Japan Announces: NO PACKAGES OVER 1 POUND WILL BE AIRMAILED TO THE US – “Perfect Lockdown & Control”

“”with liberty and justice for all,” not “perfect security for all”? You newly powerful Tea Party people: cat got your tongue?”

Security Theater: The Ripples Spread to Japan

NOV 17 2010, 8:40 AM ET

TheAtlantic.com by JAMES FALLOWS -A reader who has followed Japanese postal regulations conveys the latest security announcement. Short version: items weighing more than 1 pound can no longer be shipped to the U.S. by any means involving flight. The announcement, in Japanese, is here; a PDF of the details, also in Japanese, ishere. The reader’s interpretation is this:

>>Apparently the conditions for shipping packages via air to the United States have now become so restrictive that the Japanese Post Office has announced that, effective Nov. 17, it will no longer accept any packages weighing over a pound for shipment to the US by any method that involves air transport (including EMS, airmail, and SAL). Except for large corporate mailers, everything over a pound must apparently now come by sea. Asahi Shimbun is reporting that the Japanese equivalents of FedEx and UPS have followed suit. I assume that airmail service remains in effect for the remaining 200 countries across the globe that have not lost their collective minds.

I do read/speak Japanese and regularly use it in my work, but it was actually my Japanese-speaking wife who brought the news to my attention through her cries of anguish when she read the news: This effectively cuts off her supply of dry goods, books, and magazines; ruins Christmas for our daughter (at least from the Japanese side of the family); and means we’ll not be getting any mochi for o-shougatsu. Having spent sixteen years in Japan (though currently living in the US), one of my basic guiding principles is that if your procedures are too burdensome even for the Japanese to bother complying with, you’ve probably gone a bit too far.

Between the new, “enhanced” TSA procedures and this story, I’ve lost any hope that our leaders know where to stop when it comes to reacting to terrorist threats.<<

Image of part of the PDF announcement is below (click for more detailed view), and after the jump some updates from Japanese news stories on the policy. Larger point: the only route toward perfect security is perfect lock-down and control. If we value freedoms or privacy, we must by definition accept something short of perfect security. I’ll ask it again: Who among our political leaders is speaking up for weighing liberty in the balance? Or reminding us of the motto, “with liberty and justice for all,” not “perfect security for all”? You newly powerful Tea Party people: cat got your tongue?…


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