About nine out of 10 women who fall victim to groping inside trains do not report the case to the police, according to a survey released on Thursday by the National Police Agency.
The agency polled 3,256 men and women in three metropolitan areas centering on Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka on their awareness of groping. It found about 80 per cent were supportive of installing security cameras on trains as a preventive measure.
The police agency plans to strengthen patrols, create a mechanism to make it easier for victims to report groping cases, and also work with railroad operators to help victims call for help and to install more security cameras.
The survey was conducted online in August polling people who use trains for commuting or going to school in Tokyo and three surrounding prefectures as well as in Aichi, Osaka and Hyogo prefectures. Responses were given by 2,221 women and 1,035 men.
Through investigators, the agency also surveyed 219 people who were held by the police on suspicion of groping. It found that 112 of them were company employees, of whom 74 allegedly engaged in groping while commuting.
The agency is considering measures to raise ethical awareness of the problem of groping, such as asking employers to implement preventive steps and sending lecturers to companies.
The first survey showed that 304 women, or 13.7 per cent, had fallen victim to groping during the past year and that 271 of them, or 89.1 per cent, did not report the case to the police or consult with them.
As reasons for not contacting the police, 30.6 per cent said it would be "troublesome" to involve them and 26.6 per cent said they thought questioning and other investigative processes would be "time consuming."
Those who endured groping without saying anything or who just fled the scene totaled 246, or 80.9 per cent. Many said they were "too frightened to do anything," or thought they could "get through it by enduring it."
Near the top among preventive measures cited were using female-only cars, installing security cameras and boosting patrols.
The survey also showed that 617 men, or 59.6 per cent, were afraid of being mistaken as a groper.
Asked to give a free answer, 59 women said it is important for bystanders "not to close their eyes" and to "help victims" when they witness groping.