One thing that I have learned in my multiple years in Japan, is that Japanese society, in general, is not litigious. Certainly not in the way Americans are. In fact, if an accident occurs, most often Japanese people pay actual damages, not pain and suffering compensation.
Nowhere is this more apparent than with regards to construction. As you can see from the pictures here, I was very very close to an open construction site. They are building that building before my very eyes. I could walk within inches of the site and no one worried it. In fact, yesterday I walked right past a big, open hole in the road through which new pipes were going to pass. There was a garage with a car parked in it nearby and out of respect, they had covered the entire car with plastic for protection. When was the last time your car was protected from the ravages of road work?
You see, if I fell into the hole, or hurt myself on the construction site, I’d get my medical bills paid for, but it would be something that would set me up for the rest of my life. Not like in the U.S.
Liability is a whole other animal overseas. Each country deals with it in different ways. In Japan, people trust each other but also they know to be careful and they don’t step in holes in the street by accident or on purpose.
They just don’t do it.
It’s a whole new world when you take liability out of the equation. It makes life much simpler.
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What a different side to our discussion we had, too… in thinking about liability/responsibility? I think Japan has it over the US on this one… It’s an agreed-upon responsibility/respect thing. 🙂