Chikan Subway Gropers Beware!
Japan hosts a large population of over 125+ million citizens trapped within the confines of a 143,619 sq mi island, which for clarification is slightly smaller than the US state of California (163,707). Suffice it to say, Japan is an extremely overcrowded nation—making it an ideal spot for perverts that like to grope innocent women.
In Japan, a man who commits such an act is known as a chikan. And it just happens that the overcrowded subway cars of Japan’s capital city Tokyo are the chikan’s favorite spot to practice their iniquitous behavior. In fact, chikans sometimes even group together for a mass grope, wherein one man holds the victim in place while the others take turns violating her body.
Added to that, a 2001 reported cited by Wikipedia claims that more than 70% of Tokyo highschool girls have been groped by a chikan at least once while riding the subway.
Japan Railways, the largest subway operator in Japan, finally struck back earlier this year by creating “females only” cars for the Chuo Line (Japan’s busiest line) that passes through Tokyo’s Shinjuku Station—which itself is the world’s busiest train station. Unfortunately, getting a ticket is quite difficult; plus those fortunate enough to get in can expect to be “crammed like sardines.”
Fast-forward to April and we start to see some real action. Between April 15 and 21, over 120 police officers from Japan’s National Police Agency (NPA) congregated in metropolitan Tokyo for a mass takedown of gropers, aka the chikan. The operation netted 77 suspects, 49 of who were arrested on the spot, and six who were busted on the previously mentioned Chuo Line.
In addition, another popular rail operator, East Japan Railway Co., jumped on the bandwagon by installing cameras in each of its subway cars. The effort resulted in a 50% decrease of molestation reports. And according to the Daily Yomiuri, JR East intends to follow suit and “install cameras in all 30 trains on the line from June.”
It has taken years to occur, but it looks like Japan is finally taking a stand against the chikan. So for any chikan subway gropers out there, beware lest you find yourself groped as the government lays its firm grip on YOUR BODY!
Below is a video of a similar albeit less effective crackdown that occurred in 2009.