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Ministry says it's OK for 'baby cars' to hog space on public transport

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"When two or three moms who are friends board the train together, it's tragic," complains a man in his 50s. "They occupy the silver seats and sit there tapping out mails on their smartphones, or they pull out their compacts and apply makeup, ignoring everyone around them, who have got to stumble past them to get off.

"The priority seats show a mark indicating a mother with child, but that clearly illustrates a woman holding a child in her arms. Just thinking of the sort of things that will happen once this mark is officially endorsed is terrible to think about."

Around the end of March, it seems that the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism clarified its rule regarding the use of "baby cars" -- which is what Japanese call prams or baby buggies -- aboard passenger trains. To wit, they are no longer obliged to fold them up while on board.

The symbol shows a child seated in a pram that's being pushed by an adult. Stickers bearing the design will henceforth be posted in spaces aboard trains, such as those designated for people in wheelchairs, and also at elevators set aside for their use in department stores and so on.

Posters aimed at eliciting the public's understanding and cooperation read, "Baby cars carry an important life. There's a slight anxiety as they are gently protected."

(That rasping sound you hear is the gnashing of commuters' teeth, as the competition heats up for space aboard public conveyances.)

Meanwhile, an official at the ministry tries to explain, "Up to now, people were not obliged to fold up prams on trains or buses, but the rule wasn't made clear. So we decided on a symbol to make it understandable to the general public."

Actually, points out Shukan Post (April 18), nine private commuter railways and Tokyo's Toei subway lines had already agreed upon similar guidelines back in 1999, to the effect that they would not insist that the prams to be folded up while on board.

However there are cases in which the railway may request women to collapse the prams, such as during peak hours, although the need for compromise and cooperation may not be well understood.

"I guess it would be all right if they avoid boarding at the doors closest to the station entrance, which are usually the most crowded part of the train," remarks a man in his 40s. "But that's where they usually go because it's easier for them. Any number of times I've seen people dashing to hop on the train and nearly collide with a pram. I'm sorry to have to put it like this, but I'd like to see these mothers give more consideration to preventing accidents from happening."

Interestingly, among the biggest critics of the new guidelines are middle-aged and elderly women.

"Most of the complaints we get are from older females, who complain that young women have it easy," says a bureaucrat in the department that sets safety policies. "They always point out how rough it was for them back in the old days."

In the older generation's view, today's fashion-oriented young moms find the idea of carrying an infant around on their back, or in a front sling, to clash with their desire to project a modern appearance.

But a young mother sees things from a different perspective.

"While Japan is so riled up over its declining birthrate, once a child is born, it's become harder to raise it," says a woman in her 30s employed by a temp-help dispatch firm. "The women who complain about how rough things were in the old days, and how much 'fun' moms today are having don't have any idea of what they're talking about. I've got no one to assist me, and sometimes I feel like I've had it up to here," she says, moving her hand to her throat for emphasis.

With the ongoing trend toward later marriages and child births, the age gaps between a family's first, second and sometimes the third child has become shorter, and it's become common to see expectant mothers visiting their physician in the company of a toddler. In such situations, a pram has become a necessity.

Yet another problem appears to be that imported prams, which make up about 20% of the market in Japan, tend to be bulkier than domestic models, designed as they were for being pushed over European streets with cobblestones.

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.


85 Comments
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"hog?"

Well I guess we know how the writer of this article feels about it.

When I used to travel with my baby, up to a year, I used an ergo carrier. However I STILL didn't get to sit in the priority seats. And it wasn't other mothers taking up the seats either - It was the salarymen who pretended to be sleeping.

9 ( +18 / -9 )

This isn't a newspaper article, it is a rant from a childless misanthrope. I am not surprised that the author didn't put their name on it.

Pause for a moment and consider what stopping to fold up a stroller would mean. First you'd need somewhere to put the infant after you'd removed them from the stroller, which is not safe for the infant since they might roll off the seat and be stepped on by one of the other commuters. I'm not exaggerating here, I've seen several little kids nearly stepped on or hit in the head with briefcases by salarymen who just weren't paying enough attention.

Next the mother needs space to fold up the stroller. The newer strollers are easier to fold, but it takes a lot more space than may be easily available in a crowded train. And no, the mother can't fold the stroller on the platform and carry the kid in, because the stroller needs one hand to carry, and if the infant wriggles (as larger infants often do) it may fall and die.

And all this effort for a train ride than is probably less than 10 minutes? Don't be so petty. The baby car occupies about the same amount of space as a person with a shopping bag. Why should infants be entitled to less space than anyone else?

In effect the author of this "article" is saying that a few extra centimeters for themselves is important enough to risk the life of the infant. That position is quite simply indefensible.

If possible mothers should avoid bringing strollers on the train, but sometimes it is necessary (for example when they've got other stuff to carry or are going a long way).

24 ( +31 / -8 )

Do they ask for wheelchair bound to fold up their chair?

9 ( +17 / -8 )

The problem is when people try to board overcrowded trains with their small kids and baby buggies. Keeping it real...there is simply not enough room for it, and it get really frustrating. On many occasions, I have been bumped into (more like ran over) or been shoved into a wall or other people because these people (mostly women...again keeping it real) try to get there unfolded buggies on the train. The trains are simply not geared for that. And its a group of women and their kids, then forget about it....might as well get off at the next station and try to board the next train.

