Photo:すしぱく on Pakutaso

Unique Laws in Japan

Every country has laws. Some make sense, some don't, and some are peculiar to the country that inhabits them. Japan is a nation of laws and highly respects them so here we present a few unique ones to look out for.

Foreign Residents Must Keep ID On at All Times

Photo byつるたま on Pakutaso

For foreigners who chose to make Japan their home, once registered, they are given a government issued form of identification with their name and picture called the residence card, zairyu card in Japanese, that provides information about them including their address and job status. By law, police have the right to ask them for it anytime, anywhere. Regardless of your living status, foreigners caught without it risk deportation. You never want to leave home without this card!

Weight Watchers

Photo byすしぱく on Pakutaso.

Japanese people have a surprisingly healthy diet but it is forbidden to be overweight for men and women aged 40. It does seem shocking coming from the country that invented sumo wrestling, but it is illegal to be fat here. According to what is called a “Metabo Law”, every man and woman aged 40 and over cannot have a waist measuring more than 90 cm (35 in) respectively. For individuals, there is no punishment by law. But companies and government offices can face fines and penalties for having overweight staff.

Don't You Dare Waste a Cent

Money to burn. Photo by Jianfa Ben Tsai on Flickr.

In Japan, it is illegal to throw away or damage money. While it is difficult to imagine someone doing this, there are some cases of people throwing large amounts of cash in the trash. The penalty includes a 200,000 JPY fine or a year in prison. (Honestly, how hard could it be to find a local charity somewhere)?

We All Scream for Ice Cream, But Not on Our Mail

Photo by すしぱく on Pakutaso.

It may be kind of hilarious, but it is illegal to place ice cream in mailboxes. After a 2006 act done by a mailman, it became an illegal offense in which perpetrators can face prison time and a ¥500,000 fine. Because ice cream is too good to waste.

It has long been understood that to make laws, they must be put through a long process. After all, every society exists because of rules and order and Japan is no exception. So when traveling to Japan, obey the law.

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