Grope-free commute

A Tokyo railway company takes steps to protect female passengers at holiday time.

By Jack Boulware
December 8, 2000 1:37AM (UTC)
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Women in Japan are undoubtedly sick and tired of men grabbing their asses on crowded subways and commuter trains. The frequency of this crude pastime increases each holiday season throughout the Tokyo rail system, as more and more women get accosted by loudmouthed, horny, drunken men. The primary fuel for such behavior is the annual "Forget the Year" parties, Japan's equivalent of Christmas parties, which put legions of shitfaced men out onto the streets looking for trouble.

Women in the country are in luck, however: They can now ride without hassle on special female-only, grope-free train cars. This week the Keio Electric Railway Co., which operates trains from central Tokyo to the western suburbs, promises to add such cars to its late-night trains.


"There have been problems with women being groped on the trains, and we felt this was a problem that should be dealt with," a Keio spokesman told Reuters.

"Problems" is an understatement: The company received more than 350 complaints of groping in the past year, and hundreds more incidents probably go unreported. At the least, the new grope-free train car is a legitimate attempt to curb harassment.

Jack Boulware

Jack Boulware is a writer in San Francisco and author of "San Francisco Bizarro" and "Sex American Style."

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