How Safe Is Public Transportation in Japan?

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Japan is famed for its lightning-fast trains, but even in a world where time has taken on ever-increasing importance, safety still comes first. For many women, that means fending off the straying hands of men on crowded commuter trains. Screaming doesn't really work, and suggestions of stabbing offenders with safety pins didn't fly, but in 2019, a company finally came to the rescue. Shachihata Inc. began by offering 500 sets of an invisible-ink stamp that can be applied to a groper's hand. An hour after they went on the market, they were sold out. Yayoi Matsunaga, who runs the Chikan Yokushi Katsudo Center (Groping Prevention Activities Center), called the product "very meaningful," but cautioned that it was too soon to say how well it will help stop the unwanted advances. Still, she added that even as an initial effort, the stamp “should have a big impact on society, which could lead to deterrence." In their first iteration, the stamps sold for 2,500 yen ($23 USD), but Shachihata said it is working on revamping the product based on user feedback.

Riding the rails in Japan:

  • Tokyo's Shinjuku Station is considered the busiest railroad station in the world, serving 3.6 million riders every day.

  • Shikoku's Tsushimanomiya Station is open only on August 4th and 5th every year, as part of an annual summer festival.

  • During rush hour, railroad attendants push passengers onto crowded trains to help speed up commutes.

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