law

Driver who killed cyclist in crosswalk accident found not guilty, causes controversy in Japan

Pedestrian crosswalk laws are all over the place no matter where you go. What’s considered jaywalking varies by country, and in the U.S. each state has its own laws for exactly how far the pedestrian needs to have crossed on the crosswalk before you have to stop.

In Japan, typically vehicles are expected to yield to anyone in a crosswalk at all times. That’s why the judge’s decision in a recent landmark case is taking the country by storm right now: a cyclist was killed by a car in a crosswalk, and the motorist was found to be in no way at fault.

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Guangzhou City to allow co-workers and neighbors to give consent for other people’s organ donations

On 3 April Guangzhou City in Guangdong Province, China, announced some changes to their organ donation laws. These changes will allow people beyond the immediate family to give permission to harvest a deceased person’s organs.

This is expected to be bad news for Guangzhou’s paranoid population, who must now expand their sphere of people likely to murder them in their sleep well beyond their wife and kids to include co-workers and other members of their community.

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Parents of schoolboy ordered to pay 15 million yen after wayward soccer ball leads to man’s death

Earlier this week the Supreme Court of Japan set a ruling date of 9 April in the long-running case of a soccer mishap which resulted in a man’s death. The incident occurred when the deceased was riding a motor bike and fell trying to avoid a soccer ball that rolled out from a school yard.

In the decade since the incident occurred, the family of the man has been trying to hold the parents of the boy who kicked the ball financially responsible and so far has succeeded in two previous rulings. If the Supreme Court agrees with the previous two decisions then the boys’ mother and father will possibly have to pay 15 million yen (US$125,000) to the family.

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Toyama man awarded US$160,000 after being imprisoned for three years on false rape charges

Imagine you’re relaxing at home one day when there’s a sudden knock at the door. Before you know it you’re sitting in a police interrogation room with people trying to get a confession out of you for a crime you know nothing about. Soon after, you are sentenced to prison for three years for a crime you never committed, only to be released and regarded by society as a convicted sex offender for the rest of your days.

That nightmare scenario played out for Hiroshi Yanagihara, a man who, well after serving his full prison sentence, was found innocent of all charges. Following that, an understandably upset Yanagihara went after the people who initially arrested and convicted him, demanding compensation and criminal charges.

As a result, on 9 March Toyama District Court awarded Hiroshi Yanagihara 19.7 million yen (US$161,000) – apparently the value of five years of his life.

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If Japan joins the TPP, would it be the end of parody and self-published works?

The Trans-Pacific Partnership has proven a source of extreme contention on both sides of the ocean. For example, the EFF has been openly critical of the potential agreement, describing it on their website as “a secretive, multinational trade agreement that threatens to extend restrictive intellectual property (IP) laws across the globe and rewrite international rules on its enforcement.” Japanese farmers don’t seem to fond of it either, though for entirely different reasons.

And now the TPP is drawing the ire of (with a few smatterings of approval from) Japan’s manga and anime fans. Some are even saying the agreement has the potential to utterly destroy otaku culture. Is this hyperbole or is the sky really falling?

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Confused Japanese consumers want an answer: Where is “P.R.C.”?

In today’s globalized economy, it’s perfectly normal to be wearing shoes made in Malaysia, listening to an American pop star on a Korean smartphone while driving a German car fitted with Japanese tires. But how many times have you taken a good look to find out where those new jeans or those headphones you got for Christmas were really made?

Recently Japanese consumers have been discovering that some of their products are from “P.R.C.,” a country they had never heard of, and would like some answers on what appears to be a legal gray zone in product labeling regulations.

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Train station in Japan devises an adorable new way to prevent roadside bicycle parking

Illegally parking bicycles is a persistent problem in Japan, and one creative train station has come up with a new strategy to stop people from leaving bikes where they shouldn’t – by putting cute illustrations done by children on the ground!

