Top 10 strange laws in Japan

Written by
Time Out Tokyo Editors

Originally posted July 8 2015

In light of the recently overturned ban on dancing in Japan and the slightly bizarre enforcement of bicycle laws, we’ve compiled a list of 10 strange laws in Japan. How many of these did you know about?

1. You can be fined for not reporting an explosive to the police – when the law was written, the fine was a grand total of ¥100. (Unfortunately this has now increased to up to ¥10,000).

2. Women (note: not men) who get divorced must wait six months before marrying again. If you give birth to a child during these six months, that child is legally your ex-husband’s. The Black Widow has probably only reinforced this law…

3. If a child is born to a foreign mother out of wedlock, the father must officially ‘recognise’ the child while it’s still in the womb for it to become a Japanese citizen. Otherwise, the father has to ‘recognise’ the child before he or she reaches the age of 20.

4. If you discover life in outer space, including the moon, that may be hazardous to public health, you are required to immediately report it to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, as well as to the international scientific community. (To be fair, 103 countries have ratified this treaty.)

5. It is forbidden to damage or throw away money (if you do, you could be fined up to ¥200,000 or spend a year in prison) – so no coin pendants for you.

6. If you die in a dual, the national insurance companies (health/life insurance etc) won’t pay out to your next of kin.

7. You need to obtain a licence or certificate before being able to handle fugu (pufferfish). The emperor is also banned from eating it, just in case he gets a poisonous bit. The rest of the imperial family can, however.

8. Those engaged in campaigning for an election can be reimbursed up to ¥12,000 for hotel stays, ¥3,000 for food and ¥500 for snacks per day.

9. You can’t brew alcohol stronger than one percent at home. (Not even beer for you, m’dear.)

10. Marriage will be invalidated if you married the wrong person. (Probably related to former arranged marriage traditions. We’re curious how this works out nowadays.)

All other sources:

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