Seventy-seven gropers (chikan) were arrested on Tokyo commuter trains during a crackdown by the Japan National Police Agency. During the April 15 – 21 effort, 120 officers from the NPA and the Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa prefectural police rode train routes known to attract molesters.
Six people were caught on the Keio Line and JR Chuo Line, the highest number of all the train lines. The JR Saikyo Line, notable for frequent reports of groping, installed security cameras on some trains last year. Five people were caught on the Saikyo Line during the April crackdown. All of the perpetrators were caught in cars without security cameras.
Twenty-six of the 77 victims were high school students and fourteen people were university students. Forty of the victims were between 15 and 19 years of age. Forty-two of the arrests occurred between 7 a.m and 9 a.m.
Fifty-eight of those arrested were charged under the "public nuisances" law. Four of the perps were charged with using a hidden camera to take secret photos in the train. Three were arrested on charges of forced obscene acts in the train car, and one man was charged with indecent exposure in the car.
Eleven people were charged with taking indecent photos of passers-by on escalators and on the stairs on station premises.
Twenty-nine of the 77 had previously been caught molesting train passengers. In one incident, while an officer obtained a description of a suspect from one victim, the officer saw the suspect in the first crime grope another victim in the same car. The suspect was arrested.
The NPA will post police officers on trains to crack down on gropers who target particular victims or stalk women after they get off the train. "If you get groped on a train, please tell the nearest police officer," an NPA spokesman said.
In one groping arrest in February, a 16-year-old girl who was fondled on the JR Takasaki Line grabbed the suspect’s hand, hauled him off the train at the next station, and handed him over to police. The girl is a member of her high school judo team. The 21-year-old perpetrator was charged with public nuisance.
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