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Police officers and local government officials from Tokyo’s Itabashi Ward staged a performance Aug. 20 in front of JR Itabashi Station to inform the public about a series of phantom attacks that have been reported recently in Tokyo and Saitama Prefecture.

In a short performance, officers of the Metropolitan Police Department’s Itabashi Police Station and officials from the Itabashi Municipal Government took the parts of the assailant, his victim and passersby. They demonstrated how such attacks occur and acted out the arrest of the suspect.

About 50 cases have been reported since autumn 1996 of an attacker who assaults his victims and flees the scene, usually by bicycle.

A 20-year-old man is now under arrest for his alleged involvement in about 30 of the 50 attacks.

In the play, a policeman disguised as the attacker wearing a backpack and glasses attacks a young woman, acted by a female officer.

At the end of the play, police were seen being dispatched to the scene and arresting the killer, and the audience applauded.

Itabashi Mayor Teruo Ishizuka and Toshiaki Izumiyama, chief of Itabashi Police Station, told the audience that public cooperation is vital in dealing with such attacks.

A 27-year-old female office worker who was watching the play said she has been concerned about the series of attacks that have been occurring recently in her neighborhood.

“These days, I get frightened if men walk behind me or they come toward me on bicycles on my way home in the evening,” she said. “So I’m trying to be very careful about my safety.”

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