Enforcement priorities are completely out of whack in Japan: Ink pen = lethal weapon

So…we know that Japan does not really regulate the nuclear power industry (TEPCO).  We also know that it does a lousy job of regulating insider trading (Nomura, Daiwa, Chou Mitsui, Japan Advisory, SMBC Nikko, already on a growing list).  Pension funds (AIJ) don’t get a whole lot of scrutiny either.  And, of course, corporate accounting (Olympus) is given only lip service.  And all of those people who are getting cancer from working at printing companies haven’t really been able to count on industrial safety regulators.

Then there is the matter of prosecutors who falsify evidence (Ozawa case) and wind up getting a mere slap on the wrist or, in one case, erroneously confine someone and escape punishment by saying “Oops, sorry we put you in jail for a month.”  Bullying, stalking, and assault are not high priorities either until someone gets hurt, killed, or simply says, “To hell with this” and jumps off a building.

And, of course, Noda has declared that no one will be punished for the Fukushima disaster…except the Japanese people who, no matter where they live, are living in the fallout of radiation either directly from Fukushima or from the incineration of radioactive and toxic debris, courtesy of the very same government.

Data security is not taken seriously either.  Groups hack government websites and anti-terrorism data are leaked.  Chinese officials walk off with confidential information.  Fukushima data is not secure.  Even military contractors can’t keep people from lifting the lid and looking inside.

However, all is not lost.  People riding bicycles on sidewalks are being rightly persecuted because they are such a danger to the society.  Also, people who like raw liver are out of luck.  The government says it is simply too dangerous to allow.  Apparently, eating raw liver is much more dangerous than radiation and much more damaging to society than accounting fraud, financial fraud, bureaucratic corruption, prosecutorial misconduct, and suicide/murder.

Now there’s this story

Japanese customs officials who impounded 200 pens more than a year ago said Friday the writing implements needed a weapons import license because they were shaped like bullets.

Fountain and ballpoint pens made by U.S. firearms and knife manufacturers, including Smith and Wesson, have been held up by inspectors in Nagoya and Osaka since April 2011.

The pens, which are made from a mixture of titanium and other metals, are fashioned to resemble bullets on the non-writing end.

A Nagoya customs official told AFP that under international regulations, the pens are classified as self-defense weapons, adding: “Special procedures are needed for the import of such products.”

But Japanese knife retailer Yamahide Cutlery, which ordered the pens, said the suspension was unfair.

“How could you kill someone with a pen?” asked company president Toshio Yamada. “It is hard to understand.”

Yamada said he had no intention of applying for a weapons import license “because I don’t think they are weapons.”

The company had successfully imported and sold the pens, which ranged in price between 5,500 yen and 32,500 yen, from 2008 to 2011.

Which only goes to prove two things, the pen is, indeed, mightier than the sword (or at least as mighty – there are laws against swords, too) in Japan and the priorities of Japanese law enforcement and regulators are seriously out of whack.

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