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High-level yakuza member arrested for possession of 17kg of salt

On 1 December Yokohama customs and police departments announced the arrest of an allegedly high ranking 49-year-old member of the Sumiyoshikai yakuza group along with six other men in a case of smuggling. They found in his possession 17kg of rock salt, which was actually planted on him by Yokohama customs agents prior to his arrest. All involved are considering it a flawless example of proper law-enforcement.

If you’re confused by this then you might not be familiar with the police tactic known as “oyogasesosa” (swim investigation) or “controlled delivery” as it’s called in English speaking countries.

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In Hokkaido there’s weed, weed everywhere, but not a drop to smoke

Japan tends to be a very drug-shy country. Most people you talk to will say that they’ve never gone anywhere near substances like marijuana, and according to a Public Library of Science survey, 98 times out of 100 they’re telling you the truth.

And yet you might be surprised to hear that there is an abundance of cannabis growing wild all over the northern island of Hokkaido. But before you go booking a ticket, you may want to learn why.

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Absurd anti-prostitution proposal in Russia gets Japanese commenters’ tongues wagging

Prostitution is often called the oldest job in history. While that seems like a less-than-realistic claim, it doesn’t change the fact that the sale and purchase of sex has been around for millennia and will likely continue despite the various efforts to ban it. However, that hasn’t stopped some from trying. Take, for example, a Russian politician who recently suggested that people caught with prostitutes ought to face a fine and prison term–unless they agree to marry the sex worker!

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Japan government to allow dancing past midnight by candlelight, joins the 19th century

Last Friday, on the recommendation of a special committee the Abe cabinet agreed to suggested changes to the Fueiho laws which place severe and unclear regulations on dancing in Japan.

As we reported last week, under Fueiho (Act on Control and Improvement of Amusement and Entertainment Business), businesses such as nightclubs are required to operate under a loosely defined set of parameters. However, most didn’t. This led to a string of raids and closures which crippled the night club scene in much of Japan.

After these new changes pass through the Diet, clubs will be allowed to host dancing after midnight – provided the lighting is bright enough.

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Is it safe to dance yet? Uncertainty continues to reign supreme in Japan’s club scene

On 15 October it was reported that Masatoshi Kanemitsu would have to go back to court after being acquitted by the Osaka District Court. His alleged crime: allowing his customers to dance in the Umeda area club he owned called Noon.

This kind of law prohibiting dancing might sound straight out of some fundamentalist theocracy, but it’s alive and well in Japan. Actually, it’s far worse than a draconian “no dancing whatsoever” law that you know where things stand; nightclubs in Japan seem to allow dancing until someone in authority decides otherwise. There’s no way to know until officers start bursting through your doors.

This sword dangling over the heads of the remaining clubs is called the Act on Control and Improvement of Amusement and Entertainment Business or Fueiho for short. So let’s take a quick look at why this law is crushing dancing in Japan, and I’ll do my best to avoid any Footloose references.

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Osaka man wipes away millions in owed taxes by deducting losing horse race tickets

It’s often said that nothing in life is certain except for death and taxes, but for one Osaka resident, that maxim was little more than an old wives’ tale.

One day, the taxman came calling to the tune of 816 million yen (US$7.7M) over years of unreported winning horse race bets. However, in a game where the house always wins, this guy managed to flip the script and knock down the money owed to a relatively modest 67 million yen ($635,000).

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Don’t point that camera at me! Man arrested for taking “normal” picture on train

Japanese people love to take pictures. Whenever you see them on vacation, no matter if it’s their first time or their thousandth time, they are always taking them. In fact, Japan was one of the first countries to sell mobile phones equipped with a camera back in 2000. Having a camera on you at all times sure does come in handy, as you’ll always be able to capture that special moment wherever you are.

Unfortunately, sometimes that special moment is a peep-shot or a scandalous photo which is certainly a violation of privacy. Japan has taken a very no-nonsense approach to help stop these highly inappropriate photos, and it comes in the form of the Anti-Nuisance Ordinance. So powerful is this law that the latest person to be arrested has caused a bit of commotion. His crime? Taking a picture of a fully-clothed woman sitting beside him on the train.

