Here in New York City, subway security is on the prowl for crooks, would-be terrorists, and other unsavoury characters. But in Japan, security cameras are used to detect a totally different type of passenger: Wasted people. And it's for their own good.
Last week, West Japan Railways announced plans to install security cameras on the platform of Osaka's Kyobashi station. The Wall Street Journal reports that the company installed 46 cameras to monitor signs of drunkenness, like aimless meandering, falling asleep, or just hanging out in a motionless stupor for a long time. When cameras detect the presence of blitzed commuters, station attendants are quickly alerted to prevent them from wandering onto the tracks.
The cameras aren't meant to spy or identify individuals — they simply ID their telltale movements.
Drunkenly riding the subways has proven an extremely dangerous trend: The company said that drunk customers accounted for 60% of Japan's 221 accidents that involved passengers getting hit by trains in the year period starting in April 2013.
It's not the first countermeasure JR West has taken to prevent inebriated injuries at train stations. Back in April, the company started flipping the position of benches on the platforms. According to the Japan Times, one station turned the benches 90 degrees to face the ends of the platforms and not the tracks.
Alcohol and trains are definitely two mainstays of Japanese culture, and mixing them can clearly be bad. As more humans head to urban areas in the future, we might have to protect more city dwellers from combining public transportation and a crap ton of booze in harmful ways.
Images via Shutterstock and JR West