Decision comes following Shinkansen slashing, but hopefully will also curb train groping.

Just under a month ago, a man traveling on the Shinkansen bullet train running between Tokyo and Osaka and began attacking passengers with a knife, injuring two women and killing one man who intervened to protect them. Now, East Japan Railway (also known as JR East) has announced that it will be installing security cameras on all trains it operates in and around the Tokyo area.

In addition to the Shinkansen, JR East operates some of the most heavily trafficked train lines in the country, including the Yamanote loop line which runs around central Tokyo. While the design of the company’s newest trains has included onboard security cameras, only a portion of its older rolling stock has had the devices. On July 3, though, JR East announced that is going to change. Under its new policy, all cars on all Tokyo-area trains will have security cameras, with eight devices on each standard train car and two per car on the Shinkansen and other special express trains (with an additional camera in the between-car connection areas).

The undertaking will add cameras to roughly 8,500 cars, with additions to standard trains starting this summer. Older model Shinkansen carriages will begin getting their new cameras this winter.

While the timing of the announcement suggests that the Shinkansen slashing incident was a major impetus, the move towards increased monitoring may also prove helpful in deterring non-violent crimes as well. For years, part of the problem in anti-chikan (train groper) measures has been that hopping off at the next stop and disappearing into the crowd has given them an easy escape. Hopefully the potential presence of video evidence will serve as a deterrent, or, at the very least, an effective means by which the authorities can identify, track down, and prosecute offenders.

Source: Nihon Keizai Shimbun via Jin
Top image: Pakutaso