SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT there is no other choice
I just returned from Japan, and like every other visitor, I was struck by how clean the place is.
To be sure, there are lots of spotless countries and cities around. Singapore is known for its clinical cleanliness, as we know. Hong Kong’s inner city is sparklingly polished. But what is impressive above and beyond the simple lack of litterbugs in Japan – and here I mean mainly Tokyo and Kyoto – is the relative absence of cleaners.
What this means is that individual Japanese don’t litter, not because Big Brother is watching like in Singapore or Hong Kong. No doubt there is social pressure on them to avoid littering; but that pressure is largely internalised. This is Confucianism functioning at its best.
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