A man has been arrested for taking a photograph of a young woman on a train, with lawyers explaining this constitutes criminal voyeurism even if she is fully clothed, in frame head-to-foot, and no actual pictures are taken.
A 40-year-old employee of Kawasaki City’s environment department was reportedly on board a train one evening when he decided to take a photograph of another passenger, a 21-year-old female university student – fully clothed, from a normal angle and with her entire body in frame rather than any specific portion of her anatomy.
This outrageous act prompted his arrest, as explained by sources familiar with the case:
The man used a camera in the shape of a USB memory stick, and when the student noticed she called police and he was arrested under prefectural anti-voyeurism ordinances.
The images he took had the woman in frame from head to foot, and there was no pantie or bra visible. Police report that even taking photos like this with a normal camera or smartphone will result in arrest.
A lawyer explains the fascinating legal logic behind arrests of this kind:
Anybody can be arrested for taking photos of an unprepared person.
The anti-nuisance ordinance is applied in cases where a woman is made to feel embarrassed or uncomfortable by photography of her body.
Her “body” includes her being fully clothed, so if you take photographs of a woman on the street and the police are called you have committed a crime.
Just pointing a camera or smartphone at her will be enough to trigger arrest, there is no need to actually take any pictures.
Thus any report by a woman that a man has pointed his smartphone at her in a manner causing her embarrassment or discomfort is enough to prompt the man’s immediate arrest – and up to a year in prison and a million yen in fines.
The lawyer’s advice is a heartening “run away”:
If there is trouble stemming from your photography of a woman you don’t know, you need to promptly leave and put as much distance in time and space between yourself and the incident as possible.
As a rule police will only prosecute such offences if you are caught in the act, so they are unlikely to pursue the matter.
So your only defence is to be prepared to “run away as fast as possible.”
Naturally all this has aroused considerable comment from those wretched males forced to run the gauntlet of the nation’s trains or unwise enough to carry a smartphone or camera on their person in public:
“Japan’s police and legal system is just a joke, isn’t it?”
“Just looking at someone is now enough to get you arrested it seems.”
“Why is it OK for mass media to freely photograph people in public then?”
“I bet the main reason he was arrested was for the USB memory-shaped camera. He must have been at it on other occasions.”
“So? They can still arrest you just for pointing a smartphone at someone.”
“I would think security cameras could also get their operators arrested.”
“Not even having to actually take photos is the most dangerous aspect of it. Anyone with a smartphone could be arrested.”
“Hopefully they will arrest some foreign tourists so this gets international exposure.”
“Wait for 2020 and the stream of foreigners arrested for JK photography.”
“At least arrest all those JKs taking pics of baldies on the train and mocking them on Twitter.”
“Somebody tell me where I can still buy a pager?”
“It is dire if they can convict someone who never took a photograph without any third-party witnesses…”
“NHK is a criminal organisation!”
“So much for Google Glass…”