|The story below is originally published on Mainichi Daily News by Mainichi Shinbun (http://mdn.mainichi.jp).|
|They admitted inventing its kinky features, or rather deliberately mistranslating them from the original gossip magazine.|
|In fact, this is far from the general Japanese' behavior or sense of worth.|
Anal administrators' loopy laws a laugh 2001,04,20
Nikkan Gendai 4/18 by Ryann Connell
Barmy bureaucrats are known throughout the world for coming up with daft ideas, but peculiar pen pushers in Japan are among the best of them, according to Nikkan Gendai (4/18), coming up with ordinances that seem to be in the best interests of residents, but all too often carrying riotous repercussions.
Kisei in Mie Prefecture has had a loopy law on the books for the past five years as it struggles to find brides for the town's growing numbers of single, 30-something men.
Kisei's kooky Cupid Commission has 20 Cupid Commissioners who earn a hefty 200,000 yen reward for every marriage they can set up where the groom is over 30.
But the reward doesn't go to the Cupid Commissioner.
Instead, it is put back into Cupid Commission coffers to cover running costs.
"For the first three years that the program was in place, all the Cupid Commissioners really tried hard to solve the town's problem of a lack of brides. But they couldn't find anybody," a Kisei Municipal Government spokesman says before a frown appears on his face.
"For the past two years, we haven't even been allocated an operating budget."
Also making a monkey of common sense is the egghead edict that forbids people visiting Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture, from feeding the hundreds of monkeys that roam wild there.
Offenders will be publicly shamed by the city's mayor in a decree that would test even the bounds of simian sensibilities.
Perhaps not surprising for bureaucrats with a lot of time on their hands and not much work to do, political correctness is of vital importance.
That led to Maetsue in Oita Prefecture coming up with its Praise the Kids Ordinance.
The ridiculous rule makes it obligatory for the town's mayor to reward residents, but children in particular, with certificates if they've performed a particular act of merit.
"Of the 92 awards we've made, over half have gone to kids," a municipal government spokesman says.
But Nikkan Gendai notes there's more to this story.
"Finding children well-behaved enough to deserve the prizes has been one hell of a job," an official from the town's board of education says.
Sometimes, though, a daft decree can become too popular.
Another anal act was performed by administrators in Fukaura, Aomori Prefecture, who banned cigarette vending machines on the streets of the town from the start of this month.
Though their efforts aimed at stamping out smoking, as well as ridding the streets of an ugly menace, should be lauded, perhaps the bureaucrats should have put a little more thought into what they were doing.
"Taxes picked up from tobacco form an important lifeline for any local government," Kagoshima University assistant professor Yasushi Shimoi says.
"If they don't watch out, they could be wringing their own necks. Plenty of municipalities have got out of the ordinary ordinances, but this one pretty well takes the cake."
April 20, 2001