Japan shop worker issues single women with buying ice cream warning

A woman in Japan shared her experience of being followed by a stranger while living alone and offered safety advice to single women.

The convenience shop worker wrote on X that women living alone who buy a single serving of ice cream at night are potential targets for criminals.

She said such innocent actions can reveal personal details.

For example, your home is probably within walking distance otherwise your ice cream would melt before you got there. The single portion also suggests you are likely to be living alone.

She advised single women to wait until daytime and to buy a larger-sized tub of ice cream.

The list of other items she suggests single women should not buy to protect their safety include instant meals for one and curtains with “cute” patterns.

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Japan’s dark, secluded alleyways are prime territory for sexual predators. Photo: Shutterstock

“The key to preventing crime is to think from the criminal’s perspective,” she wrote.

One online observer questioned whether she was being particularly sensitive, arguing that buying ice cream is not a big deal.

She countered by emphasising that for single women, dangerous situations often arise from seemingly trivial actions.

“You might think you’re being too cautious, but when it comes to your safety, you can never be too careful. It’s better to be safe than to become a victim.

“I hope more people become aware of the importance of crime prevention and are better able to protect their safety,” she said.

Crimes such as rape and robbery are among the most common threats faced by women.

In Japan, 90 per cent of female victims were attacked when they were alone, according to a 2018 survey by the National Police Agency.

In China, safety concerns for single women are similarly alarming.

In April, China’s top court reported that crimes against women and children have been increasing in recent years.

In 94 recent cases of harm to individuals living alone, 53 per cent of the victims were women, according to Chinese digital media outlet, The Paper.

In August 2019, a young woman, surnamed Li, living alone in Jiangsu province in eastern China, found a man under her bed when she returned home. He smiled at her and then fled.

The next day, the man showed up again with an apology letter and was arrested by the police. It was discovered that he was a house cleaner who had memorised the apartment’s lock code.

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The convenience shop worker says women cannot be too careful about stranger danger. Photo: Shutterstock

There are a number of common safety tips for single women posted on mainland social media.

They include installing cameras and alarms at the door, asking for two pairs of chopsticks when ordering a takeaway, and placing a pair of men’s slippers on the shoe rack by the door.

Women are also advised to learn some self-defence techniques for worst-case scenarios.

“I’ve been living alone in Shanghai for almost five years, and what makes me feel safe is that I’ve been learning boxing since I was a child,” one online observer wrote on Xiaohongshu.

“Single girls should always be on guard because bad people can be anywhere and can appear at any time,” said another.

“Having a dog can be a good deterrent to strangers,” someone else commented.

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