JAPAN: Illegalization of Old Electronics (that includes your favorite enlargers!)

Discussion in 'Product Availability' started by firecracker, Mar 3, 2006.

  1. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    I don't know how many APUGers in Japan are actually currently using or thinking of building darkrooms in the near future, but here's something they need to know.

    http://mdn.mainichi-msn.co.jp/national/news/20060301p2a00m0na020000c.html

    In Japan, from the next month, there's a new law to be validated to ban the sales and resales of all the old electronical equipment (with a few exceptions such as used computers) that is older than 5-10 years old.

    And without obtaining new PSE-safe stickers by going through inspections at their own cost, the sellers will be penalized and fined as much as a million yen if they regualrly do businesses with their customers.

    Although this law doesn't apply to the activities by non-professionals like many of us doing online auctions, it will perhaps affect and lower the volume of the old equipment in the used market significantly because basically the professionals are being forced to leave the market. That means there'll be less and less of a choice for the people to have with very little professional assistance and/or care.

    If you read Japanese, the address below explains more in details:

    http://antipse.org/index.html

    Anyway I honestly didn't know about this law when it was issued 5 years ago because I was living abroad at that time. But I started to notice it when I was shopping around some used and new darkroom equipment domestically.

    It's too bad there's not been any discussion about it anywhere on the internet until very recently. The Japanese media sucks as always. And thanks to the foreign correspondents who are doing far less-significant stories on Japan for BBC and NYT and completely ignoring this on a regular basis. This is serious.

    While some musicians, both pros and amateurs, are doing their protest, that doesn't seem to do much justice for the people in other professions because they are trying to ease out the potential problems for only themselves. They are not totally going against the execution of this stupid law.

    So I guess we photographers have to unite and do that as well, but for the mass, for everyone. And I'm ready to rock the boat.

    Firecracker
     
  2. Ryuji

    Ryuji Member

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    I understand that the PSE law has its own purpose but it's a defective law with lots of holes. It is perfectly legal to sell the device without the PSE approval if you are not a for-profit business. Also, even if you are a for-profit business, it's legal to rent the device, or give away the device.

    So, is it possible for a used enlarger merchant (if such thing still exists) to remove the lightbulb, socket and the AC cable, and sell the rest, with the understanding that the AC cable, socket and the bulb will be given as a complementary service? It's also easy to replace the AC cable and the socket with the PSE approved ones and sell it, although the business will have to have an approved engineer.

    Anyway, that's a really badly implemented law.
     
  3. pelerin

    pelerin Member

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    I think you should look at uniting with the widest possible community. Musicians, especially guitar players, would be certainly be hit by this. Tube audio fanatics would be another group to align with. Japanese collector and homebuild hobbiests are among the worlds leading enthusiasts for ancient and esoteric audio equipment. This a much higher value market place than used darkroom equipment. I think these people would make natural allies for your cause.
    Celac.
     
  4. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    It's assumed that no professional repair service will deal with your old equipment if yours doesn't have the new safety-approval sticker on it. They cannot even order replacement parts for you, and that's going to be very frustrating.

    Also, things like strobe units are likely going to be wasted if they are not treated properly with this procedure.
     
  5. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    http://www.asahi.com/english/Herald-asahi/TKY200602210407.html

    This is slightly a better article. It says: "Also, 112 of the 450 products, such as sockets and wire cables, require a much stricter version of the PSE safety certification that can only be given by accredited third-party safety inspectors."

    This is ridiculous. Who are the "third-party safety inspectors" other than the ones who have been in the business and able to handle the stuff? I hope to find one of them if I really need help.

    The real problem is that the sellers will have responsibilities that the manufacturers do if they want to keep selling the stuff. It's sort of like asking dental office clerks to actually fix patients' teeth.

    Anyway I'll keep posting as I find more on this.
     
  6. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    True. So some vintage guitar shop owners are worried if their 5k Fender Twin Reverb amps will just sit in their stores for nothing.

    The same thing could happen to Leitz and Durst enlargers that are in that price range or higher.
     
  7. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    I'm assuming the shop(s) in Ginza district in Tokyo will have licensed technicians to do that. I'll be damned if they will start doing the repair services, which I doubt because I heard they have stopped importing foreign enlargers a few years ago.

    The worst part is domestic-brand enlargers that are still usable can be easily ditched by the market and the manufacturers, just like how used cars have been treated in the last couple of decades.
     
  8. Ryuji

    Ryuji Member

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    At least those used cars were exported to Thailand and others for better second life... but I doubt Thailand wants many enlargers!

    I use a Durst Laborator 138, which is a quite old but very nice 5x7 enlarger. Come to think of it, the very first thing I did when I bought it was to replace the cord and the socket. (Though I always unplug the enlarger circuit at the end of each day anyway.) But you know what, I don't even know how old is the wiring in the building (my darkroom is in a very old brick-made professional building complex in Boston).
     
