Japanese commuters who are worried about being falsely accused of groping a fellow passenger inside a train may actually opt for an insurance policy that safeguards them against sexual assault claims.
According to SCMP, the service gives policy holders immediate legal advice should they be falsely accused of sexual assault while in commute.
Japan’s overly crowded trains have become a common cause of women getting molested on trains. In a similar trend, men have also complained of being mistakenly accused of touching a woman. Every year, 1,800 people are arrested for the crime in violation of public nuisance ordinances.
However, in one notable case in 2006, a professor had his conviction overturned after appealing to the Supreme Court. Like most common convictions in such cases, the accused was initially convicted based solely on the alleged victim’s testimony.
The incident was followed by a movie two years later, portraying a young man’s own legal battle after being accused of molesting a girl on a train. Titled “I Just Didn’t Do It”, the film became Japan’s official entry in the foreign-language category for the Academy Awards. Back home, it earned 1.1 billion yen ($10 million) at the box office.
The success of the film and the public response to it inspired Japan Small Amount and Short Term Insurance company president Shoji Sugimoto to create the policy which was introduced in September 2015, reports the Mainichi newspaper.
The policy, which costs around 6,400 yen ($58) per year, grants its holder access to a lawyer should he/she be accused of misconduct while in transit.
Contacting the insurance company alerts its nearest affiliate to dispatch a lawyer to the site of the incident. The insurance covers the lawyer’s fee for the following 48 hours.
In Japan, an arrest for a crime can lead to up to 23 days of detention even before the accused is charged. Since access to a lawyer in these circumstances is often limited, a conviction is likely. If a case is filed after 23 days, the conviction rate is around 99%.
Sugimoto said only a few people tried to avail the policy when it was first introduced and only recently that it began to gain several hundreds of sign-ups each month.