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Minor things that can land you in jail in Japan

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Maciamo

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Did you know that cutting the line to buy a ticket at a station is illegal in Japan? That's not the kind of things I would ever do, but this kind of behaviour is considered culturally acceptable in many countries around the world, including places like France, Italy, Spain or Latin America. According to famous YouTuber Paolo from Tokyo (see video below), unsuspecting foreigners have been arrested for this in Japan, as it is part of the country's Minor Crime Laws (軽犯罪法 Keihan Zaihou). Sounds extreme? Well, the penalty for this minor offence can be a small fine of about 10 to 100€/$, or 1 to 30 days in jail! Imagine spending a month in a Japanese prison, places notorious for their military-style discipline and bad treatments, just for skipping a queue to buy a metro ticket? Apparently foreigners have been arrested and jailed for this, although I couldn't find if any of them actually spend a whole month in prison for it.

Here are some of the other offences listed under the "Minor Crime Laws":
  • Spitting or urinating in the street or a public place like a park. => 10 to 100€/$ fine or 1 to 30 days imprisonment
  • Giving wrong directions to a delivery person. => 10 to 100€/$ fine or 1 to 30 days imprisonment
  • Taking someone's trash (rubbish/garbage bag in the street) => up to 5000$ fine or up to 10 years in prison (!!) for theft + 1000$ fine or up to 3 years in prison for home invasion if taken within the confines of a private property. Paolo gives the example of a Japanese woman who was arrested and condemned for "stealing" empty aluminium cans from people's trash to donate (not sell) them to the city council social welfare programme.
  • Putting food or rubbish in a red post box of the Japan Post. => up to 5000$ fine or up to 5 years in prison

So if you ever see something interesting that was discarded in your neighbour's rubbish bag in Japan and thought "Oh what a shame to throw this away when it's barely used". Well don't do it. If a cop pass by at that time and see you opening a rubbish bag, you'll be questioned, and if you can't prove it's your own rubbish bag, you could be spending the next 10 years in a Japanese prison (if you survive till the end).

Street fighter may be one of the most famous and popular Japanese video games of all times, but getting into a fight in Japan is a very serious offence.
  • Challenging someone to a fight => 6 months to 2 years in prison
  • Actually getting involved in a fight. => 2 to 5 years in prison
  • Injuring someone in a fight => 5000$ fine and up to 15 years in prison
  • Watching a fight (without involvement). => 1 month to 1 year in prison
What makes it worse is that the Japanese legal definition of 'fight' in this case is not necessarily a physical fight, but even a verbal fight, including online by email or on a forum like this one!

 
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thomas

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Interesting video. Many of these stipulations seem harsh on paper, but most are dead wood. Or simply not applied. Anyhow, good to know that we can call the police if someone cuts the line at the ticket gate or steals our rubbish. 😆

PS: most legal systems are full of redundant and bizarre regulations waiting for a spring cleaning that never comes.
 

Majestic

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Why the sudden paranoia about the Japanese legal system, @Maciamo ?
If any country started applying its laws as strictly as the statutes allowed, I think that country would cease to function. It isn't a phenomenon limited to Japan. I don't know this YouTuber, Paolo, but he seems like a nice enough guy, and his videos are interesting. But anyone coming from the US to live in Japan will have to make their peace with the differences in the legal, criminal, prosecutorial, civil, etc... systems. I don't see the benefit of making these issues into a bigger bogeyman than they are.
 

Maciamo

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PS: most legal systems are full of redundant and bizarre regulations waiting for a spring cleaning that never comes.

It's true, but these are not antiquated or ridiculous laws that are never used. Paolo gives a recent example of Japanese people arrested and convicted for each case (even spitting in a public place), so these laws are applied. There is an article about these Keihan Zaihou on Wikipedia in Japanese, although interestingly there is no English translation yet (only Chinese). It states that in 2016, 9,801 cases were referred to the public prosecutor's office for violations of the Minor Offenses Act.

