Weird Laws in Japan You Should Know

Weird Laws in Japan: Discover Japan’s fascinating, bizarre and weird laws that will leave you astonished. From protecting pigeons to unusual flag regulations, duelling prohibitions, and more, this article unveils the intriguing legal aspects of Japan. Explore the weird laws and learn about the country’s unique cultural norms.

Japan’s rich cultural heritage, landscapes, and history is fascinating overall. However, beneath its modern and bustling façade, some intriguing laws may leave you scratching your head.

In this article, we will explore a few of these weird laws in Japan that will surely capture your interest.

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Weird Laws in Japan.

The Law for Protection of Birds and Wild Animals: No Extermination of Pigeons

This is for sure among the first weird laws in Japan. In Japan, a law protects birds and wildlife, such as pigeons. The “Law for Protection of Birds and Wild Animals” regulates these creatures’ preservation, conservation, and hunting, making it illegal for individuals to exterminate them without a permit.

It’s essential to remember that getting rid of pigeons who visit your balcony or garden is more complex than it may seem, even if their cooing can be bothersome. Even the act of chasing them away can result in penalties. If you need to remove pigeons, consult the city office for permission.

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Damaging Foreign Flags and National Emblems: A Legal Distinction

While hurting the flag or national emblem of another country with the intent to cause insult is a crime in Japan, it is interesting to note that damaging the Japanese flag is not illegal. In Japan, damaging or defacing a foreign flag or national emblem is a severe offence. However, no such law exists for the Japanese flag.

This distinction has sparked debates regarding freedom of expression and the ability to dissent against the Japanese government. Some argue that prohibiting the damaging of the Japanese flag infringes upon their freedom to express their opinions.

Prohibition of Duels and Related Acts

In Japan, engaging in a duel or even requesting or responding to one is strictly prohibited by law. An act of physical violence agreed upon by two or more individuals to resolve a conflict. This law aims to prevent violence and maintain public safety.

A typical example of a duel in modern times involves motorcycle gangs or other groups setting up fights to determine superiority. Even if a contest doesn’t occur, arranging or agreeing to one is punishable by law. In such cases, all participants are likely to face legal consequences.

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Begging: A Criminal Offense

In Japan, begging for money or goods and causing others to beg is considered a criminal offence under the Misdemeanor Law. The law defines begging as repeatedly and continuously asking for money or goods needed for one’s or their dependent family members’ livelihood while offering little or no consideration in return.

Interestingly, the law extends to online platforms as well. Engaging in “begging distribution” on the internet can lead to prosecution. For instance, in 2015, an unemployed man involved in online begging in Kagawa Prefecture faced legal consequences.

Misdemeanour Violation: Exposing Thighs in Public

In some instances, exposing one’s body in a manner repulsive to the public can be charged as a violation of the Misdemeanor Law in Japan. Specifically, Article 1, Item 20 of the law applies to the exposure of buttocks, thighs, or any other body part that may cause public discomfort.

It’s important to note that the severity of the judgment varies depending on the degree of maliciousness and the circumstances involved. 

Obstructing Sermons, Worship Services, and Funerals: A Criminal Offense

Intentionally obstructing a sermon, worship service, or funeral in Japan is considered a crime. Obstructing a marriage falls under blocking business according to the Penal Code.

Restrictions on Communication with Bus Drivers

It is against Japanese Road Transportation Law to speak with the bus driver while the bus is moving. 

Carrying Scissors: Length Restrictions and Justifiable Reasons

Having scissors with a blade length exceeding 8 cm is punishable for violating Japan’s Firearms and Sword Control Law. Even taking scissors shorter than this length without a valid reason can lead to legal consequences under the Minor Offenses Act, potentially resulting in detention.

It’s worth noting that carrying scissors for self-defence is not considered a justifiable reason under the law.

Privacy and Mail: Opening Others’ Letters

In Japan, opening a sealed letter addressed to someone else, including family members, is illegal without a valid reason. Doing so can result in charges of opening a letter under Article 133 of the Penal Code. This law also applies to bills and other types of mail.

Moral and Ethical Implications of Keeping Extra Change

Lastly, this is one of the weirdest laws in Japan. In Japan, it is imperative to return excess change as there are moral and legal repercussions for failing to do so. Similarly, if you realize the mistake later but do not return the money, you may be guilty of “embezzlement of property taken away from the owner.”

These laws and regulations, though seemingly peculiar, serve to maintain order, protect public interests, and reflect the values ingrained in Japanese society.

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Final words on the weird laws in Japan.

Japan’s legal system encompasses a range of fascinating and unusual laws that may surprise locals and foreigners. From the protection of pigeons to the distinction between damaging foreign flags and the Japanese flag and the prohibition of duelling and begging, these laws reflect the country’s cultural values and priorities. Understanding these unique aspects of Japanese law gives us deeper insights into the societal norms and principles that shape this captivating nation.

Now that you know Japan’s weird laws, you should share them with your friends and loved ones planning to travel to Japan.

FAQs:

What are some interesting, weird laws in Japan? 

Some exciting and strange rules in Japan include the prohibition on exterminating pigeons, the distinction between damaging foreign flags and the Japanese flag, the ban on duelling and related acts, the criminal offence of begging, the misdemeanour violation of exposing thighs in public, the crime of obstructing sermons, worship services, and funerals, the restriction on talking to bus drivers while the bus is in motion, the regulations on carrying scissors, the prohibition on opening someone else’s letter, and the implications of not returning excess change.

Is it true that damaging the Japanese flag is not illegal?

 Yes, damaging the Japanese flag is not against the law in Japan. While damaging a foreign flag with the intent to cause insult is a crime, no such law exists for the Japanese flag.

Can you explain the prohibition on duelling and related acts in Japan?

 It is important to note that engaging in physical altercations in Japan is against the law—activities such as duelling and instigating or accepting challenges to fight. The law aims to prevent violence and maintain public safety. Even if the contest doesn’t occur, those involved in duels can face legal consequences.

Is begging illegal in Japan?

 Yes, begging is considered a criminal offence in Japan. The Misdemeanor Law makes it a crime to engage in the request or to cause others to beg. The law defines begging as repeatedly and continuously asking for money or goods necessary for one’s own or their dependent family members’ livelihood without offering much in return.

What are the consequences of exposing thighs in public in Japan? 

Exposing one’s thighs in a repulsive manner to the public can be charged as a misdemeanour violation in Japan.

Are there laws against obstructing sermons, worship services, and funerals in Japan?

 Yes, intentionally blocking addresses, worship services, and funerals is considered a crime in Japan. 

Why is it prohibited to talk to a bus driver while in motion?

 The Road Transportation Law in Japan does not permit talking to a bus driver while the bus is in motion. 

Are there any restrictions on carrying scissors in Japan?

 Holding scissors with a blade over 8 cm violates Japan’s Firearms and Sword Control Law. Any scissors shorter than this length without a valid reason violate the Minor Offenses Act and may result in detention. Self-defence is not a justifiable reason for carrying scissors.

Is it illegal to open someone else’s letter in Japan? 

Yes, opening a sealed letter addressed to someone else in Japan is unlawful without a valid reason. This act can lead to charges of spreading a note under the Penal Code, punishable by imprisonment or a fine.

What are the implications of not returning excess change in Japan? 

Failing to return spare change, even if you realize the mistake later, may be considered fraud in Japan. Returning any extra money received is essential to avoid potential legal consequences.