Journalist attempts to continue report as attacker persists.

Following similar moves in other parts of Japan, Tokyo has begun easing some of its coronavirus countermeasures and restrictions. Sure enough, the city has since seen its infection numbers start to rise again.

Many of the new infections are coming from the city’s nightlife quarters, such as the Kabukicho neighborhood of Shinjuku Ward, which is packed with host and hostess clubs, bars, and pubs. To highlight the issue, Japanese news/talk show Miyaneya, which is filmed in Osaka, sent a correspondent Fuki Azuma to Shuinjuku for an on-site report.

It probably seemed like a cushy assignment, and the film crew even nabbed an ideal location, setting up across the street from the gateway that marks the entrance to Kabukicho, with the skyscraper with the life-size Godzilla head visible in the background. And things started out well enough…before suddenly taking a bizarre and frightening turn, as seen in this portion of the report.

Azuma seems to time the start of her report for when there’s a red light for the crosswalk behind her, so that she won’t be in the way of people trying to cross the street. But despite the “don’t walk” lamp being visibly lit, a man wearing a gray camouflage-pattern T-shirt, a baseball cap, and a pair of shorts stomps across the intersection and walks right up to her and grumbles something indistinct. Azuma does her best to ignore the man, until he balls his right hand up into a fist and takes a swing at her jaw.

Luckily, Azuma is able to sidestep quickly and far enough to avoid the punch, and begins backing away down the sidewalk. Showing an extremely high level of commitment to her work, she continues to face the camera and goes on talking about the state of coronavirus infections, even as her counterpart in the studio asks “Are you all right?” After a second blur, presumably another punch thrown by the man in the grey shirt, flashes across the left edge of the frame, the film crew shuts down their transmission, presumably to seek help and/or leave the scene.

It’s unclear what exactly prompted the man to jaywalk across six lanes of the heaviest traffic in downtown Tokyo to attack the reporter. While Japanese society tends to have less permissive attitudes about filming and photography in public places (hence the many times you’ll incidental people with blurred faces in our reports), street-level reporting like this from TV news crews isn’t at all unusual, and a number of commenters have expressed shock at what they saw in the video.

“I feel so bad for the reporter.”
“The way he stomps across the street, he’s like Mr. X is Resident Evil 2.”
“Maybe he just really wanted to be on TV?”
“I’ve seen crime reports, but this is a report crime.”
“If they’d called the cops right away and filmed his arrest, it would have been a big scoop.”
“Shinjuku really is a dangerous place.”

Speaking to that last point, it’s true that Kabukicho has a reputation for being one of the rougher parts of Tokyo. That said, random violence in the street is pretty much unheard of, especially in the middle of the afternoon like this. And as mentioned above, Azuma isn’t even actually in Kabukicho when the incident happens. She’s across the street, in perfectly respectable shopping/dining district, and just a short walk from Shinjuku Station.

As a matter of fact, many of our team members at SoraNews24 walk down this very street on our way to the office, and we never see random guys trying to act tough by lashing out with sucker punches like this. From the way the man doesn’t step into his strike, one could make the argument that he didn’t actually intend to hit Azuma, but just to intimidate her, but even the threat of such violence is a serious deviation from normal conduct in Tokyo.

Hopefully the crew has reported the incident to the local authorities, but in the meantime, this is a reminder that while Japan is an extremely safe country, it only takes one unstable individual to suddenly create a dangerous situation, and so it’s important to stay aware of your surroundings when out and about in Tokyo.

Sources: Daily via Yahoo! Japan News, Twitter/@yuki050202 via Hachima Kiko
Top image: Pakutaso
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