Move along folks, nothing to see here.

A few times we have written about cases where the police’s community safety bulletins raise alerts over seemingly innocent behavior like saying hello or complimenting babies. However, sometimes the opposite also occurs.

Such a report came over the Anzen Navi online safety service on 7 March, describing a chillingly suspicious person prowling the streets of the Sakata City in the relatively rural prefecture of Yamagata.

“On Thursday, 7 March, 2019, at approx. 2:20 p.m. in the streets of Sakata City sightings of a suspicious-looking lone man, carrying what appears to be a knife, have been reported.”

The report continues on the main website and describes the knife-wielding man as in his 60s, about 165 cm tall (five foot five), wearing sunglasses, a dark green jacket, green knit cap, and black boots. The website even gave a little avatar fitting his description to give us a better sense of what he looks like.

Naturally, police also advised citizens not to approach the man but to call the emergency number 110 if they see him. It’s certainly an unsettling report and enough to keep the people of Sakata on edge for the ensuing three hours, until Anzen Navi released an update.

▼ Turns out he wasn’t a bloodthirsty monster after all?
(Translation below)

“We posted a suspicious person incident on 7 March, 2019 about a man walking around with what looked like a knife. We confirmed that he was just out harvesting vegetables and on his way home. Thank you for your cooperation.”

The main site also updated the man’s avatar by removing all of his outerwear, which I guess means he’s just chilling at home now. The knife’s still in his hand, but he’s probably just cutting up a pear or whittling or something.

So all’s well the ends well, but many online were amused by this stark difference between life in the big cities of Japan and its less-urban areas.

“My mom always walks around with a knife when she’s going to get cabbages.”
“I live in the countryside and sometimes see old ladies walking around with sickles.”
“Yes, in the countryside this is just daily life, but in a big city it will land you in jail.”
“In my area people go into shops carrying chainsaws.”
“But if this is normal, who reported it as suspicious?”
“In the summer we sometimes see people walking around in their underwear holding knives.”
“It doesn’t matter where you are. Walking around with a knife in your hands is still a crime.”

While throwing the book at the guy seems excessive, it probably would be wise for him to look into getting a sheath for that thing. Or better yet, he ought to get a folding knife that he can slip into his pocket for those long strolls home, for the sake of safety.

This also serves as a reminder that not all guys walking around with knives are maniacs, just as not all little old ladies asking for directions are innocent shoppers. But in these times, when criminals are out there licking our hair and squirting mayo on us, it pays to err on the side of caution.

Source: Twitter/@anzen_yamagata, Gaccom Anzen Navi 1, 2, My Game News Flash, Hachima Kiko
Images: SoraNews24
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