I think there is an easy fix for this and it should have been implemented a long time ago, and that is to charge more for riding during peak hours. This will discourage non-commuters from boarding trains during really crowded hours. Women with children, seniors, disabled, etc, really should use the train during non-peak hours when there are less people riding, that way people tend to be more tolerant for those who have extra baggage to carry.

On a different note, I love this article for pointing out a huge pet peeve of mine. There is this general feeling in Japan that trains are full of gropers and are unsafe for women to be on, or that men are such a nuisance to woman that women's groups have lobbied and pushed for women-only cars. Nobody has ever pointed out what a pain women can be with the putting on the make up, shopping bags all over the place, and creating a complete racket when a group of women talk so loudly on the train that you can't even hear yourself think. Yet, men have never lobbied for men-only car, nor would we probably get it if we did.

So to the women, if you can't be bothered to put on your makeup at and feel it is an absolute necessity to do it in the trains (which is rubbish IMO)...at least have the decency to do it in the women-only cars without having to subject the whole car watch you do it.

-13 ( +12 / -25 )

I'm pretty sure it's not OK for able-bodied childless salarymen to sit in the courtesy seats and pretend to be asleep but trains are full of selfish a-holes doing exactly that.

"Just thinking of the sort of things that will happen once this mark is officially endorsed is terrible to think about.” Riight. People being compelled by ministerial decree to get used to baby strollers? Terrible to think about.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Strollers should be allowed on trains, but mothers should refrain from riding during rush hour. When my wife goes any where with the 2 kids she leaves around 10 am and comes back in the afternoon.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

A lot of women push those things like them having a baby is the most important thing in the world and everyone else should get out of their way immediately. I can't remember how many times I've been almost run over or hit on the leg by one.

-8 ( +11 / -19 )

Mirai HayashiApr. 24, 2014 - 09:20AM JST The problem is when people try to board overcrowded trains with their small kids and baby buggies. Keeping it real...there is simply not enough room for it, and it get really frustrating. On many occasions, I have been bumped into (more like ran over) or been shoved into a wall or other people because these people

Gee, and I've almost been run over, bumped into, shoved and elbowed by salarymen and high school students more times than I can count. I can count the number of times I've been inconvenienced by someone with a stroller, it is precisely once, and I resolved the situation by reaching down and helping them get the stroller aboard the train.

I think you're conflating two issues Mirai. The first issue is bad manners on trains in major cities. I'm with you on this issue, but I don't think the answer is to hate on any one group, the bad manners seem to be pretty evenly spread across all groups.

The second issue is strollers on trains. Lots of people carry stuff. High school kids have bags, salarymen have briefcases, housewives have shopping, the elderly have walkers and mommies have strollers. I've been hit by bags so many times that I now automatically dodge. Unless you're proposing banning ALL luggage (strollers, bags, briefcases, shopping, etc.) then stop hating on one group of people.

7 ( +16 / -9 )

Maybe the Japanese government saw it as a move to show they are looking for more ways to help mothers, steps to solve the low birth rate in Japan. Just speculation.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Kickboard ... that is insane thinking. Not all mothers are going out for playdates or to lunch!

What about those who have to commute to work with their child? The hoikuen places are so short that I know many women who have to take their babies on the train with them, and leave them at a nursery near their workplace, before returning at night. Do you suppose those women should not ride at peak times too?

If so I suggest you try wearing a suit, and a 15kg baby in a carrier, along with your briefcase and the babies hoikuen bag (which on mondays and fridays is usually stuffed full) and ride in a hot, sweaty train. Then you try to get to work looking presentable. THEN you will see why women need baby cars.

3 ( +12 / -9 )

@Frungy

Yes, I did conflate two issues, because the article conflated two (or more issues)....but going back to the real issue of baby buggies on trains, as I mentioned, there is a time for it. Peak hours, when you can barely stand let alone push a baby buggie on board, is NOT a good time for it. I don't how many times I have seen woman board extremely packed trains with strollers expecting people to part a path for her as is she was Moses and we were the Red sea. This is REALLY inconsiderate to everyone on the train, and also goes towards poor mannerism. I also get there are situations when people have to be on the trains during peak hours. Simply be considerate and fold it up. Its not a big deal and it shows good mannerism as well as opens up space for others to stand comfortably.

-6 ( +10 / -16 )

Baby strollers, maybe.

Some of them are more like RVs or Humvees.

7 ( +12 / -5 )

There is an easier solution to all of this, instead of dashing to work just leave home a bit early. Then if if one does come across baby cars they have enough time to hop on the next train.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

Any number of times I've seen people dashing to hop on the train and nearly collide with a pram. I'm sorry to have to put it like this, but I'd like to see these mothers give more consideration to preventing accidents from happening

Haven't these dicks seen the signs about not rushing to get on the train before the doors close? The fault here lies entirely with those people.