  9. Ryuji

    Ryuji Member

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    I don't know the actual implementation of this, but I assume that they are referring to the components manufactured anew. So you'll buy PSE rated sockets and cords to make your own enlarger circuitry, and that should be ok, hopefully. If the whole cable-socket-system has to be PSE rated again, that is ridiculous, but still manageable.

    I think the real problem is Jobo processors and the like.
     
  10. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    Or even Beseler and Omega units. Forget about the color heads!
     
  11. kswatapug

    kswatapug Advertiser

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    Years ago my Subaru mechanic brought a similar Japanese law to my attention when he pointed out that the engine in my previously-owned wagon was one that had been exported from Japan because it had exceeded 30,000 miles of use. By US standards, 30K miles is just broken in, but by Japanese law, it was time to be replaced. I didn't complain, instead, racked up 300,000 miles on that trusty vehicle before passing it on. So maybe there is a silver lining down the food chain somewhere.
     
  12. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

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    Well, yes, Japan has had very stingent laws as to resale of wrecked and used vehicles, with heavy tarrifs or outright sale ban of vehicles past a certain age/mileage. Why is this significant? The automotive junkies have reaped the benefits of this for year: cheap, barely used engines and equipment. People have made huge businesses out of this - its cheaper to go over to Japan, buy and transport parts and sell them here below what North American parts would cost.
    I suspect that the effect will be similar on the electronics market - there will be many nice things available for next to nothing through eBay, and eventually, still at decent prices, through businesses that will take this and run with it. I think it will probably prove to be a positive for us in North America and perhaps Europe (although I don't know how the EU laws stack up).

    Peter.
     
  13. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    I don't know if it's good or not, but certainly it is conceivable that invalid items will flood out overseas and become widely available, which I think is the point of this new law. It forces the domestic suppliers to pay that cost and give up their properties.

    Some people in Japan however have pointed out this is clearly a violation of the Japanese constitutional law.

    The law will certainly hurt a lot of businesses as well as those who rely on the market, which means everyone in the country. In a bigger picture, the medical equipment in hospitals are perhaps subject to this, and if they need repair, they cannot get fixed if they are older than 5-10 years old. That could be tons of hospital beds that have electrical motors, who knows?

    One more thing: Fuji provides photo equipment to schools, but because it's a corporation/business entity, it will no longer be able to deal with its own products past the inspection date. If schools have to pay for the new ones if the old ones break and cannot get the service, that will eventually hurt the schools, students, and the manufacturers, too.

    I know there are a number of people in this site that support companies like Fuji, and I'm telling you if the Japanese market starts to sink because there'll be less and less people able to afford to buy the products, I have a feeling that your favorite brands will disappear before they will remarket themselves to survive.
     
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  15. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    Speaking of used cars, car inspections are required every 2 years for the cars that are older than 5 years old if I'm not totally mistaken. That costs about 1000 USD just to get a new sticker, which used to be once in every 5 years, I think.

    I received my used Honda from my relatives for free, and can you imagine how much I've been paying just to maintain it run legally in this country? The car has always been a good shape, but I have to take it to a shop so often, and that's just ridiculous.

    In Tokyo, I heard it's even worse. If your car is a vintage type, you cannot pass the inspection because the legislation does not permit the ones that have high exhaust level. Diesel engines are just being eliminated, too.
     
  16. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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  17. Ryuji

    Ryuji Member

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    Firecracker,

    First of all, your use of automobile issue beyond as an additional example of how the Japanese views the safety issue is getting too off topic from your original point of the difficulty anticipated by the used appliance merchants. Your original opinion may lose credibility when viewed by someone who doesn't understand how ridiculous this particular law is.

    I understand what you described all sound ridiculous to you, but I hope you look at them in a different way. I am a Japanese citizen living in the US and there are great many things I found really ridiculous in my 11 years here, but I'm not going to sign in a public website and discuss them. There are already lots of them for both Japan and the US (but those sites for the US are usually written in Japanese or French language, as you guess :smile: and there is a series of books called Xenophobe's Guide to Americans, Japanese, French, British, or whatever nationality. You should check out the Japanese and US editions at least.

    For a lot of social issues, there is no single universally applicable solution. Look at the beef problem, for example. I see the points made from both US and Japan sides, and each of them is saying something that makes total sense among themselves. BUT it's a prime example of how the politicians and voters are deeply ignorant of each other's culture. USDA secretary must have a good advisor because he quickly realized something and changed direction, but lower ranks don't appear to.

    On the automobile issue, I pay $30 to get an inspection sticker for checking a couple of things in 10 minutes every year, in Massachusetts. I know some people in Boston who keep their Ohio (or put any favorite state here) plate because their car wouldn't pass the MA inspection. I think that the US system has some problem. You see the problem? If no, I hope you at least recognize that there are different views on many things you mentioned. I agree with you on the used appliance issue, and somewhat on the somewhat excessive inspection requirement, but I can also see that you are applying your own cultural standard to a different land. I don't think that'll help you.

    I think people are generally happy by banning old cars and diesel cars in Tokyo, although the governer is a very controversial one (and he's getting old---he used to make a lot more sense). You should realize how dense that region is. It's not the same as driving a classic car in New Mexico.
     
