Should healthy young men sit in priority seats on Japanese trains for the elderly and pregnant women?

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The obvious answer seems to be “No”, but our Japanese-speaking reporter has a unique alternative perspective.

In the corners of Japanese form cars, you will find what are commonly called “Priority seats”, what signs and announcements remind passengers reserved for seniors, pregnant women, people with physical disabilities or people traveling with young children. People outside of these demographics are encouraged to give up seats if someone who needs them most shows up, but many seats are not designated to choose instead not to sit at all.

We were therefore a little surprised to learn that PK Sanjun, one of our Japanese-speaking male reporters from RocketNews24, recently started heading to priority seats and dropping down on a by taking the train. While PK can sometimes make us think he might not be quite right he is in good physical health, so why has he made a habit of taking one of the seats that is not are not designed for him?

The answer is actually quite complicated. As we mentioned above, people outside the priority seating target groups can still sit there if there is plenty of seating for everyone. But as the train fills up, some of them fail to give up their seats, leaving the people the priority seats are supposed to be reserved to stand on their exhausted feet.

Over the past few years, a number of women who are related and acquainted with PK have become pregnant and have had babies. But while becoming pregnant should have meant at least a few months’ reprieve without having to get on the train, they told PK that rarely has someone given up their place for them, even if their pregnancy was evident by the size of their belly and / or they placed pregnant women’s straps on their bags.

â–¼ “There is a baby in my womb. “

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When someone made give them a seat, the majority of the nice strangers were other women who had recently had a baby and could relate to the exhaustion that often comes with uplifting another life inside of yourself. On the opposite side of the spectrum, a few friends of PK said they even had uncooperative priority seat squatters calling them stranded for acting like they deserved a seat just because they were pregnant.

PK couldn’t believe that some people would be so reckless, especially when their actions contrasted so strongly with his. “I always give way to pregnant women,” he told his acquaintances, who then told him “People like you should sit in the priority seats, to keep them safe for the people who really need them. “

Since then, PK has made a point of securing a priority seat whenever a seat is available and then abandoning it for the sake of the people who really need it once they get on the train. “I have noticed that a lot of people don’t need a priority seat, but still sit in a seat, taking a nap or playing with their smartphone, and therefore they don’t notice when someone is who the seat is really supposed to be standing right next to them.

While PK’s protective chivalry show is admirable in itself, we feel obligated to also point out some potential pitfalls in this plan. First of all, some people who have priority seats reserved may be difficult to identify by appearance alone, such as women in early pregnancy or young people treating lower body injuries. If these people get on the train and find that all of the priority seats are already full, they may decide to take their chances while waiting for one of the more general purpose seats to open and not even make it to the area. priority seats. , denying your ability to offer them seat in the first place.

There is also a bit of a gray area regarding what exactly constitutes membership in one of the priority seat target groups. Are you a senior at 53? Is having a sprained half-healed ankle considered a physical disability? Is your four-year-old so “young child” that you need a special seat? It is conceivable that people in such borderline situations might assume that anyone already seated in the priority seat needs it even more than they do, and thus stay away from the priority seats so as not to make sure that their occupants feel embarrassed or pressured to abandon them.

In other words, there is no ready-made answer as to whether or not able-bodied and non-pregnant young people should sit in the priority seats. What’s an easy conclusion to draw, however, is that it’s always nice to be aware of your fellow travelers and give up your seat, whether or not it’s a priority, to those in need.

Images © RocketNews24

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