An irritated customer queuing up at a store complains nonstop to a cash clerk for 10 minutes straight over how long the line is. A passenger on a bus throws a fit after the driver says prepaid IC cards can’t be used. A resident points a camera at a city hall employee and threatens to post their face and name online.

In Japan, “customer harassment” — customers harassing front-line workers with aggressive behavior or unreasonable requests — has become an increasing problem in the service industry, prompting municipalities and companies to take stricter measures.

A 2022 survey conducted by Japan Trade Union Confederation, better known as Rengo, found that 67.5% of respondents had experienced some kind of customer harassment in the past three years, among which another 76.4% said such experiences had negatively affected their lives.