This law comprises 33 offenses and misdemeanours. I am not going to list them all, but other things that Paolo didn't mention and that are useful to know just in case include carrying secretly carries a knife, iron bar, or other equipment that can be used to harm a person's life or cause serious bodily harm. I suppose that most of you don't normally walk in the street hiding a knife or iron bar. But there is a lot "other equipment that can be used to harm a person's life" according to the Japanese authorities.

Franco-Japanese YouTuber Louis-san made a video last year about 10 things illegal in Japan but legal in France where he mentions some of the minor offences of the Keihan Zaihou. One of them was having a screwdriver in one's car without a specific authorisation for one's job (e.g. for an electrician). I now realise that this is part of the Keihan Zaihou, as a screwdriver could be used as a weapon. I watched another video by Japanese YouTuber Tokyo no Jo a few months ago in which he explained simply having a pair of scissors in one's rucksack can get you arrested if the scissors were longer than 10 cm. He has personally been asked randomly by a police officer to open his rucksack and there were scissors. Fortunately he could justify it explaining that he just went to the pjoto booth to take photos for his job application. The police officer asked to see the photos and the job application in question, which fortunately he had on himself. So, even if Japanese people risk being arrested by random checks like them for such a ridiculously small thing as having a pair of scissors in one's bag, the Keihan Zaihou is really being applied and not in a reasonable fashion, in my opinion.

Another thing that Louis-san mentioned in his video is having a walkie-talkie. Japan is apparently the only (developed) country where walkie-talkies are illegal. The justification is that they interfere with the frequencies used by the police and could also be used to spy on police conversations. In other countries the frequencies used by commercial walkie-talkies are not the same as the professional ones used by the police. Nevertheless a group of American tourists who were biking around Japan were arrested for bringing (American) walkie-talkies to communicate between each others when they were on the road.
 
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Maciamo

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Another thing I wanted to discuss when I started this thread, but got a bit side-tracked, is the relation between the fines and prison sentences defined by the law in Japan. I simply cannot understand what was going on in the lawmakers' minds when they set the punishment as a ¥10,000 fine (I wrote $100, but now it's more like $75 or 70€) or 30 days in prison. In what world is that remotely equivalent? For a regular person, being in prison for a month would mean losing their salary for that months (several thousands $/€ for most people), but in all likelihood also losing their job and having a harder time finding a new job because they had done time in prison. Only this could easily amount to between 10,000 and 25,000$/€ of lost revenues for someone with an ordinary job (let's say 2500$/€ per month), but much more for someone with a good job (say earning 15,000$/€ per month), for whom losing their job and not being able to find an equivalent replacement for a year would translate in losing 180,000$/€. And this is just for a misdemeanour like spitting in the street! Theft of rubbish is much more serious. :p:rolleyes:

Add to this the psychological trauma of having to do time in a Japanese prison (well any prison, but compared to, say Norway, prison in Japan is particularly harsh). I would surely suffer some kind of PTSD for years after that, even for just a few days in jail (or custody).

I am sure there are other countries where the punishments are not well balanced between the fines and the prison time, but that really seems quite extreme in Japan. If we add the psychological trauma and social stigma to the loss of job and revenues, one month in prison would, in my eyes, be equivalent to at least 100,000€. Definitely not the same as a 70€ fine!
 

thomas

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Honestly, most offences listed in the 軽犯罪法 are punishable in other legislations, too. Obviously, Japan is stricter regarding weapons and objects that could be used as weapons. Wikipedia's listing doesn't specifically mention screwdrivers, but knives (heavily regulated, with a legal length of six centimetres for all bladed instruments), iron bars, and other objects that could harm a person's life. So yes, a large screwdriver can be a deadly tool, as can a 10cm-long pair of scissors—no objections from me here. It is forbidden to carry potentially harmful instruments "hidden" or "without justifiable reason"—no complaints. Public urinating, defecating, and spitting: are minor offences in most countries.

As for the penalties: I agree with @Majestic, who stated that courts do not apply laws as strictly as the statutes allow. You are looking at maximum fines and prison terms. To see things in perspective ("legal reality"), you must look at how courts apply the law. Therefore, how many of those 9,801 cases referred to the public prosecution for violating the Minor Offences Act in 2016 led to convictions? And how many of those convicted received maximum penalties?

