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Monday, June 30, 2008

Women Only Subway Carriages in Japan


Women-only carriages on Japan's subway and urban rail routes have become the norm in recent years.

Set up to counter the growing menace of male perverts (known as chikan) groping women in packed commuter trains, many railway companies operate women-only carriages on morning and evening rush-hour services.

Women Only Subway Carriages

Tokyo's subway introduced women-only carriages in 2005 and now has women-only carriages for the morning rush-hour on the Chiyoda, Fukutoshin (Yurakucho New Line), Hanzomon, Hibiya, Tozai and Yurakucho Lines. Nagoya followed suit in 2007 with a women-only carriage on weekday mornings on the busy Higashiyama Line in to Nagoya Station and extended the practice for evening trains this year.

The Keio Line in Tokyo was the first railway company to introduce special carriages for women back in 2000. It is estimated that over 60% of Japanese women travelers in their 20s and 30s have experienced some sort of sexual harassment on public transport in Japan. The Tsukuba Express (TX) also has women-only carriages.

The idea has caught on in other countries and there are now gender specific carriages in Brazil, Egypt, India, Moscow and Taiwan.

Look out for the (usually pink) signs on station platforms.

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