A device designed to deter sexual assault on public transportation sold out within 24 hours in the Japan.
These stamps let targets of unwanted sexual conduct mark offenders with invisible ink and are meant to deter potential offenders altogether. Japanese stationery company Shachihata created and sold the stamps in a limited trail run on August 27. The company said it sold all 500 stamps within 30 minutes at $24 each.
The stamp uses UV coloring ink that appears to be colorless under sunlight and lighting. When it’s exposed to a portable blacklight, a “hand mark” appears. The idea for the stamps came from a wider debate earlier in 2019 about how to prevent groping, known in Japan as “chikan,” on crowded public transportation.
According to 2017 data from Tokyo’s Metropolitan police, more than 50% of reported groping and molestation cases occurred on trains.
While the product is well-intentioned, it’s unclear how its feature could be widely implemented in public. A spokesperson for the company said the product is intended as a deterrent, not a universal solution, to prevent groping.
“I think it’s best to use it for deterrence,” they said. “Whether or not it can be actually pushed depends on the situation. Also, it is possible for the police to judge whether it can be enough to provide evidence.”