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Japanese Railways Are Releasing an Anti-Groper Smartphone App

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Groping is apparently a huge issue on Japan’s railway system, and there are some huge reasons why the problem continues to persist. The first is the fact that Japan’s chikan (train groper) has built-in mobility to preform these crimes. Which makes it insanely difficult for victims to get help from authorities when they are hopping off at the next station, and making a swift get away on the next train headed for a different station, virtually disappearing through Japan’s intricate rail network. It happens so fast that the chikan gets away while victims are still searching for a security guard.

The next problem is that the train groper is taking advantage of the densely packed conditions of the trains during rush hour, which conceals their crimes completely. During rush hour in Japan there is an amount of physical contact that is inevitable, commuters are packed so tightly against one another while they’re making their way to school and work, this makes it even harder to identify where the source of the groping is coming from, especially if it’s out of the line of sight of the victims. Not being able to single out the chikan is creating an immense amount of hesitation in speaking out to get help. Leaving the offender to satisfy their heinous urges and then slipping away to the next stop. Not to mention the train being so packed that even if a good Samaritan wanted to do something to stop them, it’s far too late for them to step in. JR East which is also known as the East Japan Railway Company came up with a pretty clever idea that they hope will help. Trials are going to begin this month as rail operators will be testing a new instrument that will give victims the chance to report the chikan with the click of a button. The newly developed app is going to send a message to the train’s conductor to let them know specifically where in the train the alert is coming from. The conductor will then come over the train’s P.A. System informing all passengers on board that there is a situation, “We have received report of chikan in car number three.”

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They hope this will at the very least startle the chikan enough to get their hands off the victim, and attract the attention of other passengers. The company isn’t going as far as to seek passengers assistance with physical restraint, but the extra eyes should hopefully act as a deterrent until the train docks at the next station. Where a team of security officers will be waiting on the platform ahead to apprehend the train groper. The testing of this new system will begin at the end of February on trains that are traveling along the Saikyo Line, which links with the west side of downtown Tokyo, making it one the busiest commuter lines in the nation. They will be announcing the test to the passengers in hopes that the message is sent out loud and clear to the chikan that this system is becoming fully operational. If everything goes well with the first round of tests, JR East will fine tune it for a second round of trials come June. Then the finished app will be released to the public.

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