Policeman arrested for copping a feel

It’s quite common in Japan to see news reports about chikan, people who grope others on crowded commuter trains. In today’s Mainichi News, there’s a story about a policeman doing just that. Here’s the gist of it:

Koji Yamano, 50, the policeman, was arrested for breaking an Osaka Prefectural Government ordinance outlawing people from creating a public nuisance.

Yamano admits to the allegations.

“I just couldn’t help myself. I’m so sorry,” he said.

Police said Yamano was riding a Nankai Koya Line train on Friday night when he walked up behind a 20-year-old woman standing near the carriage door and began touching her and rubbing his crotch against her.

Apparently he had had seven beers beforehand.

Commuter trains in Japan are so crowded that station attendants are sometimes seen pushing people onto them, and it really is like a can of sardines. At 6ft, I’m lucky enough to be able to breathe over most of the other passengers, but it must be horrible for shorter people. People are packed together so tightly that you could take your feet off the ground and not fall over. And with people hanging onto the overhead rails, you often find yourself with an armpit in your face. Eeugh!

I can’t condone what chikan do, but if you’re pressed so tightly against an attractive female, your imagination might start to play havoc with you! But really Mr. Yamano, you’re not supposed to actually act out your thoughts, you dirty old policeman!

Oh, since we’re on the subject, the chikan problem has escalated so much that some train operators now have designated women-only cars. The problem with this is that chikan assume that women using the regular carriages must be looking for a feel, and the number of groping incidents is still increasing!

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