Letter to the Editor,
The Daily Yomiuri,
Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-8243
Every summer we hear more about the Daylight Saving Time debate in Japan. The government seems to have a perpetual committee considering the matter, whose secret mandate might be to reach no conclusions. Occasional opinion letters in the newspaper parade DST’s supposed advantages with persuasive enthusiasm.
But I don’t know. I grew up in a country with Daylight Saving Time and the only thing it meant to me was another of life’s little bothers. What are the advantages? I’m not convinced that it really saves much energy. Industry works indoors with artificial light. Householders live indoors where they rely on artificial light. Sunlight through the window might look pretty, but that’s almost the extent of it. The public might spend more time out of doors in the light, exercising and socializing with each other. But the operative word is “might.” We are told that it may encourage parents to spend more time with their children, but I suspect this reflects the fantasies of social reformers rather than the desires of real families. It’s good for farmers? How? Farmers work by the sunlight and the time on the clock is mostly irrelevant. How would it boost tourism? Maybe the best argument is that DST would bring Japaninto line with other countries in the world - partner and client nations - contributing to enhanced systemic efficiency.
Of course it’s a bother to be woken up at 4:30in the morning with near broad daylight shining in our windows, but that’s just another sign that we’re in Japan. Besides, I have curtains.
Published on Saturday, July 14, 2012 as “Daylight saving doubts.”