The laws of nature supersede those of society.

What could be described as the “trial of the year” – all 20 days of it – concluded last Wednesday, involving a man that stood accused of entering the women’s restroom without possessing the legal amount of X chromosomes to do so.

According to reports, last December the unidentified 64-year-old was walking along the streets of Hamamatsu City, Shizuoka Prefecture, when nature called. However, this was unlike a friendly call from an old high-school chum; this call had all the urgency and fury of a bill collector whose wife he also had an affair with.

With every second of the essence, the man frantically hurried to the nearest venue he could find that would probably have a public restroom. To his luck, he was right near the sprawling Hamamatsu Science Museum which did have facilities in its front lobby.

After a panicked trot across the floor of the museum he spotted the restrooms that were reportedly marked with the sign pictured below, available on Amazon for about seven bucks. The main purpose of the sign is to acknowledge that staff also use the restrooms, and is a bit of a parody of a typical restroom sign, with the woman and man figures bowing in apology.

Image: ©SoraNews24

He then rushed through the entrance and beelined it to the nearest available stall. However, by the time he realized that he had entered the women’s room it was too late. He was arrested and brought up on charges of invading the ladies room. If found guilty he would have to pay a fine of 100,000 yen (US$965).

However, the man pleaded not guilty, insisting that the sign he saw with both a woman and man together strongly suggested that it was a unisex bathroom. The prosecution discredited that claim saying that there was additional signage that clearly delineated the entrances to the men’s and women’s rooms.

The presiding judge Ayako Sasabe agreed that the different rooms were clearly marked. However, given the man’s need to powerfully defecate, which was proven by the testimony of eyewitnesses who saw him walking around the hall quickly and looking for a toilet, and given the potentially misleading sign, there is reasonable doubt about his criminal intent.

Among readers of the news, no one argued with the ruling, but everyone wondered how what tends to be little more than a really awkward mistake boiled into a full-blown criminal trial.

“That kind of thing happens all the time. I’ve even done it and quickly darted out when I saw a urinal.”
“It’s fine as long as he didn’t do anything bad while he was in there…”
“They arrested him for something like that? If the gender roles were reversed it wouldn’t have gone that far.”
“This is a landmark ruling! I’m going to a women’s restroom right now!”
“I see old ladies going into men’s rooms at rest stops all the time. Nothing ever happens to them.”
“Women’s restrooms are all private anyway. They all have their own stalls so if a man enters no one is affected.”
“I used to work at a mall and always got a laugh when I checked the security cameras and saw guys frantically looking for toilets.”

The defendant’s legal team is also of the mind that this was an overreaction to a simple mistake. They are currently reviewing the details of the ruling but one lawyer told media that the arrest was “overkill,” suggesting they may file a countersuit.

They’d have a pretty strong case if they did. Imagine completing a photo-finish number two, only to be arrested for it immediately after and then having to prove how severe your defecation was in a court of law by seeking out and interviewing eyewitnesses and then bringing them to testify before a judge.

“Your honor, esteemed members of the jury, my client – who sits before you now, right over there – had an evacuation so explosive, so utterly besplattering, that a second flush was needed simply to clear remnants off near the rim of the bowl.”

Image: Pakutaso

If there’s one bright side to it all, this debacle may help discourage actual criminal-minded lookie-loos from wandering into places they don’t belong. It will also hopefully encourage businesses to provide adequate indicators as to which restroom is intended for which type of person.

Actually, more than adequate might be even better, because talk is cheap when a pair of pants is on the line.

Source: Shizuoka Shimbun, Hachima Kiko
Top image: Pakutaso
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