National

Anti-groping poster assuming suspect's guilt removed after triggering online outcry

Kyodo

The Aichi Prefectural Police said Tuesday they will remove all the anti-groping posters recently put up in train stations after an online outcry by people angered at the assumption of guilt of the alleged perpetrators.

The headline of the poster in question, which was created for a campaign to eradicate train gropers, says: “I heard that guy was arrested.” An illustration of a man in a suit appears on the right side, while a depiction of a phone text conversation between two women about the man is placed on the left.

The banner, which features text bubbles resembling those used by the free messaging app Line, shows one woman describing the suspect as “gross” and “a sex offender,” while another woman says: “He’s to be fired, isn’t he?”

The prefectural police printed 500 copies and began placing them at stations from Friday. But their direct reference to a “criminal” triggered a barrage of criticism.

Michiko Kameishi, an Osaka-based lawyer, pointed out in a tweet Sunday that the poster ignores the principle of being considered innocent until proven guilty and “could mislead (people) and foster prejudice.”

The Aichi railway police unit that created the poster said it was “intended to raise awareness that groping constitutes a crime and to discourage future incidents (of the act).”