Japan Today
Image: JR East

Tokyo train operator begins issuing body cameras, but it’s not employee conduct that worries them

By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

There’s usually a lull in activities at most Japanese companies at this time of year. Things are winding down as most people get set to go on New Year’s vacation, and there’s a general attitude that there’s not much point in starting things that can wait until after everyone comes back to work in January.

But East Japan Railway Company, the Tokyo area’s largest train operator, has at least one order of business it wanted to get done before the start of 2023: equipping station staff with body cameras. JR East (as the company is also known) announced the policy on December 22, with implementation coming just a few days later on December 26.

While body cameras in many countries have become associated with safeguarding the public against misconduct by people in position of authority, in the case of JR East it’s the opposite problem that they’re trying to prevent. While Japanese society can usually be accurately described as polite and peaceful, station employees sometimes find themselves on the receiving end of verbal abuse and even physical attacks from rail passengers, oftentimes ones who have had far too much to drink.

A 2020 study found more than 400 reported cases of physical attacks on railway workers, and it’s JR’s hope that equipping its employees with body cameras will “improve the safety of station employees and promote the creation of an environment where they can work with a sense of security and peace of mind.”

JR East says it will be implementing body cameras at 15 stations, though a list of which exact ones hasn’t been made available. In keeping with their purpose as a preventive measure, the cameras will be highly noticeable, clipped to the chest area of employee’s uniforms and with a written indicator stating that they’re currently recording/broadcasting.

The timing of their introduction is likely so that the system will be up and running by the time Japan enters its end-of-the-year/New Year’s party season, during which the number of drunk passengers on trains and passing through stations skyrockets.

Source: JR East via Hachima Kiko

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- JR East to equip trains station staff with bodycams to protect them from attacks

-- Japan Railways wants to build a team of robots to help travelers, catch criminals in its stations

-- Japan Railways to release new anti-groper smartphone app to help victims before chikan gets away

© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

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i have seen these people having torrents of abuse flung at them. These cameras may give abusive people pause, or allow the police to take some action.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

That thing is about the size of a fax machine.

4 ( +16 / -12 )

What decade is that contraption in his pocket from?

Looks like some kind of small propaganda deal from the old Soviet Union or the current day North Korea.

I wonder if it records in color.

1 ( +10 / -9 )

Does that thing record to a betamax tape? It's enormous!

11 ( +16 / -5 )

My first smartphone was an iPhone 4s. It fitted in a shirt pocket and was light. It had a very capable camera. Is Japan incapable of building a bodycam that size? How much did that thing cost?

Would it even be possible to programme a phone to work as a bodycam? Maybe one could be connected to a bluetooth switch in the wearer's pocket. One of my security cameras is smaller than that.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Odds are that the size of the camera is due to the fact that they want people to see that these employees are recording everything. If they used a small camera that no one could see, the people being recorded could make excuses about not knowing they were being recorded, or some other BS.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Looks like a version of Panasonic's Arbitrator bodycam. It's big because 1) large battery pack, 2) it's an extremely rugged housing to avoid destruction of videos. If it's like the US product it meets MIL-STD-810G (aka MIL-SPEC).

7 ( +7 / -0 )

That thing is about the size of a fax machine.

 It's big because 

It's enormous!

So everyone can see it and know they are being taped and thus they will be deterred. It is the same reason why people in the west have huge signs in front of their homes that say Guarded BY Dog. 

6 ( +7 / -1 )


Today 10:17 am JST

That thing is about the size of a fax machine.

> It's big because

> It's enormous!

> So everyone can see it and know they are being taped and thus they will be deterred. It is the same reason why people in the west have huge signs in front of their homes that say Guarded BY Dog.

A deterrent? Maybe. Might be something that angers the offender even more too. "Turn off that camera! Stop filming me!" It can also be grabbed and thrown. Can't do that with a guard dog but at least the video should survive the rampage. I imagine we'll know how effective this is soon enough.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Lol, where did they get that camera from, the 1970s? Talk about not being subtle.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

does it record in vga res?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

In view of the size, I highly doubt it is light enough not to damage the suit and not impede the employee wearing that from doing correctly his job.

I assume picture was for advertisement only purposes, and a red dot is enough to show it is recording.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

this is merely one of those door intercoms you get off ali express

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

RIP coat pocket, that camera looks heavy.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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