Japan’s Double Standard

In Shinjuku smoking isn’t allowed on the streets and smoking isn’t allowed at all in train station bathrooms. And yet both of these are commonly encountered during my commute. I have never heard of anyone being ticketed for smoking and have seen both police and security guards actively ignoring smokers. When the presence of illegal smokers is pointed out this is often meet with a simple shrug of shoulders and a “just ignore it” indifference.

There is no law against being foreign in Japan. And yet here are some accounts that have either happened to me or to those I know:Random stops by police to check identity papers. Not caring papers can be met with a large fine.

Hotels demanding that an illegal copy of foreign registration card is needed before a room can be obtained. 

Having our group be singled out by police during hanami season for a park allegedly not allowing a hanami gathering but told it will be okay if we leave.
Recently when my wife made lunch reservations at a popular spot they wanted to make sure she would be okay sitting next to a table reserved by foreigner as that was the only seat left. (Which just makes me wonder if others are warned about us if I make the reservation.)

So, yeah, I just wonder if smoking (which there are actual rules against) were as shown the same amount of social concern and active policing as the mere existence of foreigners, what would be the effect on the amount of of cigarette trash and stink  that at times seems to be everywhere.


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