Yet another problem appears to be that imported prams, which make up about 20% of the market in Japan, tend to be bulkier than domestic models, designed as they were for being pushed over European streets with cobblestones

Of course! It's these blasted foreign prams that are the problem, coming over here and taking up our space. Time to erect another non-tariff barrier. Only prams which conform to the Japan Pram Association standards will be allowed on trains, i.e. no foreign prams whatsoever.

7 ( +13 / -6 )

The focus should be on JR adding more cars. Cheap jerks

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Mothers with children should absolutely get priority. Things would be so much easier if the line of zombie salarimen would open their eyes and see the stroller and let the mother board first.

Secondly, the train in Tokyo would be so much better if the mindless zombies would not treat the crowded train car as a sidewalk to walk through bumping (sometimes violently) everyone in their way so they can get out their favored door.

0 ( +10 / -10 )

@Reckless

Without these "mindless zombies", there would be no children. Have a bit of respect for the people in the workforce and who have to provide for their families.

0 ( +14 / -14 )

@Mirai Hayashi: "Without these "mindless zombies", there would be no children. Have a bit of respect for the people in the workforce and who have to provide for their families."

Without these mindless zombies Japan would be a nice place to live. Take the morning rush commute one of these days and watch the law of the jungle! Japanese are polite? what a joke,,,

-6 ( +7 / -13 )

@miraihayashi

Some of these mothers using strollers on the train in rush hour NEED to be there - they are going to work and taking the child to the daycare center near the office, for example. Or should anyone with children not work now? Fold up a stroller? Ever tried to do that with a sleeping child on a crowded train? Are you going to ask the person next to you to hold the baby while you do that? And then stand holding the baby AND trying to balance the stroller for the next few stops because no one will offer you a seat?

Women with strollers dont use trains in the rush hour for the fun of it, believe me. They are generally there because they have to be.

15 ( +19 / -4 )

The tone of these articles sometimes suggests that mothers should put themselves in a lower position and be thankful to their surrounding for letting them be there or shameful that their presence is causing pain to others. Yes some mothers do not feel the pressure at all, but a lot of mothers are so afraid of such hostile surroundings that they cannot go out, period.

I do get annoyed at mothers bumping into me from the back with their baby cars while walking or standing in line, but if it was on the train and everybody was in a scrum including the baby car, I don't think it will be any different from people carrying large luggage or a sharp edged business bag.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

@Reckless

I commute every morning, and I know that no one WANTS to be on these overcrowded trains. Its out of necessity. These people go to work so that they can have families, and provide for them, not to make YOUR LIFE worse. Again, without the hard working people who put up with this BS every morning, people won't even have the luxury to argue whether strollers should be allowed or not because there would be no society. Have a little respect!

0 ( +10 / -10 )

They should be doing more to help the moms with this rather than complain about it... all the old guys sleeping in the silver seats... pointless.

Some moms however, have a 3 or 4 year old in a stroller when they should be walking by that time. That or when a group of moms get on the train and just talk when their kids are screaming their heads off. I know kids can get out of control, as do my sons, but it is the parents responsibility to try to calm them down.

About he strollers from overseas... deal with it. So much more convenient than a dinky little stroller that has no elbow room for the kid. If that lil tot isn't comfortable, they scream and cry.

Stuff like this really shows how difficult it is to raise and have kids in Japan. Not to mention, people complaining about how loud the daycare centers are... ya... kids are loud cause they are having fun, let them!

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Kids on trains are like kids on planes - unwelcome. Nuff said.

-9 ( +8 / -17 )

@NathalieB

I have a kid and I have been in situations where I had to take a crowded train with her. You make it sound like folding up a stroller is this huge chore when it really isn't. Most strollers are geared so that they can folded really quickly and often times with one hand. You don't do it as you board the train; you do it on the platform before the train arrives. Takes about 3 or 4 seconds tops, and the kid doesn't have to be awake. Depending on the size of the stroller, you free up enough space for 3 or 4 more people to board the train, and you don't have the whole car hating you. It might be a pain in the rump to take the couple of seconds to fold up the stroller, and yes its slightly harder than just strolling on and displacing the people around you, but its considerate, its good manners, and it doesn't make you look like a buttwipe.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

let's just call a spade, a spade. peanut gallery brethren above hate kids, Tokyo hates kids, kids are not welcome in this country and seen as a burden. slow extinction prevail. Nuff said.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

You make it sound like folding up a stroller is this huge chore when it really isn't

It isn't the folding up of the stroller that's the problem. It's holding onto folded-up stroller, child (possibly sleeping, possibly multiple), baby bag and shopping/work bag while at the same time holding onto the strap so that the whole thing doesn't topple over when the train swerves, rattles or comes to a sharp stop.

11 ( +17 / -6 )

As I said, you shouldn't be struggling to board an overcrowded train while trying to fold a stroller. You should be doing this BEFORE the train even arrives. And if you don't have a stroller that folds up easily, then you made a poor choice in strollers for your needs. Ours did fold up easily, and it was a dream. No struggling what-so-ever, and never had the need to solicit help from strangers, or an expectation that they should help me.

The term "rush hour" is what it implies; people trying to get from point A to B in a hurry. If someone is nice enough to stop and help, well then great! But don't expect to happen everyday...that's not the way society works.

