Japan Cops Get Tough on Subway Gropers

Tokyo launches 'groping prevention week'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 18, 2009 3:40 AM CDT
Tokyo police are targeting nine commuter lines favored by gropers.   (©katclay)
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(Newser) – Japan has dispatched undercover police officers across Tokyo's commuter rail system to make sure men with wandering hands feel the strong arm of the law, the Guardian reports. Sexual harassment has long been a problem for Tokyo's subway, with two-thirds of young women saying they have been inappropriately touched while traveling. A recent surge in groping cases is blamed on websites offering men tips on how to grope women and get away with it.

Some gropers, encouraged by the websites, have been organizing into gangs to surround a victim while accomplices block the view of fellow passengers. Police warn that convicted gropers face up to 6 months in prison and a $6,000 fine. The crackdown—described as "groping prevention week"—snared its first groper within minutes: a 30-year-old man charged with grabbing a 15-year-old girl.