Legal theory and legal reality are two different things altogether.
 

thomas

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I don't know why walkie-talkies are categorically forbidden in Japan. In other legislations, they are heavily regulated in terms of frequencies and bandwidth to not interfere with law enforcement, civil aviation, and other public services.
 

thomas

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I am sure there are other countries where the punishments are not well balanced between the fines and the prison time, but that really seems quite extreme in Japan. If we add the psychological trauma and social stigma to the loss of job and revenues, one month in prison would, in my eyes, be equivalent to at least 100,000€. Definitely not the same as a 70€ fine!

100,000€ a month? Lock me up, buttercup! :LOL:
 

Maciamo

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Honestly, most offences listed in the 軽犯罪法 are punishable in other legislations, too. Obviously, Japan is stricter regarding weapons and objects that could be used as weapons. Wikipedia's listing doesn't specifically mention screwdrivers, but knives (heavily regulated, with a legal length of six centimetres for all bladed instruments), iron bars, and other objects that could harm a person's life. So yes, a large screwdriver can be a deadly tool, as can a 10cm-long pair of scissors—no objections from me here. It is forbidden to carry potentially harmful instruments "hidden" or "without justifiable reason"—no complaints. Public urinating, defecating, and spitting: are minor offences in most countries.
I used to carry around a swiss army knife in my pocket most of the time when I was a child. I grew up in the countryside and also often had a survival knife when I played in the fields or forests around my house (yes, I grew up watching movies like Rambo and Commando). It's sad to think that Japanese kids are not allowed to do that and few of them learn to fend for themselves in the wild. How things have changed since the first half of the 20th century. It reminds me of that Japanese solider who survived in the jungle of the Philippines for 30 years after WWII ended as he thought the war was still on. Not sure how many young Japanese people would be able to do that nowadays if they can't even make a camp fire, cut sticks to make arrows and spears, set traps, go fishing and all the other basic everyday stuff kids in the West learn to do by age 9. (or was it just me?)

I normally keep a screwdriver and some tools in my car just in case. In Japan that is illegal and the law is applied in case of the police checking your car.

Of course a screwdriver or scissors can be used as weapons. But anything can be used as weapons: a belt, a chair, a stone, a smartphone... And it's easy enough o kill someone without any weapon if you know where to hit. So, IMO, these laws are useless and are just more excuses for the police to arrest someone if they want to.
 

Maciamo

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100,000€ a month? Lock me up, buttercup! :LOL:
Would you seriously envisage it for 100,000€ if that meant that you had to stop working for a year and would have a conviction record? Even if it had no impact on my earnings or criminal record, I would never want to be locked up in jail even for a month. In my case, I would prefer to pay the 100,000€ (and make sure never to return to that county ever again).
 

Maciamo

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I don't know why walkie-talkies are categorically forbidden in Japan. In other legislations, they are heavily regulated in terms of frequencies and bandwidth to not interfere with law enforcement, civil aviation, and other public services.
Exactly.
 

Maciamo

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Public urinating, defecating, and spitting: are minor offences in most countries.
I know and I agree with those laws. I have never spat or urinated in public and, to give you an idea of what it means for me, I consider that using a public urinal with strangers next to you is urinating in public. So, by my personal standards, almost all men should be locked up, if the law states that urinating in public is punishable by prison time. I think that the problem here is the difference of mindset and sensitivity between myself and Japanese lawmakers (or even the general public). Let me explain.

- I completely agree that public spitting, urinating and defecating in public should be illegal (although not necessarily in nature in the middle of nowhere if there is no toilet available, which in a country like Japan, is about 90% of the territory.)
- I would even install surveillance cameras in as many public places (in urban areas) to make sure that this is respected.
- What I find extremely objectionable in Japanese law is that they would even consider imprisoning people by any misdemeanour. A civilised country should never resort to prison sentences for minor offences or misdemeanours. Whether many people are convicted and imprisoned each year or not is irrelevant. It's more of a ethical issue, like death penalty (which I favour by the way, but only for war criminals and terrorists, not for other crimes, even an isolated murder - but that's another debate). I would not give the judge the choice between a fine and a prison sentence for a misdemeanour. It should always be a fine and the fine should be proportional to the offender's income (as they do in Finland, for example), so that there is a real incentive for wealthier people to avoid misdemeanours. For example in many European countries rich people (multimillionaires) just don't care about speeding fines as it almost doesn't affect them compared to their overall wealth. That's why fines to be proportional to wealth and/or income.

