law

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

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

“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

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

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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Tweaking the Denny’s logo for your sexual service company will get you arrested in Japan

Tweaking the Denny’s logo for your sexual service company will get you arrested in Japan

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

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】

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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Japanese man suffering from dementia could lose house after forgetting about court hearing

Japanese man suffering from dementia could lose house after forgetting about court hearing

As Japan’s population continues to grow older, the nation is having to change to cope with the challenges that come with this aging demographic. The following story is just one unfortunate example of how current systems can fail to meet the needs of the elderly.

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Osaka man caught after teaching junior high for 15 years without a license

Osaka man caught after teaching junior high for 15 years without a license

Back when I was applying for my first Japanese work visa, there was a thick stack of paperwork I had to submit. Most of the items made sense, but one that struck me as weird, though, was my college diploma. I knew that Japanese law required a college education for the visa I was applying for, but wouldn’t sealed, authenticated transcripts make more sense than a personal diploma, which could be easily forged for 20 bucks at any print shop, or even with a high quality home-use printer?

Nope, I was informed, it had to be the diploma. That’s the paperwork they give you when you graduate, right? After all, from the standpoint of honest and by-the-book Japanese society, who would be so dishonest as to provide false educational credentials?

How about a man in Osaka, who taught junior high school for 15 years without ever obtaining his teaching credential.

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6 strange laws to take note of before embarking on your worldly travels

6 strange laws to take note of before embarking on your worldly travels

Who doesn’t love a good vacation? Particularly for working adults, it’s the only time we can take a step back from our hectic work lives, unleash the wild-child within us, and perhaps do something silly without worrying about (too many) repercussions since we’ll be jetting off in a couple of days.

But wait, hold your horses! The last thing you would want to do on an overseas vacation is to unknowingly breach the law, right? Some of the things that we normally do in our homeland might be illegal in other parts of the world. Things as normal as ladies wearing pants. Strange, huh? There’s more coming up!

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Somehow, underage drinking in Japan is about to get even easier

Somehow, underage drinking in Japan is about to get even easier

I’ve never been bothered by being asked for proof of age when buying beer. Maybe it’s because even when I was 16 I apparently already looked old enough that strangers in convenience store parking lots would ask me to buy a six pack for them, but I never took a clerk asking to see my ID as an insult. I simply accepted it as part of the societal dance necessary to procure my beloved barley juice.

Some drinkers in Japan, though, take offense at being asked for proof that they’re not minors. The Aeon Group, one of Japan’s largest retailers, has responded with a generous change in policy, and will no longer ask certain customers for confirmation of age, despite the fact that Japan’s underage drinking prevention is already ridiculously easy to circumvent.

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Gamers rejoice! China temporarily lifts 14-year ban on foreign video games consoles

Gamers rejoice! China temporarily lifts 14-year ban on foreign video games consoles

Despite the thriving grey market that has existed since the ban was put in place 14 years ago, both gamers in China and console manufacturers outside the country will no doubt be excited to learn that China’s State Council yesterday lifted restrictions on the importation and sale of foreign video games consoles, albeit on a “temporary” basis. That’s right: China may soon became a legitimate market for Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft once again.

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Fukuoka man ordered to pay over one million yen for peeing in elevator…every day for half a year

Fukuoka man ordered to pay over one million yen for peeing in elevator…every day for half a year

On 16 December, Judge Ryosuke Takahashi of the Fukuoka District Court ruled in favor of Japan Rail Kyushu and ordered a Higashi Ward resident to pay 1.3 million yen (US$13,000) to compensate for damages brought about his near daily urination routine over the course of six months.

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Is Japan really racist? A look at where things stand

Is Japan really racist? A look at where things stand

Much ink has been spilled about the supposed homogeneity of Japan and the dangerous idea of racial purity that goes along with it. Some expats have made entire careers writing — or ranting — about the problems of discrimination in Japan. And yet, the number of foreign residents has more than doubled in the last 20 years and international marriages in the country have been steadily rising, so it can’t be all that hostile either.

