. And operators of the Rainbow Pool at the Showa Memorial Park in the suburb of Tachikawa -- with an area measuring 1.4 times the size of the Tokyo Dome stadium -- had taken to broadcasting announcements via the PA system to the effect that police had increased patrols of the area, while warning swimmers to be on the alert.
So if you're planning to head for a water park this weekend, Yukan Fuji advises, stay on your guard.© Japan Today