-2 ( +8 / -10 )

that's not the way society works.

It is the way it should work.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Cleo, exactly. when one goes out with children, especially infants, a fair amount of stuff is required as well. Not luxuries, essentials for the care of children. Most of this goes in the baby car which is then hard to fold, much less carry when you have to hold the kid(s) while standing as well.

For a country that thinks that women are selfish for not having more kids, The country sure does not make it easy to commute with them. And I don't want to hear complaining from the elderly women about how hard they had it. First, they almost never had to work and raise the kids at the same time. Second, "that's the way we did it." is a stupid excuse.

Bottom line, the country needs more kids. To get more kids, we need to make in easier for mothers (and some house dads like me) to get around with said kids. When they get on the train, think of who is going to pay at least part of your retirement pension and politely get out of the way.

13 ( +17 / -4 )

Graham DeShazo you are the model voice of reason! Please run for president of this country and set things straight. You have my vote.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

I dunno. Some strollers literally are the size of aircraft carriers all for one little baby. In rush hour thats expecting a lot, in terms of common sense, logistics and the number of people who have to shift for one infant. Better designed baby carriers would go a long way to easing the stress for every one.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Seems like everyone wants a rule for everything these days as a way to solve all problems when all that's really needed is a little acknowledgement of the space around you and good manners from both parties. A little "gomenasai" from the mother as she manoeuvres the buggy does wonders, as does a "sumimasen" from the passenger who has step round it.

It's called human interaction. We used to do it a lot in the old days.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Graham

I agree with you...but only 50%. You can't assume that these elderly women didn't work. Many of them DID work, and not at cushy desk jobs. Many worked at textile factories,or in food serives, or out in the fields for several hours day in the hot sun, often times with their kids strapped to their backs. I know, because my mother in law was one of them. Yes, these are different times, and I am not saying its not any easier or harder or that we should go back to carrying kids on our backs while working in the rice fields, but these strollers make life a hell of a lot more convenient, so you have to give some prudence to what these older women are saying.

As for the commute. Yeah it sucks. But that's not going to ever change. Trains have always been overcrowded in Japan and it always will be (or until the population declines). Even if we can somehow add more train cars or magically make these train bigger or wider, its not going to solve anything. This is the way the infrastructure was built and we need to adapt to it. And there are PLENTY of technologies available to allow women with children to travel on commuter trains without getting the evil eye from other commuters.

It is the way it should work

Well, sometimes what "should be", isn't, so you shouldn't have an unreasonable expectation that things should go your way just because you want it to.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

so many -ve comments for one who can't even walk/stand properly and is trying to go daycare (their workplace). OR may be just jealous because the little one got a special seat?

2 ( +6 / -4 )

I wish those 'baby cars' were smaller.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Some strollers literally are the size of aircraft carriers

Not literally...LOL, but I hear ya.

tonttu2012

Many of these women don't choose their products carefully. The buy what's "cute", fashionable, or what their friends are using, but fail to choose what is functional or right for their lifestyles. If you aren't ever going to use the commuter train, then fine, but a stroller the size of a city block if you like, otherwise consider something that is easier to use during rush hour.

@Hatsoff

A little "gomenasai" from the mother as she manoeuvres the buggy does wonders, as does a "sumimasen" from the passenger who has step round it.

Great comment! And I do think this is a big part of the problem too. Many of the women EXPECT you get out of their way or help them, and never as much as say "excuse me" or "thank you". I agree that showing appreciation does go a very long way.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Smaller and lighter is every parent's wish but the problem is stuffs goes along with kids (diapers, wipers, 2-3 sets of cloths, milk, hot water etc) PLUS your laptop, bags etc etc... You have only two choices 1. take a smaller stroller and carry everything in bag(s). 2. Take a stroller with extra pockets and walk free ;)

1 ( +5 / -4 )

"A lot of women push those things like them having a baby is the most important thing in the world and everyone else should get out of their way immediately. I can't remember how many times I've been almost run over or hit on the leg by one."

I,m a guy but I will side with the mothers on this one - its pretty easy to understand that their baby is the most important thing to them and I,m sure they don,t enjoy taking their infants onto the sardine packed Tokyo trains. I can imagine most of them fret about not having their kid knocked down or hit in a head by some salarymans briefcase or a pushy obasans shopping bags. I dont get whinging individuals like yourself who whines about "almost being run over or hit on the leg by one ". Stop being such a self centred tool and grow up.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

@Mirai Hayashi

I think there is an easy fix for this and it should have been implemented a long time ago, and that is to charge more for riding during peak hours. This will discourage non-commuters from boarding trains during really crowded hours. Women with children, seniors, disabled, etc, really should use the train during non-peak hours when there are less people riding,

Are you serious!? So you honestly think that the disabled have no place on the train during rush hour? You assume that they cannot have a job?

Utterly disgraceful comment.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Whinging like his leg is the most important thing in the world?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Simply be considerate and fold it up. Its not a big deal and it shows good mannerism as well as opens up space for others to stand comfortably.

In order to do this, you have to remove bags from the handle, pick up the baby and fold the stroller all at the same time. There are many factors that you do not look at.