In my eyes, countries that send people to prison for minor offences or misdemeanours are tyrannies. Most people in Western countries (strongly) object to people being arrested and imprisoned in undemocratic countries like Russia, Iran, North Korea, China or Saudi Arabia for criticising the government (or religion in Iran and Saudi Arabia). But is it any better to imprison people for relieving themselves in nature when no public toilet is available. Unfortunately that is exactly what the Japanese law says, whether the law is applied or not. So, on paper at least, Japan is less free than these five countries that have been heavily criticised by the West for so long. It's not a matter of opinion. The law is the law. It exists. If they don't want to be criticised for it by foreigners, they should change it to something more reasonable (namely scrap the mention of prison sentences for misdemeanours).
 
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Maciamo

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I believe that in any democratic country it is the duty of lawmakers not just to make new laws but also to get rid of bad laws that are antiquated, cause more problems than they prevent, or unnecessarily restrict personal freedom. Unfortunately I do not know any country that has a perfect legal system. What is certain is that some countries have more "junk laws" than others. There is a whole website dedicated to Stupid Laws around the world.

Looking at my own country first, I checked what weird, antiquated or annoying laws exist in Belgium. It turns out that most of them are municipal rules, not national of even state laws. At the federal level, one law that needed rectifying since Belgium became an independent country in 1830 is the definition of the Belgian flag in the constitution. The colours are listed in the wrong order (red, yellow and black, instead of the actual black, yellow and red). But that does not hurt anyone. Among the municipal restrictions listed (ban on fortune telling, ban on having more than 5 cats in an apartment, etc.), the sanctions are fines, not prison sentences. Some laws are antiquated but don't hurt anyone as their aim is to protect people. For example, Belgian federal law says that the bailiff cannot seize a person's livestock and one month's worth of livestock feed. That could be scrapped, but it's not hurting anyone to keep it either.
 

thomas

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- Legal revision is an immense undertaking that needs years of preparation and political consensus across all political factions. It's a slow, tedious, and cumbersome process and usually of low priority, as a plethora of other, more pressing political, social, and economic issues take priority. I agree with you that - ideally - antiquated laws should be discarded in a timely fashion. My country still has stipulations dating to the 18th century - in legalese Maria-Theresian German that we used to mock in law classes.

- A lot of countries impose prison sentences for misdemeanours. It's not only Japan.

- I maintain that you need to focus on the legal reality and not the wording of the law: it's the courts that apply the law, and maximum fines are rarely imposed. Don't forget those maximum penalties also serve the purpose of prevention.
 

mdchachi

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The walkie talkie ban is interesting/good to know. I googled it and found that in this city you can walkie but you can't talkie.

- What I find extremely objectionable in Japanese law is that they would even consider imprisoning people by any misdemeanour. A civilised country should never resort to prison sentences for minor offences or misdemeanours. Whether many people are convicted and imprisoned each year or not is irrelevant. It's more of a ethical issue, like death penalty (which I favour by the way, but only for war criminals and terrorists, not for other crimes, even an isolated murder - but that's another debate). I would not give the judge the choice between a fine and a prison sentence for a misdemeanour. It should always be a fine and the fine should be proportional to the offender's income (as they do in Finland, for example), so that there is a real incentive for wealthier people to avoid misdemeanours. For example in many European countries rich people (multimillionaires) just don't care about speeding fines as it almost doesn't affect them compared to their overall wealth. That's why fines to be proportional to wealth and/or income.
I don't know about Japan but I think imprisonment is typically used against repeat offenders or those who can't pay. (Essentially criminalizing poverty which I don't agree with but on the other hand a monetary penalty for somebody who is penniless is not a deterrent.)