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“No ball games” & “No practicing comedy routines”: City Parks in Japan let you do less and less

If you’re like me and enjoy riding a bike while smoking a cigar, kicking a soccer ball around, with a group of friends and your dog while also shooting off a bottle rocket or two when going to the park, you’ll be hard pressed to find one that will accept you.

But you don’t even have to be nearly as obnoxious as I am to be denied entry into some of the thousands of municipal parks across Japan. In recent years, the number of bans on a vast range of activities ordinarily done it parks from riding bikes to walking dogs have been getting banned at an alarming rate.

At least, they would be, but alarms are also probably banned in many parks.

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Got a cell phone? Soon, you might get a tax bill from the Japanese government too

It’s only been a few months since Japan’s consumption tax jumped from five to eight percent, making everything consumers buy instantly at least three percent more expensive. Some sneaky retailers even took advantage of the opportunity by tacking an extra three percent onto their displayed, pre-tax prices.

Now comes a rumor of an entirely new revenue stream the Japanese government might be moving to secure: a tax on cell phones.

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Hugging, “borrowing” Wi-Fi and 8 other things that can get you arrested in Singapore

Singapore may have a reputation for being an extremely safe and clean country, but there is a good reason for that—very strict laws. The infamous gum ban is just one of the many rules in Singapore designed to keep the city-state tidy and well-behaved. So if you are planning a trip to Singapore (besides perfecting your race-walking skills) you might want to check out some other local laws that are surprisingly stricter compared to other developed countries. Click below to read about 10 laws in Singapore that you should probably follow unless you plan on taking an up close and personal tour of a Singapore jail!

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When starting a new business, one of the most important things to do is build name recognition. An easy, if ethically questionable, way of doing this is to base your company’s name on an existing, more recognized brand, such as calling your new restaurant McBurgers, or your talent agency filled with only the most charming and pleasant-smelling individuals RocketGoodSmell24.

Of course, McDonald’s would probably put a stop to such a plan, even if you weren’t directly competing with them in the fast food market. In fact, the company would probably be all the more swift in dropping the hammer if you were setting up shop in an industry it wants to avoid any association with. For example, if you were a budding pimp and called your brothel McHumptown, you could expect an angry letter from the Golden Arches.

You know who else doesn’t like being connected to the skin trade? Denny’s, as three men in Japan who appropriated the restaurant’s logo for their sexual services company just found out.

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Report says Chinese authorities are banning bikinis in video games

As a sign of China’s continuing integration into the global community, the country’s long-standing ban on video game consoles was lifted last year. This doesn’t mean Chinese gamers are free to enjoy all that modern gaming has to offer, as censorship regulations mean certain types of content aren’t allowed.

Some of the problem areas are nebulously defined, such as restrictions on games that “besmirch the image of China” or “intentionally blacken the image of the Chinese army.” A possible upcoming addition to the list of punishable offenses is a little easier to understand: no more video game characters wearing bikinis.

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Censored scene shows newest Metal Gear doesn’t pull any punches (except in Japan) 【Video】

Once upon a time, the North American video game market was incredibly squeamish about gory content. The blood and guts present in Japanese releases were painstakingly removed, most hilariously with the North American version of Neo Geo title Samurai Shodown, which retailed for $200 in 1993. Apparently the game’s producers thought their customer base was old enough to have that kind of cash in their pockets, but still too young to handle the sight of a little crimson hemoglobin, so they replaced the fountains of blood that occurred in the game’s swordfights with geysers of what appeared to be highly pressurized milk.

Eventually, everyone saw how silly this was. Gamers as a whole were getting older and more mature, and the youth of Japan, where this kind of content had been allowed for years, weren’t turning into crazed remorseless killing machines. So restrictions were loosened, allowing games like Grand Theft Auto to top North American sales charts.

Now, things have come full circle, as a side by side video comparison of publisher Konami’s Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes shows less graphic content in its Japanese version.

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