If you are planning to backpack to Japan, Tokyo to be specific, beware gropers on the rush hour trains. Sign in picture taken from the Japanese metro.
See Wikipedia article on groping:
In Japan, street groping is called chikan (痴漢, チカン, or ちかん); and a man who commits such acts is also called chikan, while a woman is called chijo (痴女).
Crowded trains are a favourite location for groping and a 2001 survey conducted in two Tokyo high schools revealed that more than 70% of students had been groped while travelling on them.
As part of the effort to combat the problem, some railway companies designate women-only passenger cars during rush hours.
While the term is not defined in the Japanese legal system, vernacular usage of the word describes acts that violate several laws.
Although crowded trains are the most frequent targets, another common setting is bicycle parking areas, where people bending over unlocking locks are targets.
Chikan is often featured in Japanese pornography.
The issue of groping in Japan does not just affect females but males as well.
Such is the concern about groping that a film has been made about it.
More details are provided by a Tokyo News Website:
The problem of Chikan (female groping on a train) in Tokyo is nothing new and the same applies to other areas in Japan which are highly populated and where the train system is jam pact.
However, the amount of cases in Tokyo is famously high because the train system is full to capacity in the rush hour period and from 5pm onwards.
Therefore, men who do chikan have ample opportunities in order to molest and touch females discreetly.
Every year thousands of men are arrested for groping ladies on public trains in Japan and in Tokyo many high school young girls also state that they have been groped.
Therefore, the problem of chikan is mainly an issue for young female teenagers, ladies in their twenties and thirties and occasionally towards ladies who are a little older.
The chikan situation is very complex because some men also claim to be victims and this applies to women who may be gang affiliated or have individual money motives.
Therefore, extortion rackets can happen but this is a minority issue within the thousands of men who have been caught.
More seriously, some men claim to be victims because in recent times the police and judiciary are clamping down on chikan but this means that some innocents will be caught amongst the majority who are guilty.
After all, sometimes it could be an innocent mistake because of sudden movements on the train. Also, because trains are so busy then bodies will naturally bump into one another and nothing is black and white in every case.
So backpackers should avoid trains in Japan during the rush hour.
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- By Wang Chung
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