Police in Japan probe bizarre protest against women-only train carriages

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 03 June, 2017, 4:35pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 03 June, 2017, 11:05pm

Police in central Japan are trying to identify the person who sent letters containing vials of a foul-smelling yellow liquid to members of the Nagoya City Council along with a letter demanding that its members abolish women-only carriages on a local subway line.

The letters were addressed to representatives of the five parties in the city council and were delivered in late May, the Asahi newspaper quoted officials as saying.

In the letters, the sender demanded that politicians intervene to force the operator of the Higashiyama Line to stop allocating a carriage just for women during rush hour on weekdays.

The letters did not specify why the sender is demanding that the system be stopped.

Women-only carriages have been introduced on many of Japan’s famously crowded railway and subway lines in recent years to combat the problem of women being molested during their commutes.

Around 1,800 men are arrested each year after being accused of improperly touching women on trains, with police using public nuisance ordinances to prosecute suspects.

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The writer added that he had been forced to address the city council after previous demands to the operator of the line were ignored.

Police have confirmed that similar letters – each containing vials of the smelly yellow liquid – were posted to the 22 train stations on the line, which links Nagoya’s main station and the Sakae business district. Letters were also sent to Nagoya City Hall in March with an identical demand.

Police have refused to identify the yellow liquid that was in the envelopes and are investigating the case as an obstruction of business.

Commentators on social media sites have been less restrained, however, and have speculated about the source of the liquid.

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Others have stated that the case demonstrates exactly why women-only carriages are required, while more suggested stronger punishments for anyone found guilty of molesting a woman on a train.

“The sisterhood needs to band together and nab the perverted individuals and throw them from the trains, preferably while at high speeds,” said one poster on the Japan Today web site.