Japanese language quirk made charges ambiguous, but he probably didn’t help his case by clearing that up.

On Tuesday night, a criminal incident occurred in the town of Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture. A mountain resort famed for its beautiful natural scenery and historical buildings, Nikko is a popular destination for leisure travelers in east Japan, and on the night in question a 24-year-old woman from another part of Tochigi was at a hotel in the city, no doubt expecting to have a pleasant evening enjoying the local hospitality. Unfortunately, a 60-year-old Tochigi resident who was also at the hotel decided to enjoy himself by squeezing the woman’s chest without her consent.

Details are still scarce, with the exact location within the hotel where the groping took place, any events leading up to it, and whether the victim knew the man or not all unclear. What does seem clear, though, is that the touching was unwanted, as the police were summoned and the man arrested on suspicion of forced indecency, the customary legal charge for groping in Japan.

The vast majority of the time in Japan, criminals admit to their wrongdoing when caught. In this case, though, the man has denied the charges…or at least he half-denies them. When told he was being arrested for grabbing the woman’s breasts and body, he asserted:

“I touched her breast, but I did not touch both of them.”

Odds are that declaration was met by baffled silence by whichever law enforcement member was taking his statement, but Twitter commenters had the following to say:

“That’s his defense?”
“Well, at least he’s honest.”
“How can you live to be 60 and still be so dumb?”
“So, if it’s just one, does he think it’s OK?”
“Is there some sort of custom in Tochigi that it’s all right as long as you’re just grabbing one?”
“One breast or two, I’m pretty sure it’s still the same crime.”

And yes, what the last commenter said is correct. Anti-groping laws don’t operate under American pro football “It’s not a catch if the receiver doesn’t have two feet down” logic, and so there’s no “It’s not a grope unless you’ve got hands on both breasts” leeway.

Linguistically, the accused does have kind of a point, though. In the Japanese language, there’s generally no difference between singular and plural nouns. Ringo, for example, is the word for both “apple” and “apples,” and mune can be used for both “breast” and “breasts.” So when the man was told he was being arrested for touching the woman’s mune, it could be interpreted as either one or both, and he wanted to make it clear that while he was admitting to touching the woman’s mune, he denied touching ryomune (“both breasts”)

Maybe he thinks that limiting the scale of the groping to one half of the woman’s chest will make it easier to bargain for a lighter punishment. As in the case of the other man in Japan who recently admitted to robbing a taxi driver but denied that he used impolite speech in the process, though, it’s unlikely to get him off the hook.

Source: Tochigi TV via Yahoo! Japan News via Otakomu, Twitter
Top image: Pakutaso
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