All babies are different. Some babies don't like being held in a sling. What is most important is the baby is comfortable because trust me, people would be much more irritated by a screaming baby than a baby taking up space.

Not all strollers are easy to fold up even the expensive ones. You sometimes have to reach down do fold it and this could be hard when holding a baby and diaper/necessity bags.

Why should mothers with babies be forbidden to take a train if they have a doctor appointment across town or even nursery school across town? Everyone is equal. A baby's well-being is just as important as a salaryman's.
4 ( +9 / -5 )

@In_japan

take a smaller stroller and carry everything in bag(s). 2. Take a stroller with extra pockets and walk free ;)

There are tons of stroller models out there. Some can do just about anything including power folding and unfolding, charge you iPhone, and let you know your baby's body temperature....Its just a matter of looking and finding the right one

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRAIA74u-GM

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

@Hayashi There are tons of stroller models out there...

I know, there are many. Some can even fly and you can control them with your iphone.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Mirai,

That stroller costs 128,000 yen. I would think that is way too extravagant to be within the budget of most families. Courtesy and understanding are free.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

It goes both ways. Moms deserve space for their buggy and toddlers, they have one of the hardest jobs in life, however I agree a little bit with some people saying that some mothers just drive their buggy into someones legs because they think having a child is daiyuusen. A little more courtesy from both sides would be nice.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This isn't a newspaper article, it is a rant from a childless misanthrope.

Where does it say the writer is childless?

Do they ask for wheelchair bound to fold up their chair? Don't folks in wheelchairs purchase a ticket? As far as I know, kids under a certain age ride for free - baby car or no baby car. If someone has bought a ticket and someone else hasn't and is getting a free ride, shouldn't the ticket purchaser get more space?

I'm pretty sure it's not OK for able-bodied childless salarymen to sit in the courtesy seats and pretend to be asleep but trains are full of selfish a-holes doing exactly that. There is no law about courtesy seats. They are courtesy seats - they don't cost more and it isn't illegal for anyone to sit in them. However, those with manners usually don't. That being said, why on earth should an old person in hiking gear be given one of these seats when a salaryman has ust worked 15 hours and needs to sit down?

Mothers with children should absolutely get priority. Why?

The issue here is people and their manners. Yes, some salary men are jerks and push on and off the train but I've also seen mothers with SUV stollers push folks out of the way and think that because they have a child, the sea must part for them. If everyone thought a little bit more about others, these kind of rants wouldn't happen.

That being said, I don't believe rush hour is a good time for babies and small kids to be on the trains/subways. However, some have to take them for various reasons. These are the folks I think who are rather well behaved because they are used to the commute. It's the "day trippers, my child have a right to be here" folks that screw it up for the rest of the parents who are sensible. I can't count how many times I have seen daycares/kindy schools get on during rush hour and screw it up for folks. Insane. That being said, I can't count how many times I have been oushed, knocked, shoved by an OL, salaryman or students. Some people behave like animals and have no consideration.

I'm not sure why folks are disagreeing with higher fees for rush hours. Many countries do this. Add in that companies here pay for travel, why not? Sounds great.

-2 ( +10 / -12 )

Well, sometimes what "should be", isn't, so you shouldn't have an unreasonable expectation that things should go your way just because you want it to.

Well, you and I want to live in two different societies, it appears. I think it is perfectly reasonable to expect that I should be kind and considerate to others and I think it is also perfectly reasonable that I expect others to do the same. I would hope that that is not just 'my way' but most people's way of behaving. If it isn't, it should change. Helping the weakest among us should be the halmark of a good society. Letting them struggle, should not. This goes for men or women negotiating trains with strollers.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Gotta say, I'm glad I live in the inaka where I don't have to deal with things like this.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Helping the weakest among us should be the halmark of a good society. Letting them struggle, should not. This goes for men or women negotiating trains with strollers.

How does having a stoller or a child make someone weak?? I'm all for helping those in need but the idea that mothers with kids are weaker bothers me. They gave birth. If anything, they're the strongest of the bunch here!

0 ( +7 / -7 )

As a foreign mum who was a resident in Japan permanently until very recently, I can tell you this. If you are anything over 160cm, dont even try using a Japanese brand stroller. It is too low and kills your back. I suspect that is the reason the foreign strollers are popular at the moment - they are higher and easier to push.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

That stroller costs 128,000 yen

I didn't say to go out and buy that particular model. My point is that there are models for every need, if you look for them.

I think it is perfectly reasonable to expect that I should be kind and considerate to others and I think it is also perfectly reasonable that I expect others to do the same.

There is a difference in expecting common courtesy (i.e. thank you's and pleases) from people, and expecting complete strangers to drop whatever they're doing during their commute and help you and your child aboard a crowded train everyday. You are asking way too much from society if you expect personal valet service everyday. If you can't be self sufficient, and get through your day without the help of complete strangers, then you really need to reconsider your lifestyle.

So you honestly think that the disabled have no place on the train during rush hour? You assume that they cannot have a job?