So how racist is Japan, really? Here’s my take—admittedly only one perspective—on where things stand.

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Japanese pro boxer condemns the law for classifying him as a dangerous weapon

Japanese pro boxer condemns the law for classifying him as a dangerous weapon

On September 9, Hozumi Hasegawa, a second-division professional boxer competing successfully at a world level, made a very angry post to his blog condemning the nation’s laws for preventing him from raising his hand against anyone outside of work, regardless of the circumstances.

We’ve probably all heard the story in unspecific terms: rumor states that a trained fighter must register his own fists as lethal weapons. It would then stand to reason that any scuffle involving that person would put him on the receiving end of severe charges for battery and assault with a dangerous weapon. Could it be that all the hearsay is actually true?!

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Don’t piss away your money! Use Pee Trajectory Corrector!

Don’t piss away your money! Use Pee Trajectory Corrector!

As we reported in August, the city of Shenzhen, China enacted a pee-control policy in its public toilets. Anyone caught peeing outside of the appropriate receptacle can face fines up to 100 yuan (US$16).

But when life hands you urination regulations, the true entrepreneur makes sweet golden urination regulation-aiding merchandise! That’s just what two opportunists did with their Pee Trajectory Corrector. Look for them conveniently on sale outside of a public washroom in Shenzhen.

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NVIDIA’s Shield portable console – Cool, sleek and technically illegal in Japan

NVIDIA’s Shield portable console – Cool, sleek and technically illegal in Japan

Powered by the world’s fastest mobile processor and billed by its maker as “the ultimate gaming and entertainment portable” the Nvidia Shield is in many way the realisation of thousands of tech fans’ nerdiest dreams: a genuinely powerful portable built around a home console-quality controller with a potentially vast software library. Offering gamers the chance to play games like Borderlands 2 and Skyrim anywhere from their bedroom to the toilet, the Shield at once steals both Nintendo’s “play with the TV off” Wii U thunder and makes Sony’s plans to have all forthcoming PlayStation 4 titles also playable on Vita seem like a copycat move, so it’s little wonder that the console has received a ton of attention the world over.

Currently only available in the US and Canada, lovers of all things sleek and shiny here in Japan who couldn’t wait any longer for an official release have laid down their cash (and with the portable retailing for US$299 that’s nothing to be sneezed at) and imported a Shield for themselves.

Little do they know, however, that simply by powering the thing up within the Land of the Rising Sun they’ll be breaking the law.

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Chinese city poised to fine guys who miss the bowl

Chinese city poised to fine guys who miss the bowl

Recently Shenzhen, Guangdong announced a new bylaw against “non-civilized” behavior in public toilets of the city. This means that guys for whom the act of urination turns into a Sunday afternoon with a wacky water weasel may face fines if caught.

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Japanese police smack down on prostitution ring employing overweight women

Japanese police smack down on prostitution ring employing overweight women

On Wednesday, July 16, reports came from the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department announcing that two women had been arrested on suspicion of violating the Japanese Anti-Prostitution Law of 1956. Those apprehended are thought to have been running a prostitution ring for men with a fetish for fleshy females. The average weight of the women they dispatched to paying customers was a good 100 kg (220 pounds)!

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Bicycle helmet law enforced in Ehime, failure to comply is punishable by… we don’t know

Bicycle helmet law enforced in Ehime, failure to comply is punishable by… we don’t know

Westerners who come to Japan may be taken aback by the sheer numbers of bicycles in use in cities. Equally impressive is the degree to which people load their bicycles with shopping bags, children, boyfriends, and/or garbage bags full of aluminum cans for recycling. And yet, with all this, it’s a rare sight to see anyone besides tiny kids wearing a helmet.

Ehime Prefecture, known for its scenic bike paths and wide use of bicycles for commuting, is hoping to change that by enacting a law instructing cyclists of all ages to wear a helmet, or else.

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