Girls’ schools demand women-only train cars to protect students from gropers

YOKOHAMA — Four girls’ schools here have launched a petition to demand East Japan Railway Co. (JR East) designate women-only train cars on their local line to protect their students from gropers.

Yokohama Jogakuin Girls School, Doremus School, Yokohama Futaba Gakuen and Ferris Girls’ Junior and Senior High School, have already collected over 10,000 signatures demanding women-only cars for outbound trains on the JR Negishi Line from Yokohama to Ofuna stations. The campaign was proposed by a member of the Yokohama Jogakuin student council due to the immense distress caused to students by gropers on the trains.

According to Yokohama Jogakuin, over 10 cases of groping are reported by its students every year, and the number of unreported cases is estimated to be even larger. Although the school advices the students not to stand close to the train doors as it gives no space to escape and not to get on front cars that are usually crowded, the number of victims seem to remain unchanged.

In 2010, JR introduced women-only cars on the Keihin-Tohoku-Negishi Line for trains from Ofuna to Tokyo’s Shinagawa Station during rush-hour on weekday mornings. However, there are no women-only cars from Yokohama to Ofuna, a stretch that includes Ishikawacho Station, the closest stop to the four girls’ schools.

Yokohama Jogakuin student council proposed the petition to the school in December last year. In April, Principal Masahiko Ide asked the other three girls’ schools for cooperation, as their students were suffering the same attacks. All four schools have since been collecting signatures from parents, acquaintances and local residents.

The vice principal of Yokohama Jogakuin said the gropers’ victims have been hurt deeply by the assaults, and may develop a distrust of men.

“We want to improve the situation as much as possible,” Hirama added.

A spokesperson for JR’s Yokohama branch explained that women-only cars are designated on crowded commuter trains heading into Tokyo. The official added, “We will consider introducing women-only cars from Yokohama to Ofuna stations when we receive the petition.”

June 04, 2013(Mainichi Japan)

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