October 10, 2010

JAPAN: Standing up for the right to sit down in public

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TOKYO, Japan / The Japan Times / Life in Japan / October 10, 2010

 "I realize that complaints about the lack of benches in public spaces are a fairly common," writes Edan Corkill, staff writer.

For the last three years, the "lack of benches and garbage bins" has registered as one of the top complaints made by tourists to Tokyo, according to a survey conducted by the Japan National Tourism Organization.

"Smoother mobility of the elderly and handicapped" has been mentioned by the local authorities, mentions Edan Corkill in the report on lack of benches in public areas in Tokyo and smaller cities. While tourists call for more outdoor seating, city hall rules keep complaints on the bench, he notes.
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Visions of benches: In many areas of Japan, benches in public streets remain a figment of the imagination for elderly residents and tired tourists. One reason for the dearth of places to sit could be because the Japanese authorities want to keep people moving on footpaths and sidewalks.  CHRIS MACKENZIE

(C) The Japan Times