You're putting words in my mouth. Of course they can work. What I am saying is that they should avoid riding extremely overcrowded trains if they can. A lot of companies offer flex schedules so that people can avoid rush hour traffic, and disabled people should take advantage of that if it is offered. And even it isn't offered, most companies will allow special needs people to have flexible schedules. I know a lot of people who do this and its not a problem for them.

hy should mothers with babies be forbidden to take a train if they have a doctor appointment across town or even nursery school across town? Everyone is equal. A baby's well-being is just as important as a salaryman's.

No where does it say that mothers are "forbidden" to ride trains with kids. The people in the article just want the mothers to be more courteous to other travelers and fold up their strollers before getting on. I am being a bit more reasonable by suggesting that they choose a non-peak time if they can't be bothered to do that....I completely don't understand why that is such a hard thing to do.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Looks like you get the same miserable old gits wherever you go on this planet.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Use of 'hog' in the title is not only inflammatory but blatantly untrue. The Ministry surely never gave permission to 'hog' anything.

Anyway the article has succeeded admirably in getting everyone here to drop their reserve and go for each others' throats, over what is after all the difference between long-suffering, well-mannered mothers and pushy, selfish ones.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

As a foreign mum who was a resident in Japan permanently until very recently, I can tell you this. If you are anything over 160cm,

NOT TRUE AT ALL. You are generalizing and stereotyping that all Japanese women are under 160cm with no real facts. I am well over 160cm and my stroller totally worked for me. And there are plenty of Japanese women who are over 160cm who buy and use Japanese made strollers every day. And as I pointed out several times now, there are several types of strollers to suit all needs. You just have to look.

@TMairie

Hey...we finally agree on something! Hell must be freezing over.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Indeed! I just think bad manners and entitlement issues are a problem regardless of who the person is - mom, student, salaryman... If people thought about others a little more, the world would be nicer.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

didn't say to go out and buy that particular model. My point is that there are models for every need, if you look for them.

You certainly seemed to be using it as an example of a solution and I am just telling you that that solution is much too expensive and unrealistic. Moving out of the way or helping is much more realistic.

There is a difference in expecting common courtesy (i.e. thank you's and pleases) from people, and expecting complete strangers to drop whatever they're doing during their commute and help you and your child aboard a crowded train everyday.

I never suggested people have to 'drop whatever they are doing'. I am suggesting they should stop complaining and start helping make things better.

You are asking way too much from society if you expect personal valet service everyday.

I don't believe that is what this discussion is about. It is about letting people use strollers on trains. If they do not have to fold everything up and carry it, it certainly means they need less help, not more.

If you can't be self sufficient, and get through your day without the help of complete strangers, then you really need to reconsider your lifestyle.

Who is saying anything of the sort? I am just suggesting that helping people is better than whining about them.

The people in the article just want the mothers to be more courteous to other travelers and fold up their strollers before getting on. I

People are trying to explain to you that this is not always an option. Not folding is generally easier than folding and carrying everything. Even if a person can't help or does not want to help another human being, one would think that they could at least size up the situation and understand how difficult it is to bring a small child/baby with a stroller on a train. You don't even need to have a child to be able to figure that out.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

NOT TRUE AT ALL. You are generalizing and stereotyping that all Japanese women are under 160cm with no real facts. I am well over 160cm and my stroller totally worked for me. And there are plenty of Japanese women who are over 160cm who buy and use Japanese made strollers every day. And as I pointed out several times now, there are several types of strollers to suit all needs. You just have to look.

Now who is putting words in other peoples mouths? Where did I say ANYTHING about all Japanese women being under 160cm?

However just for your Information - the average height of a Japanese women is 158cm. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_height

And as a result the strollers will be designed for this height range, give or take 3cm either way. If you are an average white american female (whose height is 164.8 cm) this is going to be too short for you. You are going to be hunching all day. If I was in Japan, and had the choice of buying a tall, easy to manouvre, modern city stroller which didnt collapse very easily, or a crappy little umbrella stroller which would bump the kid around, be too short for me, give me backache, but would fold easily ... I know which I would pick.

YES there are plenty of Japanese women who are taller than this and do use Japanese strollers everyday (and probably end up moaning about their "koshi" being "ittai" all day after) but as a taller women it is usually just easier to buy a western type stroller. They are taller as standard. Why do you care anyways though? An unfolded stroller is an unfolded stroller, whatever the brand.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Public transport people, in Japan its often the only form of transport people have.. get over yourselves.

It would be better to avoid rush hours of course but that isn't always possible.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I hope this wasn't an English teacher: "Some strollers literally are the size of aircraft carriers" If they were literally the size of an aircraft carrier, they wouldn't fit inside the city, much less on a train.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Here's the problem: have people seen the size of baby cars (or baby buggies as they're known in the USA) nowadays? I'm surprised that the JR Group of companies and the private railroads didn't come to an agreement on the maximum size of a baby car to minimize overcrowding issues, especially on the extremely crowded JR East Chuo Line (Rapid) and Saikyo Line in the Tokyo area.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

low strollers? pfft having raised two kids and pushed 4 different Japanese strollers and none of them were too low and I'm over 6ft tall. You must have short arms.

