Saitama's new ordinance banning walking on escalators gets off to a standing start

Japan Today -- Oct 02
The Saitama prefectural government poster reads, "On the escalator, stay put! It's required. The first ordinance in Japan!! Let it begin from Saitama Prefecture.

It continues at the bottom: "An ordinance to promote safe use of Saitama escalators. To take effect from October 1, 2021."

Five cartoon figures stand alternately on the right and left sides of the escalator: three humans -- a middle-aged man with his left arm in a sling, an expectant mother and a primary schoolgirl with a back pack -- plus the obligatory mascots which in this case are two large, goofy-looking birds.

As J-Cast News reported on Sept 21, Saitama Governor Motohiro Ono tweeted an announcement that day, stating, "Walking on escalators is extremely dangerous, resulting not only in yourself falling, but causing others to fall as well. You are requested to cooperate to enable everybody to use escalators safely."

Wording in the new prefectural ordinance also states that "All those who might utilize escalators are to be notified."

The ordinance had been passed by Saitama's prefectural assembly last February, and an announcement of its passing appeared in the May issue of the prefecture's public newsletter.

Actually, the Japan Elevator Association, which also covers escalators, has posted a number of user safety recommendations that include proscriptions against walking, as well as other forms of misbehavior such as using prams, wearing trousers or other garments with excessively long hemlines, not leaving one hand free for gripping the bannister, wearing high heeled shoes with heels that can easily be jammed between escalator teeth, loitering close to the landing in a way that blocks escalator traffic, and smoking.