In my eyes, countries that send people to prison for minor offences or misdemeanours are tyrannies. Most people in Western countries (strongly) object to people being arrested and imprisoned in undemocratic countries like Russia, Iran, North Korea, China or Saudi Arabia for criticising the government (or religion in Iran and Saudi Arabia). But is it any better to imprison people for relieving themselves in nature when no public toilet is available. Unfortunately that is exactly what the Japanese law says, whether the law is applied or not. So, on paper at least, Japan is less free than these five countries that have been heavily criticised by the West for so long. It's not a matter of opinion. The law is the law. It exists. If they don't want to be criticised for it by foreigners, they should change it to something more reasonable (namely scrap the mention of prison sentences for misdemeanours).
I think you do need to differentiate what the law says versus its application. It does matter whether the law is applied or not.

I believe that in any democratic country it is the duty of lawmakers not just to make new laws but also to get rid of bad laws that are antiquated, cause more problems than they prevent, or unnecessarily restrict personal freedom. Unfortunately I do not know any country that has a perfect legal system. What is certain is that some countries have more "junk laws" than others. There is a whole website dedicated to Stupid Laws around the world.
That is a very interesting concept and food for thought. That lawmakers have some duty to fix problems by revising laws and whatnot.
In the U.S. the lawmaker profession is kind of a performance art. Sort of like street performers. They get people riled up about nonexisting issues, try to get in the daily headlines so they can get on TV and at the end of the day pass around the hat to collect money to fund their election campaigns. And then repeat.
 

Petaris

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- I completely agree that public spitting, urinating and defecating in public should be illegal (although not necessarily in nature in the middle of nowhere if there is no toilet available, which in a country like Japan, is about 90% of the territory.)

But if you are out in the middle of nowhere with no one around then is it still considered "public"? First, if there is no one around then you are unlikely to ever be caught doing it, second if somehow such a thing came to be reported "Hello, Police? I saw Maciamo peeing in the woods!" I can't imagine it getting to court and even if it did I can't see them throwing the book at you for it.

A lot of the time the reason for the range of consequences from "A warning" to "A huge fine and prison time" is so that you can let "someone who needed to pee badly in the middle of a forest with only a friend around to report them" off with a warning while nailing "a person who takes a crap on a public monument in front of a bunch of school kids on a class trip" .
 

IronDove

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with small crimes like misdemeanours and such, you have to take into account that the people busting you for it are just that, people. i think spitting is gross. keep your bodily fluids to yourself. so if i were a cop and saw some kid spitting habitually or as an insult, id arrest them or reprimand them in some way but if i saw the same guy spit and asked "why did you spit?" they could respond with "a bee few into my mouth" or "a blueberry i ate tasted funny" and id let that slide.

Petaris made the point already but no 2 crimes are the same. peeing in a public forest wont have the same punishment as peeing on the Eifel tower. it would technically be the same crime but the consequences would differ.

as for crimes like having a "dangerous weapon" it really depends on your justification for having it on you and the person busting you. you could have a legit reason to carry a cleaver, you could be a butcher or chef taking your tool to work but there's also the matter of discretion on the officers part. they could be a robot that does everything by the book and doesn't take the nuances into account.

i wouldn't sweat the small laws. if you do end up committing a minor crime unknowingly then most times, you can talk your way out of it. cops are usually decent people after all. if you do end up getting busted, its a small fine and away you go. unless you're knowingly committing a serious crime, your worst case scenario is being arrested for a short time and paying a small fine めんどくさい (pain in the backside).
small crime, small punishment
 

Maciamo

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- Legal revision is an immense undertaking that needs years of preparation and political consensus across all political factions. It's a slow, tedious, and cumbersome process and usually of low priority, as a plethora of other, more pressing political, social, and economic issues take priority. I agree with you that - ideally - antiquated laws should be discarded in a timely fashion.

Many small countries manage to have a better organised criminal code than Japan. Yet, laws is a more populous country shouldn't necessarily be more complicated or more numerous to keep peace and order in the population. You make it sound like Japan does not have the resources to deal with its own legal system the way smaller countries like Belgium, Luxembourg, Denmark or Switzerland do.

My country still has stipulations dating to the 18th century - in legalese Maria-Theresian German that we used to mock in law classes.

