Japan men take out 'groper insurance' against sex pest claims

2017-06-03 07:10
A poster informing commuters of a women's-only carriage is displayed on a subway train in Tokyo. (AFP)

A poster informing commuters of a women's-only carriage is displayed on a subway train in Tokyo. (AFP)

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Tokyo - In Japan, where train travel can often be a perilous ordeal for women, an insurance company is reporting a sudden run on a policy that protects men falsely accused of groping.

The spike in takers for the 6 400 yen ($57) "false groping accusation benefit" plan was triggered by a spate of incidents where men suspected of molesting female commuters fled the scene along the railway tracks, the Tokyo-based firm told AFP.

Japan has made efforts to tackle the problem of rush-hour sex pests with posters on trains and television campaigns, while railway operators provide women-only carriages for the busiest times of day.

But the plan, devised by the Small Amount and Short Term Insurance company in 2015, covers legal costs for policy-holders who find themselves on the wrong end of such a charge.

It was initially set up as a fringe benefit under which fees for any legal consultation, including domestic or traffic accidents, were covered, Japan's Mainichi newspaper reported.

But the firm's helpline service - which alerts lawyers practising in the vicinity of the alleged groping incident - has proved a hit with customers.

Contracts for the policy, which hitherto totalled less than 50 a month, have soared to several hundred in the past month, the company said.

"It is impossible to know whether one will be caught up in a groping incident," company president Shoji Sugimoto told the Mainichi. "We are here to provide help to people who feel anxious about the issue."

Around 1 800 arrests are made yearly under public nuisance laws, but in 2006 a professor at the National Defence Medical College appealed his conviction all the way to the Supreme Court and had his conviction - and 22-month prison sentence - overturned.

Read more on:    japan

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