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In Japan a friend and I took Japanese language evening classes in our apartments with Ogushi-sensei, an almost-retired woman who taught the language by day to recently arrived foreign businessmen at Nagoya University. She had travelled the world extensively, often visiting places at the behest of her former students.
As well as language, we frequently discussed Japanese culture. Once the talk turned to the recently-instigated rush-hour women-only subway cars on certain lines in the city. Ogushi-san was very proud that the city had taken this step.
“It means that fewer women will be groped on the subway during rush hour,” she said.
“But what about outside rush hour?” my friend asked. “And outside the subway car, in the stations and on the street?”
Ogushi-san looked puzzled.
“Isn’t this just a temporary solution that doesn’t deal with the real problem? Wouldn’t it be more beneficial to try and change the attitude of men towards women in this country so they don’t think it’s okay to feel them up on public transport?”
“I’m sorry, I don’t understand,” Ogushi-san replied.