Apparently people in Japan are finding it harder and harder not to assault their friendly neighborhood train station staff as incidents of assault are on the rise.

Japan’s 16 major train companies have compiled data from fiscal 2015 and found that, in total, there were 225 attacks on conductors and other staff. This would be the eighth consecutive year with over 200 assaults and 2015’s figure is three times that of 2000 when such statistics began.

You may have noticed some of the anti-violence posters hung around the nation’s stations in recent years. Honestly though, if it’s gotten to the point that posters are needed to remind people not to attack train conductors, we may have taken a wrong turn somewhere as a society.

▼ Such posters include helpful tips like do NOT headbutt, throw beer on, nor pull the neckties of station staff.

Perhaps more surprising are the reported reasons for the assaults with “suddenly and for no reason” coming in at number one with 35 percent. This was followed by “approaching a drunk person” 21 percent of the time and “warning someone for being a nuisance” 13 percent.

This means if current trends persist a train station staff will soon be three times more likely to get attacked for saying “hello” than for confronting a person behaving erratically. Given as an example were reports of station attendants being punched in the face while helping passengers purchase tickets.

Now, there is never – ever – a reason for hitting a train conductor, but if I were to play devil’s advocate for a moment, that does sound like it may be a result of they way they sometimes unexpectedly pop their heads out of secret holes by the ticket machines.

Again, that’s just a theory. The real reason behind this steady rise in violence against train station staff is still unclear. Railways are trying to combat it by increasing police presence around stations and reminders like those pictures above focused at drunken passengers.

But with drunkenness only part of the problem and no real cause identified for the largest cause of the attacks, it seems as though railway workers will still be licking their wounds for some time to come.

Source: NHK via Hachima Kiko (Japanese)
Images: JR East
Video: YouTube/LonleyPlaneteer