Ok, but are these bad laws that need being scrapped? It's not because a law is old that it is bad. Many European countries are based on ancient Roman law.

- A lot of countries impose prison sentences for misdemeanours. It's not only Japan.

Can you give me examples are countries that have prison sentences for spitting in public, cutting the line, carrying scissors in one's bag, or "stealing" trash from a bin or a rubbish bag? I am really interested to know if there are other countries than Japan for these things.
 

Maciamo

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with small crimes like misdemeanours and such, you have to take into account that the people busting you for it are just that, people. i think spitting is gross. keep your bodily fluids to yourself. so if i were a cop and saw some kid spitting habitually or as an insult, id arrest them or reprimand them in some way but if i saw the same guy spit and asked "why did you spit?" they could respond with "a bee few into my mouth" or "a blueberry i ate tasted funny" and id let that slide.

The problem with Japanese law is that it does not mention (AFAIK) that having a good excuse for spitting exonerates someone from the punishment. The way the Japanese law is written, if a bee flies in your mouth, you spit it and a cop sees you, he is duty-bound by the law to issue a fine. I suppose that you know Japanese people well enough to know that they usually follow the rules by the letter. Even in a restaurant you can't ask to customise a bit your dish by removing things you don't like or don't want to eat (e.g. for vegetarians), as you would in any Western country. The anwser you invariably get is "Ah, sore wa, chotto... sumimasen".

Petaris made the point already but no 2 crimes are the same. peeing in a public forest wont have the same punishment as peeing on the Eifel tower. it would technically be the same crime but the consequences would differ.

Obviously. But the Japanese Minor Offence Act gives a minimum and a maximum penalty for each offense. In case of urinating in public, the minimum fine is 1000 yen or 1 day in jail. So it's still possible to be jailed for one day for spitting or peeing in the forest in Japan.

as for crimes like having a "dangerous weapon" it really depends on your justification for having it on you and the person busting you. you could have a legit reason to carry a cleaver, you could be a butcher or chef taking your tool to work but there's also the matter of discretion on the officers part. they could be a robot that does everything by the book and doesn't take the nuances into account.

This is your opinion, based on how the law is applied in Western countries. From what I gathered, in Japan the only valid justification for carrying even a screwdriver (not a weapon in itself), is to have a job that uses screwdrivers. Otherwise you are screwed. (sorry, couldn't help the pun)
 

mdchachi

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Can you give me examples are countries that have prison sentences for spitting in public, cutting the line, carrying scissors in one's bag, or "stealing" trash from a bin or a rubbish bag? I am really interested to know if there are other countries than Japan for these things.
The lowest level of misdemeanor in my state doesn't have a minimum punishment but the maximum is $500 or 93 days in jail.
I don't think we have fines for spitting but including in low level misdemeanors are "Disturbing the Peace," "Trespassing," "Disordery Conduct" and "Urinating in Public" which are all very subjective crimes. Is urinating out of sight behind a building "public"? Maybe. But that's up for the courts to figure out if a cop decides to arrest somebody for it.

The problem with Japanese law is that it does not mention (AFAIK) that having a good excuse for spitting exonerates someone from the punishment. The way the Japanese law is written, if a bee flies in your mouth, you spit it and a cop sees you, he is duty-bound by the law to issue a fine.
I don't think laws usually have exceptions encoded in them do they? That's what the court system is for. Either you pay the citation or fight it in court. I don't agree with the duty-bound part. Police in Japan and most places have a lot of discretion about such things.

From what I gathered, in Japan the only valid justification for carrying even a screwdriver (not a weapon in itself), is to have a job that uses screwdrivers. Otherwise you are screwed. (sorry, couldn't help the pun)
I'm sure the police would accept most sensible excuses. Like maybe you're delivering tools to somebody. Or you just bought it as a gift or whatever. But if they are to the point where they are searching your bag, there's either a real problem or they are looking for an excuse to hassle you.
 

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How about the rich folks, like the former US president, who have the money to just jam up the system indefinitely? Where does that fall on the spectrum of how well "the laws" work?

