An illustration of the various types of sexual harassers preying on women on public transportation in Japan went viral last month, shortly after a video and a string of stories highlighted the pervasive groping and molesting that female passengers are forced to endure on a daily basis. The drawing, posted on Twitter on May 29, has been retweeted 43, times and prompted online users to share their stories of sexual harassment. Nago told the France 24 Observers in a written statement that people in Japan were not sufficiently aware about the rampant harassment. Sex crimes happen every day, but public awareness is low.
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In light of the metoo movement making traction in Japan, we reached out to seven women who shared their first-hand accounts of dealing with assaults and harassment on Japan's rail system. They shared their stories hoping that it will help destigmatize the issue and bring it to the forefront of public discourse. In early April, a video of a foreign man groping a woman on a Tokyo train was shared around various online Japan communities and networks, inciting outrage and disbelief. Over the years, Japan has continued to try and find ways to fight the issue. More recently, a number of other anti-chikan initiatives have been put into place, including pervert branding stickers put into place by the Saitama Prefecture Police department, and popular warning badges, which were created by a year-old high school student. But chikan eradication is still a work in progress.
A group of men boarded the women-only car of the Chiyoda Line subway in Tokyo during the morning commute on Feb. Such protests are not unusual, but the media almost never covers them. In this case, the women who were already on the train objected loudly, but the men refused to leave after the train arrived at Kokkai-gijidomae Station, thus prompting station staff to become involved. Then, one of the protesters pushed the emergency stop button on the platform. The train ended up being delayed by more than 15 minutes. This is exactly the kind of publicity the movement has been trying to attract for years. Sabetsu said that discrimination is discrimination, regardless of the reason, and that men had every right to ride on any train car they wanted to. The reason for women-only train cars is chikan — sexual molestation or groping — a problem as old as rush hour itself and one that Japan has never been able to solve.