I never took my kids on the train in strollers when it was busy, luckily dont live in the big city, so have to luxury of a car and took non rush hour trains when the rare occasion came up when rail travel was necessary.

Compact strollers are the most courteous and considerate stroller to use in the city. They take up less space - on trains, on the street, in convenience store aisles etc.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Mirai, you seem totally out of touch with reality. First of all, not everyone has a choice of what time of day they can ride a train. In Tokyo, trains are the only form of transport most people have. Parents with babies in strollers who have strict budgets cannot afford to take taxies, or stay in hotels when they need to travel with their infants for whatever reason. Also, people do not always have a choice of a nice, cushy workplace with flex hours and paid child care. No way. And this sour attitude towards women and children isn't even always during rush hour. It is during any other time of the days and on weekends. I take the Tozai subway line and can tell you any time of the day that line is packed...people are rude to my kids for even making the slightest noise or turning around in their seats to look out the window. My two year old is too big for a carrier or to be held, cannot stand up for long periods of time, especially on a wiggling jiggling train, and needs to be in a stroller. There is no way people would offer a seat to us, and we usually have extra stuff to carry when traveling. My husband is NEVER around and I have absolutely no friends or family willing to help out with anything because they live a 2 hour train ride away...and no apparently all the rude people think it is unacceptable for my children to be on THEIR train. This is the reality almost every mother in the damn city faces. If this country wants women to continue reproducing to save this society from running out of human beings to replace the ones who are dying of old age, you had better learn to have a better attitude towards children, Mothers and families WHO happen to be doing their JOB which is hard and difficult enough as it is without being ridiculed and snooted at everytime we happen to get in "someone's way".

0 ( +6 / -6 )

If they want to ride in rush hour - then buy a family car for god's sake. No sane parent should take their kids on the train around that time. No way in the world.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

tmarieApr. 24, 2014 - 02:58PM JST Do they ask for wheelchair bound to fold up their chair? Don't folks in wheelchairs purchase a ticket? As far as I know, kids under a certain age ride for free - baby car or no baby car. If someone has bought a ticket and someone else hasn't and is getting a free ride, shouldn't the ticket purchaser get more space?

Because they're cuter than you. Get over it. Jealousy won't get you anywhere.

There is no law about courtesy seats. They are courtesy seats - they don't cost more and it isn't illegal for anyone to sit in them. However, those with manners usually don't. That being said, why on earth should an old person in hiking gear be given one of these seats when a salaryman has ust worked 15 hours and needs to sit down?

There are no laws about a lot of things, because they're part of being bought up in civilised society. Clearly some people were bought up by wolves though (no disrespect intended to wolves, some of my best friends are at least 20% wolf judging by their facial hair). The reason the old guy gets the seat (if he wants it) is because he's old, has worked for the benefit of society for 40 or more years and has earned it... oh, and he also has a much higher chance of keeling over dead suddenly, which would really obstruct people trying to get to work if he happened to be standing by the doors, but wouldn't be such a problem if he's in a courtesy chair (which you'll notice is well away from the doors). Sheesh, do people need everything spelled out for them?

Mothers with children should absolutely get priority. Why?

Babies. Cute. End of story. If you don't find babies cute then I suggest you return to the mothership and file a complaint because clearly you missed part of the briefing on earth culture.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Ladies should leave the strollers at home when taking a train during rush hour and pack their babies. They would be given a seat much quicker then by polite passengers. Or else take the trains when fewer passengers ride them.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Good Lord, who says it's only the ladies? My wife and I both worked, and I was the one who took our daughter to the day care on my way to work (my wife would pick her up on her way home.) It was a struggle getting on the train every morning, and that was with every nearby passenger being considerate almost every time. I don't know what it would have been like otherwise if I'd had to deal with the author of this "article," or some other like-minded people. Trying to get onto a train during the humidity of rainy season with my daughter riding in her stroller while carrying a bag full of her clothes and day care supplies, my own work bag, an umbrella, and my suit jacket folded on top of the stroller to keep me from sweating even more was hard, but I did it. But there's no way I, or any other parent in a similar situation, deserve to be labeled a "hog." I'm not moving a vending machine onto a rush hour train -- I'm taking my child, who is traveling the way she is because she needs to. And I'm traveling when I am, and going where I am, because I have to. Anyone who would have a problem with any of that can go

3 ( +5 / -2 )

" Interestingly, among the biggest critics of the new guidelines are middle-aged and elderly women. "

No surprise that the obatarians complain... that is what they do best.

In this case, we should ignore them and be glad that some women still have kids.... Japans birth rate is catastrophically low already.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Exactly Newsman, some comments are insane. like they own the train. @ Jack Stern, I am annoyed by your coughing so please cough at your home.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

If they want to ride in rush hour - then buy a family car for god's sake. No sane parent should take their kids on the train around that time. No way in the world.

And park where once they get to the office? And for how much per day? Beth Matsuda has it absolutely right - some people are completely out of touch with reality.

Women are damned if they do and damned if they dont in this city - you must have more babies. But if you dont work you are a lazy bon-bon eater. But even though you should work, dont even think about taking your baby on the train. Sheesh! No wonder so many J women are childless with this kind of crap to put up with!

