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Off the rails: Trouble could await perverts perusing chikan sites

Yusuke Saito
Yusuke Saito (second from left) and the other three suspects in the groping of a woman on the Saikyo Line in July (TV Asahi)

TOKYO (TR) – In announcing the arrests earlier this week of four men over the alleged molestation of a woman inside a train carriage in Tokyo earlier this year, police said that the perpetrators met online via a site that attracts persons interested in groping females.

However, would-be gropers, referred to by the term chikan, peruse such sites at their own risk as problems may await, according to TV Asahi (Nov. 28).

On July 19 at just past 7:00 p.m., Yusuke Saito and his three cohorts allegedly probed their fingers inside the underwear of the woman, a female office worker aged in her 20s, inside a carriage of the JR Saikyo Line as it traveled between Ikebukuro and Itabashi stations.

“To watch other passengers touch [the woman] got me excited, making me want to touch [her],” police quoted Saito, who has been accused of indecent assault, in admitting to the allegations. Two other suspects also admit to the charges, while the fourth told police that he was present but could not reach the woman.

According to police, the four suspects were not acquainted prior to the incident. They are believed to have committed the alleged crime together after communicating on an internet bulletin board site where persons post messages about molesting women on trains.

Not always having genuine intentions

TV Asahi points out that persons posting messages on such sites do not always have genuine intentions. In one case, a man and woman working together attempted to defraud one such reader of a site.

“I want to be groped,” a message purportedly written by a woman in her 20s said. A man, aged in his 50s, who responded to the post was provided the woman’s clothing type and location within a specific train carriage. After locating a female matching the description, he approached and began to fondle her chest.

The male associate working with the woman then apprehended the man and presented him to the police. But after the associate requested a compensation payment, the ruse was eventually revealed.

“We could become friends”

In another case, an employee at a tax office in Osaka impersonated a woman seeking to be fondled inside a train carriage on such a site. During his trial, the defendant admitted to the allegations, saying he had a romantic interest in the victim. “I thought if I came across as her savior [after the groping], we could become friends and go out drinking,” he testified.