HOKKAIDO (TR) – A coincidence.
At least, that was the initial assessment by Hokkaido Prefectural Police for how two men — each of whom up to no good — wound up inside a women’s toilet of a supermarket in Sapporo’s Nishi Ward at nearly the same time earlier this month.
In providing a recap, evening tabloid Nikkan Gendai (Apr. 9) reports that a female customer lodged a complaint with a service desk about a “person appearing to be a man” inside the restroom at around 6:30 p.m. on April 8.
A female employee and a guard arriving at the first-floor toilet found Mikio Sano, 51, holding a digital camera. “What’s that?” one of them asked him. After he indicated that his aim was to take illicit (tosatsu) footage, police were called to the scene.
About one hour later, an officer from the Sapporo-Nishi Police Station began a thorough investigation of the restroom, which includes six stalls. After the officer noticed one stall appeared to have been in use for an extended period, he had a female staff member knock on the door. “The stall is occupied,” came a voice from the other side.
Some time later, Yoshio Asai, the director of the Sapporo branch of the Food and Agricultural Materials Inspection Center, emerged from the behind the door wearing a women’s wig and skirt.
After he was arrested on suspicion of trespassing, Asai told police, “Female clothing is my hobby.”
Second such case involving a civil servant this year
Given his standing at the Food and Agricultural Materials Inspection Center, which employs more than 600 people in overseeing examinations of various foods and agricultural chemicals, Asai is considered a civil servant.
Believe it or not, this is not the first such case involving a person of such a status to take place this year. In January, a male Ministry of Defense official, 50, entered a women’s public bathhouse while wearing a bob-shaped wig and make-up. He soaked his 90-kilogram frame in a tub for about 50 minutes before being confronted by management.
In the most recent case, a security guard at the supermarket expresses bafflement about the timing of the incident to Tokyo Sports (Apr. 11). “We’ve had shoplifting in the past,” he says. “But a man in women’s clothing and a tosatsu photographer at the same time on the same day?” His voice then trails off in disbelief.
A person with knowledge of the investigation says, “If it is not a coincidence there is a high possibility that the pair met on a bulletin board site for those interested in partaking in crimes of perversion.”
As of now, police are viewing the arrests as coincidental while upping patrols of the supermarket to inhibit copy-cats.