1 ( +4 / -3 )

@sighclops

If they want to ride in rush hour - then buy a family car for god's sake. No sane parent should take their kids on the train around that time. No way in the world.

A family car ? What a great idea ! I guess you're sure you're going to have a "free-of-charge" parking space near your workplace, otherwise, I have a feeling the train may be cheaper (not to mention the price of gasoline these days !) I don't believe many companies pay for car-fuel... They DO, however, pay for a "teiki" to go to work...

It seems there are at least a couple of misanthropists on this thread...

1 ( +3 / -2 )

sighclops-

If they want to ride in rush hour - then buy a family car for god's sake. No sane parent should take their kids on the train around that time. No way in the world.

on top of what Fighting Viking said -... have you thought about the rush hour traffic in the city? Many people live pretty far from where they work. i'm sure people who live in the small city and work in the same town/city outside of the mega city Tokyo/Osaka/Fukuoka are driving to daycare/work - I do.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

If you are anything over 160cm, dont even try using a Japanese brand stroller. It is too low and kills your back.

I am male and 176cm tall. I've never had any problems pushing my "combi" stroller.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

this just seems like a petty issue. Asking parents fold baby buggies require more space and time then asking them to just move. A smarter country would just encourage other cities to be more attractive so that not everyone and everything must happen in the Tokyo Metropolitan Area.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Tokyo is too crowded for commuting of any sort.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Can bicycles be taken on the trains?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Last autumn I boarded a train with the doors closing behind me ... and in the rush to get on I tripped over a baby carriage. I successfully grabbed poles, hand grips and what not around me to keep from falling on the baby. Nobody was hurt ... but I did seem to pop a cranking hip joint back into proper position ... and thus no pain there for weeks after that.

The whole incident didn't bother me and thankfully the baby only got to see a clumsy foreigner doing a weird dance above him/her. As for having baby carriages, strollers or whatever on trains, I am for it 100%. I enjoy looking at cute babies while riding to and fro. And looking into the future, when these babies grow up and start working, hopefully they will be putting money into my social security paycheck.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Ministry says it's OK for 'baby cars' to hog space on public transport

Just another reason to continue taking taxis or going reserved/green wherever I travel via train.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Because they're cuter than you. Get over it. Jealousy won't get you anywhere.

Why the nastiest? I'm just pointing out how people about the matter. People who ride for free are not always welcome by those who pay. Not saying I agree with it.

because they're part of being bought up in civilised society

Have you been on a train here recently?

Babies. Cute. End of story. If you don't find babies cute then I suggest you return to the mothership and file a complaint because clearly you missed part of the briefing on earth culture. Not all. End of story. Not everyone likes kids, not everyone has to. Just like not everyone likes dogs. The nastiness on your post is rather shocking to be honest. Perhaps you could return to the mothership and look in the mirror. The way you speak to people at times says a lot.

As I said, if people thought a little about themselves and more about others...

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

tmarieApr. 25, 2014 - 06:56PM JST Babies. Cute. End of story. If you don't find babies cute then I suggest you return to the mothership and file a complaint because clearly you missed part of the briefing on earth culture. Not all. End of story. Not everyone likes kids, not everyone has to. Just like not everyone likes dogs. The nastiness on your post is rather shocking to be honest. Perhaps you could return to the mothership and look in the mirror. The way you speak to people at times says a lot.

You may want them to add a side-order of humor to that briefing, since apparently you missed that part as well.

As I said, if people thought a little about themselves and more about others...

They'd realise that someone was joking and actually enjoy life for a second?

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

tmarieApr. 25, 2014 - 06:56PM JST Why the nastiest? I'm just pointing out how people about the matter. People who ride for free are not always welcome by those who pay. Not saying I agree with it.

The consumer can do whatever he/she wishes to do with their money. I for one would rather not be forced to sit and listen to little tiny (while cute) but annoying little ones. I will spend my money where I like. And in my world having to be crunched into the sardine section is not an option.

tmarieApr. 25, 2014 - 06:56PM JST Babies. Cute. End of story.

Yes, they are cute, as long as you don't have to feed them, clothe them or change their soiled shorts. Don't have any children and have never wanted any.

So, if my money can buy me time to rest away from them I am very happy to use it!

My sister's, brother's and in-law's kids will get my money when I turn to dust, but for now it's mine. And since it is mine I will have fun and avoid the loads annoying little ones ruining my trips to who knows where.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

This is why we drive the car.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

You may want them to add a side-order of humor to that briefing, since apparently you missed that part as well.

Or perhaps you aren't near as funny as you think you are? I think this is the second or third time I've seen you suggest to people that they get a sense of humor - which seems to mean your humour. Hint, you aren't all that funny if you have to keep telling people they don't have a sense of humour.

Joe, you may want to reread the posts. I wasn't the one that suggested "Babies. Cute..." as frankly, I agree with you. Hence my comments.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Hog the train? Wow thanks for obvious subjective opinion. I hope you never have kids. You will find they hog a lot of your life.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Won't be an issue in 30 years time, since there will be virtually no babies in Japan by then, other than the big ones.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

God I love this thread. :-)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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