Monthly Archives: July 2013

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An example of direct democracy

I live in a country which features one of the most direct democracies in the world. I don’t know about you, but for me democracy is important, being it closely related to freedom, and the less it is delegated, the better.

"Switzerland chooses"

“Switzerland chooses”

As soon as I moved to Switzerland I was surprised to see long aluminum poles planted on grassy grounds arranged so that their bases formed a rectangle.
“It’s for a new building,” I was told, “to give neighbors time to decide whether they like it to be built there or not.”
That’s right, the poles represented cornerstones and height of a soon-to-be-built building, according to design plan. The neighbors had veto power on it.

However, in Switzerland ordinary people are much more involved in decisions than just vetoing buildings.

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Criminal justice system in Japans: effective but chilling to Westerners

How different is the criminal justice system in Japan if compared to the ones in the Western World? Japanese culture and history have produced a completely different justice system, with exceptional results and means difficult to accept or understand for Westerners.

I’ve recently stumbled upon an article about “crime and punishment” in Japan. Its title can be translated in “Japan, lights and shadows of Justice. The most frequent crime is bike theft.”

I found the article extremely interesting because it highlights how different Japanese law enforcement system is from the ones in the western world.

The article, authored by a European journalist who has been living in Japan for a couple decades, begins by listing facts and figures about crime in Japan.

Japan law, crime, jail, courts

  • Japan is the country with the lowest crime level among the countries belonging to G20
  • Japan has 54 inmates every 100,000 citizens (US: 700)
  • Japanese citizens who are victim of at least one crime over one year are 16% (US: 39%)
  • Risk of being robbed in Tokyo is 80 times lower than in New York City
  • Risk of being assaulted in Tokyo is 200 times lower than in NYC
  • Risk of being raped in Tokyo is 700 times lower than in NYC
  • Risk of being killed in Tokyo is 2,000 times lower than in NYC

However, such stellar results don’t come without a price.

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Driving in Switzerland: don’t deal with Swiss Police, they will deal with you

Adapting to drive in another country is not always easy.

One has to adapt to:

  • Different rules
  • Different signaling system
  • Different driving styles of the other drivers
  • Different police

Swiss Police

Different police

Imagine you are driving in northern Switzerland, where people pretend to speak German.

It’s after midnight, and I’m driving well below the speed limit, since I know there are many radars around.

Suddenly a car overtakes me, and – surprise – it is a police car.

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