Japan Trivia 7: Vice-ful Japanese are Further Ratcheting up Their Quest for a Vice-free Nation
Contributed by: Y.Yamamoto
Left: Sourced from the stats compiled by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry
Right: Sourced from the recent Population Survey Report
While in business I often asked an unusual question of applicants for key positions in my shop or prospective business partners for important projects. In a by-the-way tone I asked them, "What's your vice?"
Totally unprepared, some invented impromptu mischievous things they might have actually done when they were naughty kids; some others just shrugged off my question with a grimace or wry grin. But any runaround served my purposes because I didn't expect them to confess to a felony at a job interview.
I just wanted to weed out two types of candidates: perfectionists on one hand, and those who would easily settle for mediocrity on the other. To me the single most important thing in business was to clearly identify pros and cons involved in the courses of action we had in mind and find out which one would give us the best tradeoff.
I still think my tactic would have worked out had it not been for the fact that very few candidates met my screening criteria.
If they had been honest about their vices, I would have felt obliged to tell them mine - that I was (and still remain) a nicotine addict, an excessively amorous person by Japanese standard, and so on. One of my close friends recently diagnosed me as suffering "polyamory." To set the record straight, however, that is not exactly the case with me.
Even today I often ask the same question of new acquaintances in order to avoid wasting my limited time mixing with morons who don't know there is no such thing as a free lunch, or an endeavor free of risks and costs.
Last July Hiroshi Nakada hastily resigned as Yokohama mayor seven months before the expiration of his term to climb the bandwagon of "realignment" going on at the level of national politics. The reason he couldn't wait until April is obvious; he feared the innumerable crimes he had committed while in office would otherwise come to the surface to thwart his undeserved aspiration.
That he has fled the municipal government hasn't made any difference to the way things are in Kanagawa Prefecture and its capital city Yokohama. These guys in the prefectural government and city hall are still badly in need of all-out house cleaning. Instead of tackling corruption rampant in their offices, they are now ratcheting up their anti-smoking campaign.
Along the lines with the misplaced cleanup efforts, they enacted on April 1 a prefectural ordinance that says lighting up in public constitutes a crime and is subject to a fine of 2,000 yen.
The cultist-like guys don't give a damn about facts.
Just take a look at the graphs embedded at the top of this post. In fact it is not really substantiated by statistics that lung cancer is closely linked with smoking, either active or passive. The Daily Yomiuri, which inserted these graphs in its April 22 article, gives an excuse: "But according to experts, it will just be a matter of time before the numbers work themselves out." Yet, any sane person can tell these phobia-mongering "experts" are certainly trying to instill a superstitious idea in these gullible people.
Besides, if you looked at the banana-shaped upward curves of alcohol consumption, drug abuse, or any other vice, you would start suspecting that it's not only wrong but also harmful to single out the vice of lighting up.
Most Japanese citizens are too prone to mass hysteria to complain against the prefecture-wide stupidity which will spill over to other prefectures very soon. But the owners and employees of the Chinese restaurants I frequent have by and large brushed aside the new rules. They would have removed ashtrays from the tables if a tougher rule that says smoking or allowing customers to smoke is punishable by execution had been enforced.
I must conclude that unlike the Chinese who are realistic about things, the vice-ful Japanese will be untiringly seeking a viceless nation until they go extinct because of liver cancer, or brain cancer.
I'm still paying an annual 270,000 yen ($2.9K) in tobacco taxes, knowing I'm just a victim of these thieves.
They are now talking about raising the rates for the tobacco tax and the "consumption" tax, Japan's VAT, to finance their futile efforts for a vice-free nation. ·