Police are once again hunting a dangerous man for the crime of speaking to schoolgirls.
The “incident report” from the Osaka police’s criminal advisory system (preserving the curious wording of the original):
At 1730 a pair of middle school girls were proceeding on foot when they were approached by a suspicious individual who told them “I recently moved here and don’t know the way” and asked for directions.
There was no violent or obscene conduct, but for roughly an hour and and a half an incident involving them showing him the way occurred.
The suspicious individual was an elderly man. He was bald on the top of his head, wore beige work clothes, and had on a pair of black trousers.
Should you encounter this suspicious person, please dial 110 immediately and report him to police.
It should be noted that these reports never detail how the incidents in question actually come to the attention of police.
Online there is the usual scepticism about the near criminalisation of having a penis in the presence of schoolgirls in public, as well as a great deal of speculation about what really happened:
“So now we can’t even ask people for directions?”
“It’s a bit harsh to call him bald like that!” [the Japanese word used, "hage," has a rather harsher nuance than "bald" might suggest]
“No, it was being bald which made him suspicious.”
“That had nothing to do with it!”
“He kidnapped them for an hour and a half, this is an outrageous crime!”
“If making eye contact with schoolgirls is a crime, making them show you the way deserves the death penalty!”
“If he wasn’t bald this wouldn’t have ended up as a police report.”
“Baldies have no human rights.”
“What the hell is this about it taking one and a half hours, he could have found his own way to a police box in that time.”
“This report just exudes spite.”
“This country is becoming seriously messed up – ‘suspicious people’ being seen everywhere, couldn’t this just have been someone trying to find their way?”
“Just for asking the way, that would be horrible. But for enjoying a stroll for 90 minutes with two schoolgirls, I suppose it can’t be helped.”
“But who thought this ‘suspicious’? The girls were in high spirits and he didn’t cause anyone any trouble?”
“That sort of thing usually costs ¥10,000.”
“I’m always getting lost and asking for directions. I guess I don’t get reported because I’m young.”
“If you’re going to ask people for directions, schoolgirls are the ones you should avoid asking at all costs.”
“All the people who are saying it can’t be helped because he’s bald are seriously despicable.”
“Couldn’t they have said it in a more oblique manner?”
“It’s pretty strange for someone to let someone take up an hour of their time with showing them the way…”
“It probably took 10 minutes but such was the ordeal of talking to a baldie it seemed like 90 minutes.”
“Perhaps if they were headed the same way and walked together talking for the duration?”
“It was nice of them to show him the way.”
“A pair of kind little schoolgirls kindly helping an elderly man in trouble to find his way – shouldn’t that be treated as a moving tale of human kindness?”
“Wasn’t this just a lie made up by a pair of JC scamps to explain why they were an hour and a half late getting home?”
“This was enko, wasn’t it? They were on the way to the love hotels with baldie but they got rumbled and said they were showing him the way?”
“Just get it over with and make speaking to people you don’t know in public a crime.”
In light of recent events, the rather staggering dangers of terrifying bystanders into thinking they face arbitrary persecution at the hands of police and courts should they interact with strangers could not be more apparent.