Whenever a suspicious person is reported to the police it gets up loaded to the Zenkoku no Anzen/Anshin Mail (National Safety/Security Mail) website accessible anywhere in Japan. However, every once in a while a “suspicious person” added seems suspiciously not suspicious.
Such is the case of a student who was approached by a middle-aged man and forced to go to the police after being asked “Where is a bathroom?”
The head-scratching bulletin is as follows:
“Suspicious Person (Hirai 2-Chome, Takarazuka)
On 4 June at around 9:30pm, a verbal incident occurred near the location above. While walking home, one student was asked, “Where is there a bathroom?” They ignored the person who continued to follow the student. The student then hurried home.
The suspicious person’s description:
– 30 to 40 years old
– Dark clothes”
Granted the details are scant, and it’s quite possible this man was acting in some particularly menacing way. However, taking this incident at face value, it sounds like some dude just really needed to use a bathroom.
We can probably assume this was a number-two emergency, as public urination in Japan seems rather low on the list of social taboos. Also, checking out the general area in which incident took place, public toilet locations such as convenience stores or restaurants seem do appear to be rather sparse. Even the station looks as if it’s one of those where you have to buy a ticket to get access to the bathroom.
That being said, anyone who’s holding in an emergency movement is bound to look suspicious; moving erratically, perspiring, perhaps even speaking in a breathy voice while grimacing. You can’t blame the student for being apprehensive and following the golden rule of “don’t talk to strangers.”
However, there perhaps should be a little leeway in the case of people asking for basic help. Rather than ignoring the man, a simple “I don’t know” possibly could have defused the situation right away.
Again this is without knowing all the details, but it would seem that neither the man nor the student were in the wrong. If everything is as plain as it seems, it’s just a sad state of affairs when asking for directions to a washroom can land you on a police database.