• Kai, Yamanashi


If there truly is a nationwide ban in Japan on knives of the length of what the man carried, then there was a failure in the Japanese customs information and inspection process. It is to be noted that the man did not conceal the fact that he had a knife. He relinquished it to police and, if the news reports are correct, was very cooperative. The detainment, therefore, does seem excessive, but the U.S. Embassy does give information and issues warnings of this nature on its Web site.

I am not saying that I agree with how the man was treated; I believe that if the reported account is correct, the legal ramifications don’t fit. But it is not my country and I don’t make or enforce the laws. So I have to be very careful. If I don’t take the time to study the laws and language of a foreign country, which every tourist cannot be expected to do, I take a calculated risk by living in or visiting the country. Just as I take a calculated risk in driving my car to work or taking a walk. Think about a trip to North Korea — the calculated risk would be much higher.

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