Have you heard of civil forfeiture? If the police in the US notice you have a lot of money, they can just take it, in it's up to you--at your expense--to then prove that it's clean and you did nothing wrong.

How about being a person of color in the US? It's well-established that some groups, to put it politely, suffer from undue police attention.

Drug laws vary all over the world, what do you think about that? I think I've read that Koreans, upon returning from a country where certain drugs are legal to use, can be tested if under suspicion--hair samples and the like--and if positive can then be prosecuted.

And spitting and chewing gum? Have you ever read up on Singapore? :ROFLMAO: Or the caning there as a punishment?



Japan is a piece of cake, ...a walk in the park.
 

Maciamo

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How about the rich folks, like the former US president, who have the money to just jam up the system indefinitely? Where does that fall on the spectrum of how well "the laws" work?

Have you heard of civil forfeiture? If the police in the US notice you have a lot of money, they can just take it, in it's up to you--at your expense--to then prove that it's clean and you did nothing wrong.

How about being a person of color in the US? It's well-established that some groups, to put it politely, suffer from undue police attention.

Drug laws vary all over the world, what do you think about that? I think I've read that Koreans, upon returning from a country where certain drugs are legal to use, can be tested if under suspicion--hair samples and the like--and if positive can then be prosecuted.

The US is definitely not a good reference. It's the kind of place where I would never live. I have been analysing and comparing countries for over 20 years and the US consistently ranks as the worst place to live in the "developed world". You can check the hundreds of comparison maps I have made for Europe and the USA in case you have a doubt.

What bothers me here is that Japan has laws that set prison penalties for minor offences. Saying that the situation is worse in the US is obvious to anyone who knows the slightest bit about judicial systems around the world. The US have one of the highest incarceration rate in the world - far higher than dictatorships and totalitarian regimes.

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And spitting and chewing gum? Have you ever read up on Singapore? :ROFLMAO: Or the caning there as a punishment?

First, Singapore is not a democracy (even if it claims otherwise). If you think it is, watch this:



Second, I have been a few times to Singapore, but I double-checked just in case, and the punishment for spitting or chewing gum is a fine (500 to 1000 S$), not prison, so I have no problem with that.
 
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You always got to love the laws that are based on intent.

Did you intend to mislead the delivery driver?
Did you intend to interrupt the wedding as a prank?
Did you intent to cut in line? (even if not specified, I am sure it applies).

It boggles my mind how many people actually seem to believe they are mind readers. And that includes judges. (Police I expect that sort of nonsense from. They are generally close to rock bottom). No, there is no way to determine intent. Its actually, and should be written as, an authority's best guess as to intent.

Meanwhile, there is no similar attempt to determine intent if you have tools in your car or bag. You need to have a specific excuse for the general moment. As if emergencies just never happen in this country. As if no one was ever beaten to death with an ordinary rock just laying around.

And your pleas of "No, officer. If I intended to kill someone I would have brought an ice pick, not a dull screwdriver." will only work against you more.
 
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The US have one of the highest incarceration rate in the world - far higher than dictatorships and totalitarian regimes.

And its been that way for a long time but they won't teach students that in school. Its one of the many reasons why I refuse to accept the label of "democracy" for the U.S. Its an oligarchy or corporate kleptocracy.

Back to Japan:

The claim that it is illegal to put ice cream in mail boxes is just one of those "bizzare Japan" lies. Its illegal to damage mail anywhere, hardly matters if its ice cream or bodily fluids. Just because some punk did it with ice cream that one time does not mean there is a law specifically targeting ice cream. I wish the law would crack down on media outlets that tell and spread such lies and misinformation.

According to this it is illegal to deliver "misaddressed" mail to the proper address. In other words, if you get your neighbors mail in your box, you are not allowed to go give it to them.

 

mdchachi

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The US is definitely not a good reference. It's the kind of place where I would never live. I have been analysing and comparing countries for over 20 years and the US consistently ranks as the worst place to live in the "developed world". You can check the hundreds of comparison maps I have made for Europe and the USA in case you have a doubt.
Clearly there is something wrong with your criteria. Where is the map for Best Countries to Live for Gun Collectors?
 
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