  18. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    Ah ha... That might explain why I often see adverts for private imports of used Japanese cars that are already readily available here in the UK - usually the only outward difference is the name badge or shape of a number plate. Of course, the fact that the Japanese sensibly decided to drive on the proper side of the road helps... :wink:

    Cheers, Bob.
     
  19. Ryuji

    Ryuji Member

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    Bob, there are also a lot of recent luxury cars solen by Japanese yakuza groups, then exported to Russian mafia. Some company was found that it sold a beaten up fishing boat to North Korea and the boat was modified and used for some special operation. There are lots of these stories. But at least they found these problems...
     
  20. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    Ryuji-san, about the used cars, that's just one example. Of course it's a little off topic here, but that was just way to expand the discussion if more people would join. I understand what you're saying, and I appreciate for giving me your thoughtful advice and comments here.

    But I originally stated in my first post that this thread for those who are in Japan doing darkroom photography if they're not aware of the changes by the new law. I'm aware that there are at least a few who see this site, and they don't seem to live in the most technologically advanced and accessible areas of the country.

    And I was hoping this topic to ring a bell for everyone who may face the kind of dilemma that I'm going through in a way. It doesn't matter what country it is as long as you're in the photographic community.

    I am, as I wrote earlier thinking of taking this to the point to go on a protest because it seems that it's not working for the majority of the people who are living in Japan. There have been very few articles so far I read, that explains the situation.

    The bottom line is, most importanly this new "badly implmented" law may violate the Japanese constitutional law for the protection of properties, but I'm not a lawyer so I cannot say it 100 percent for sure.

    My main concern is not lose the professionals in the area of photography because there are already enough reasons out there to easily lose them. And I seek the protection of my property as I practice my rights in this country, my native country where I am a citizen of, at least.

    By the way, simple electrical wiring on enlargers can be taught and done by anyone who is not even a DIY expert, but the potential problem seems much deeper than that. That's why I started this thread.
     
  21. Ryuji

    Ryuji Member

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    Did you or anyone do the research on who voted for this stupid bill when it passed the congress 5 years ago?
     
  22. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    There's hardly any literature up to this point as I have said before.

    The following is the government's official site for this law:

    http://www.meti.go.jp/policy/consumer/seian/denan/

    Keep in mind that some of the third-party inspection agencies listed at the bottom of the page are mostly chaired by ex-government officials. Typical scene of "amakudari" I guess.

    Here's another site that more specifics:

    http://law.e-gov.go.jp/htmldata/S37/S37SE324.html

    This one is in English, interestingly showing the map from the transitional period:

    http://www5.cao.go.jp/otodb/english/houseido/hou/lh_03010.html

    I didn't know about this English page, which doesn't get picked up by my Google search (, and I'm not in China!)

    http://www.meti.go.jp/english/information/data/denan_grace050217.html
     
  23. kunihiko

    kunihiko Member

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  24. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    From what I understand, it's easier to go through the list of the items that are NOT going to be affected by the law, such as computers, portable musical players, etc. Unfortunately enlargers made prior to 2001 will be subject to this.

    I'm assuming this is part of the reason why Ginichi stopped importing used Omega and Beseler enlargers besides they had to do some alignment work before selling them in their shop.

    And it's not just the darkroom equipment, but studio equipment, too if you use strobe and/or lighting units and need maintenance for them, you may run into trouble.

    At this point as far as I know, there's no one online who is knowledgeable enough to give specific insturctions to anyone with any particular product. Even the government officials do not clearly say what will exactly happen. The spokesperson from the Ministry of ETI said they are still in adjusting or whatever, but it's a big lie if not out of his total ignorance. They simply don't care.

    Meanwhile, the public opinion is fully not gathered yet, but the polls show that more than 65 percent of the people interviewed recently said they didn't know about it. That includes many shop owners in Akihabara.

    Anyway I don't think everyone will make a smooth transition from 1st of April, we'll have keep informing people at least.

    There are petition forms going around online, but they are basically for the Japanese people only. If they start to go in a bigger circle, I will have the link here.
     
  25. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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  26. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

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    Perhaps my English is failing me, but upon reading and re-reading all the posts... I fail to find any comments calling the Japanese laws ridiculous. I think most people here are clearly intelligent enough to notice the necessary differences in approach to legislation on a chain of islands with over 125 million people on them, and a continent like North America with its comperatively sparse population. No one is calling them ridiculous. I just attempted to present a possible impact on people in Norht America - mainly because I don't claim to know the first thing about the socio-economic reality of living in Japan.
    I am glad that firecracker pointed out a few things to me - it was somewhat narrowminded of me to forget about the impact it would have on the various relationships in Japan itself (like the example of Fuji and the school system or hospital beds).
    I find the liberal flinging of implications of xenophobic tendencies and the childish comments to the effect of "well, its your laws that make no sense" was in poor taste and uncalled for to say the least - not to mention the obvious insecurities it exposes about the person making them, especially when combined with the air of superiority with which they are expressed...

    Peter.