Public transport safety in Japan

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Do you think public transport is safe? graph of japanese statisticsRecently the Cabinet Office Japan sponsored a very detailed survey into the public’s perception of public transport safety.

Demographics

3,000 people over the age of twenty were randomly selected from resident lists from all over the country. Between the 24th of July and 3rd of August 2008 face-to-face interviews took place. 39.3% refused or were not resident at that address, etc, so in total 1,822 people completed the survey. 53.9% of the sample were female, 8.1% in their twenties, 14.6% in their thirties, 17.5% in their forties, 20.8% in their fifties, 21.5% in their sixties, 13.0% in their seventies, and 4.4% aged eighty or older.

In Q8 I find the actions classified as “unsafe behaviour” quite surprising. Dashing into closing train doors and getting stuck in the door is dangerous, but checking in at the last minute is hardly unsafe, just impolite at worse.

Talking of unsafe behaviour, I flew trans-Pacific with NorthWest a couple of days ago in an exit seat with two of the crew opposite, but one of them grabbed her mobile and started checking her email during the final approach! They then went as far as to tut quietly at a passenger whose mobile rung as the plane taxied.
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Arson a disproportionately large worry in Japan?

Here’s one of these goo Ranking surveys that leaves me scratching my head rather a lot. This time it’s on fire prevention, a pertinent question as this month is fire prevention month – apparently this is the driest month of the year. As usual, no demographics, just a ranking for the relative votes in each category. Note that many people in Japan use either paraffin or gas heaters with naked flames.

If I were asked about this, the top answers I would give would be perhaps ensuring smoke detector batteries were fresh, or not smoking in bed if I were a smoker, but here in Japan, the second-top answer is not putting out rubbish the night before so as not to tempt arsonists. I can’t say I’ve ever given a thought to the subject,and in Japan is there really a significant amount of it or is it the result of the media focusing on the topic? There are posters everywhere about being aware of it, and the news often has reports of serial arsonists, but… I must check out the relevant statistics some time.
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Safety Japan

What is most important when buying products or services? graph of japanese opinionRecently goo Research carried out research into awareness of product and service safety issues. They interviewed 1,064 consumers by means of a web-based questionnaire, but details of the demographics of this sample were not reported.

Product and service safety has recently become a big issue in Japan, but quite frankly blown out of all proportion by the media. First of all there was the truely problematic Aneha scandal of blocks of flats and hotels not being built according to the building codes, thus liable to collapse even in moderately strong earthquakes. Next up was US beef, blown up out of all proportion, especially considering that not many people in Japan worry about (or even know about) the human growth hormones and antibiotics that are far more likely to aversely affect your health compared to BSE or vCGD, let alone the heavy metals in Japanese fish or the second-hand smoke in the average Japanese restaurant. Later was Schindler’s Lifts, which, as the linked story suggests, the brouhaha was caused as much by the company’s failure to appear sorry enough as by the death from the hardware failure itself. Note that at the end of August a man died after falling into an empty lift shaft, but this got very little press coverage and no mention of the make of the faulty equipment, at least in the linked story, so I would put good money on it not being one of Schindler’s.

I have also omitted mention of bits falling off planes or trains crashing or poison fan heaters or…

Oh, and the title of this story, “Safety Japan” comes from a common Japanese English mistake of using “safety” instead of “safe”, as in the other stereotypical “I am safety driver” expression.
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Child safety through technology

Would you give Granny a kid's mobile phone? graph of japanese opinionjapan.internet.com, in conjunction with JR Tokai Express Research, looked at the issue of mobile phones for children. At the start of June they interviewed 330 people, 92.4% male, between the ages of 30 and 50, employed by public or private enterprises, and having children. You will know from my previous reports on surveys that women are not well-represented in the workforce, especially after childbirth.

au in particular are heavily promoting their children’s mobile phone on television right now; the parent (mother, of course) gets a live update overlaid on a map of where the child, or to be more precise, the child’s mobile is. I personally believe that most of these GPS tracking features are playing on unnecessary fear. I’d love to see a survey asking purchasers of these phones if they also (a) belt up their kids in the car, (b) get them to wear a helmet on the bike, and don’t ride two (or even three) up on mother’s bike, and (c) don’t leave under-10s home alone, all of which are much more injury- or death-prone than stranger-danger.
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