Japan is known for being one of the cleanest countries in the world, surely a point of pride for many Japanese people. But is it enough to pull a knife on someone for littering?

Last month, Tokyo police arrested a 60-year-old man for threatening a female high school student with a knife after they threw their trash on the ground of a public park.

In the early morning on August 27, the man, unemployed, was cleaning up trash as a volunteer at the local public park with his wife. Locals had just begun to gather for morning radio calisthenics and three high school students, one female and two male, were sitting at a bench. On the ground near the bench were discarded cans and snack wrappers, which had been left there by the same three students from the night before.

In an interview with the 60-year-old man after his release, he said: “The three just sat their with their legs spread out over the scattered trash and watched silently as my wife began picking it up. When my wife asked them to move their legs so she could clean, they just asked her: ‘Are you the cleaning lady?’ and instead of helping her, they just sat their without moving their legs.”

Angered, the man approached the three high school students and, taking out a clasp-knife from his pocket and holding it open near his waist, warned them: “Don’t get yourself attacked. There’s guys like me out there carrying things like this.”

The female high school student screamed upon seeing the knife and the three ran away from the park.

The man went back to picking up trash but was soon approached by several police officers and escorted back to station for violent behavior. He was released the same day after it was found he had cancer and was therefore deemed “unable to tolerate” custody.

“I was just trying to warn them. The park is in a quiet neighborhood, but you never know what kind of people could be out at night; it’s dangerous. It’s the parent’s or school’s job to warn them, but they probably won’t say anything. I thought I needed to tell them firmly myself.”

Regarding why he was carrying a knife, the man explains: “I use it to cut flowers for placing on my family’s Buddhist altar.”

According to local residents, the park had indeed become a gathering place for groups of young people who often disturbed the silence after dark by causing a ruckus. One female resident defends the man’s actions: “It might have been wrong for him to pull out a knife, but someone needed to warn the them.”

One of our Japanese editors at RocketNews24 commented on the incident: “recently in Japan, less and less adults don’t seem to know how to scold or warn young people. Parents and teachers aren’t as disciplinary as they used to be.”

Even if the man was justified in his actions, pulling out a knife on a group of kids in a public place is just asking for trouble. Still, you can bet they won’t be throwing their trash around that park for anymore.

Source: MSN News