Forum: Japan the epitome of good social behaviour

A station employee speaks with a man at Shinjuku Station in Tokyo on Oct 11, 2019.
A station employee speaks with a man at Shinjuku Station in Tokyo on Oct 11, 2019.PHOTO: AFP

No society is perfect, but Japan to me is the epitome of good social behaviour (Learn from the Japanese, by Mr Anthony Lee Mui Yu, Oct 18).

The mantra of the Japanese is "do not inconvenience others".

My family and I visited Osaka and Kyoto in May last year. Before we left Singapore, I read a guide book on Japanese norms and customs.

Everything I read about happened before my eyes.

When we boarded the train, no one spoke on his mobile phone, and when people conversed, it was in hushed tones.

On the express and bullet trains, food and drink could be consumed but not a piece of litter was in sight, which meant people cleared their rubbish before alighting. The streets, even back lanes and drains, were clean, and people cared for others and the environment.

I attribute this to being educated on these aspects from an early age by schools and parents.

In Singapore, I have come across students in uniform jumping queues at bus interchanges without batting an eyelid.

There is hope for us; when the majority practise courtesy, kindness and care, the minority who are not will slowly be won over.

Ezekiel Lim

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 22, 2019, with the headline 'Japan the epitome of good social behaviour'. Print Edition | Subscribe