Japan is one of the safest countries in the world, so it is no surprise to hear that the majority of the Japanese population are law-abiding citizens. How law-abiding are the Japanese? We could pull up some statistics and numbers for you, but we believe that you internet-savvy Rocketeers are more than capable of finding such information online. Here’s a little incident that may be slightly unusual, but just goes to show how serious some Japanese are when it comes to keeping the law.

A driver in Oita Prefecture surrendered herself to the police because she beat the yellow (or amber, if you live in the UK) light at a traffic junction. It wasn’t even a red light. More details after the break!

Traffic regulations may differ slightly from country to country, but the general understanding that green means “go”, red means “stop”, applies more or less everywhere. In places where the yellow (or amber) light is used, it usually signifies that the traffic light will soon turn red and drivers should slow down and stop at the intersection if you think you can’t make it across in time.

Recently, a woman thought to be in her forties to fifties approached the Oita Prefectural Police at their Chuo Branch, saying, “I have regrettably violated the traffic regulations so please issue me a ticket.” The station staff were baffled by her request since they had never met a driver who turned themselves in requesting for a traffic ticket.

After questioning her for details, it turned out that the woman had been on the road and as she was driving across a traffic intersection, she looked up at the traffic light and realized that it had just turned yellow, but she proceeded to drive straight past it. Feeling guilty for not stepping on the brakes then, she immediately turned herself in to the police thinking that she had broken the law. The staff explained that “as long as you entered the intersection while the traffic light was still green, it’s not an offence”.


The police commented that, “if only everyone could drive with such caution, there would be no accidents.” However, some netizens had different views on the matter:

“Having a high level of awareness is great, but it would had been more dangerous if she had abruptly braked there. Don’t beautify the incident.”
“She’s too serious.”
“She’s so strict with herself, I’m more concerned if she’s psychologically sound.”
“Even if what she beat was a red light, if there wasn’t photographic evidence they wouldn’t be able to penalize her.”
“I wouldn’t want to drive behind her…Then again, there are so many drivers in Tokyo who stop their cars anywhere and everywhere, and taxi drivers who accelerate at the yellow light, sometimes even driving straight through a red light, I wish they would learn from her attitude of following the regulations…”

While I think that the woman’s honesty is certainly commendable, I don’t have a driving license, so I wouldn’t be in the best position to comment on who is in the right or wrong. What do you think, drivers? Enlighten us non-drivers on the right driving etiquette, just in case we might feel inspired to pick up driving someday!

Source: Golden Times
Images: Mini Jikenbo, The Zoom