By Carole Ann Goldsmith Copyright ©All Rights Reserved
In both Tokyo and Osaka, pink train carriages are provided for women only, in selected trains during peak hours. These are available for ladies to avoid being a victim of groping in packed trains. When travelling peak hours, I always use these carriages, to travel in peace.
Only last year in Tokyo, while travelling in a general public carriage during non peak hours, I was sitting a seat away from a man, aged around fifty years of age. I was wearing a summer skirt that covered my knee and was reading a magazine. Out the corner of my eye, I noticed that the man was moving closer to me and there was plenty of room on the seat. All of a sudden, I saw his hand moving and it looked like it was heading for my knee. As his hand got closer, I turned to him and looked him in the eye and at his hand and said in English (because I did not know how to say it in Japanese) “if you touch my leg, I will report you to the police”.
He went red in the face, because everyone was looking at him, moved quickly to the door and got off at the next stop. What I should have done when I alighted the train, was to report him to the police. If it happens again, I will do that. I guess I did not report it, as he did not actually grope me, the intent seemed to be there although.
An Australian female colleague of mine who was teaching English in Japan was travelling on a packed train in Osaka, one morning. She was groped on the breast by a man standing nearby. She shouted at him in Japanese and everyone looked in her direction. She then called the police on her mobile phone and they were at the next station to meet the man.
According to the Kyodo News agency, reported in Japan Times, October 15 2010, http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20101015a2.html 89 percent of train groping victims do not notify police. The National Police Agency (NPA) survey (released on October 14 2010) revealed around 9 out of 10 train women who are groped on trains, do not let authorities know.
Of the 3,256 men and women surveyed in August 2010, in the three metropolitan areas centering on Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka, around 80 per cent wanted security cameras installed in trains to deter the gropers.
Among the measures to combat groping, the NPA will strengthen police patrols, make it easier for victims to report being groped and in install more security cameras in liaison with railways personnel.
So ladies - to avoid the gropers in peak hours, travel in the pink carriages.