More New Taxes Disguised as Laws to Protect the Public

The Japanese government keeps enacting new laws to “protect the public” but they are actually new taxes to help municipal governments cover their fast growing red-ink. Here is another story about a new law that was just enacted about two months ago..

In yesterday’s news report, Japan took a huge jump towards the victor in the title of Nanny State of 2011 by ticketing a cyclist for viewing photos on a cell phone! She wasn’t talking on a cell phone, she was viewing photos!!!???… This is really getting ridiculous. But the devil is even worse in the details. Read on!

Japan Today reports


Police have charged a teenager for using a cell phone while cycling, in the first such case of its kind in Japan, Nikkan Gendai reported on Wednesday.

Around 9:30 p.m. last Sunday, a patrolman in Hiratsuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, cited a 15-year-old female high school student for a traffic offense. The girl had been riding her bicycle while viewing images on a cell phone and repeatedly disregarded warnings to desist viewing the phone.

The cop was yelling at this girl to stop looking at her cell phone? Hell yes, she’d ignore the cop. Who wouldn’t? I’d think he was nuts.

“Don’t look at me! Don’t you F*cking look at me!”

The incident marked the first time for Kanagawa police to invoke the revised traffic ordinance, aimed at discouraging so-called “nagara unten” by cyclists who talk on cell phones or listen to music players while in motion. It went into effect on May 1.

“She apparently thought cyclists were not subject to traffic regulations,” the source was quoted as saying, adding that violators may be fined up to 50,000 yen.

Catch that part: “…listen to music players while in motion….” This means drivers of cars, bikes, whatever. Next obvious step is to make it a fine to wear headphones while jogging or walking on crowded public sidewalks. But wait a minute!!! What law did this girl violate? She wasn’t listening to music and she wasn’t talking on a cell phone. She was allegedly looking at photos!!!

Any competent lawyer should be able to throw this crap out in a second… But it won’t go to that. This girl will pay the fine and the cop will go on his merry way interpreting the law anyway he sees fit. Is this arbitrary or what?

And, get serious, ¥50,000 yen (about $600 USD) for looking at a cellphone or listening to an ipod while driving or riding a bike? Really? This is “protecting the public”? Doubtful.

This is beginning to sound a lot like the stupid arbitrary laws in the USA. Like the new law that, if enacted, will make it illegal to upload a song to Youtube that has you lip-syncing to a track sung by a famous artist… That would include your eight-year-old girl who does a great Lady Gaga impression too.

Still, Japan only fines people for dumb laws. The penalty for uploading a lip sync video to Youtube in the USA would be a maximum five years in prison. Japan may be f’ed up with these idiotic laws too, but we’re still way behind – and a much freer nation – than the USA is.

But being a freer nation than the USA is not much to brag about these days. This cell phone while cycling law is ridiculous.

These kinds of stupid laws are supposedly enacted by the government to “protect” the public but they are defacto another tax and a new way for the government to collect monies from us.

It is the same with seat belt laws, motorcycle helmet laws, smoking laws, and a whole litany of other ridiculous laws that the government creates ostensibly to protect us (From who? ourselves, of course).

In the case of seat belt laws or helmet laws, it should be obvious to anyone who is still awake that we don’t need these types of laws to “protect us” as there is such a thing as “insurance” in case something happens to us… And if some guy wants to drive his car without a seat belt, is he hurting you or me? Why are we being taxed to stop a guy like that? It’s absurd.

Everyone knows that not waring a seat belt or a helmet might be dangerous. Everyone knows that using a cell phone while riding a bike might be risky, but – with or without these laws – people will still do it. And why not? It is their life. Putting a fine on this girl, for example, certainly will not stop her from riding her bike and using her cellphone, she’ll just be more careful to make sure the gestapo doesn’t see her doing it next time.

“Papers please!”

If we really want to prevent accidents, then let’s take this type of nanny state mentality to its logical conclusion and outlaw all behavior that is even a tiny bit risky as that way we can alleviate all accidents and abolish accident, car, boat and fire insurance forever.

Of course, that is an impossibility…. But it is an excellent way to raise revenues!

People who do not see the absurdity of these taxes disguised as laws to protect society shouldn’t be surprised when the new taxes come in on other ridiculous stuff, like, say, using a headphone or iPod like device in a public place.

Say, great idea! In order to “protect” us the government institutes a new tax on little white earbud headphones and uses the money for research to prevent hearing loss!

Laugh now, if you will, but you “heard” it here first.