The Japanese city that banned ‘smartphone-walking’ – BBC News

“This law wasn’t designed to change anything tomorrow or the day after, or even in one year; my plan was to see it adopted in five-plus years,” Ohki explains. He believes that with Japan’s ageing population, it’s important to put measures in place now that will help the elderly down the track. And he feels quite confident it is destined for success, thanks to precedents set by other similar local laws. “Ten years ago we made [a] law against walking and smoking,” he says. “It took a while for it to be adopted, but after 10 years it worked.”

Yoichiro Tamada, 28, who works in a media agency and is a keen smartphone user, isn’t convinced that long-term safety will be enough of an incentive for the younger generation, however. “To be honest, I think Japan just loves making new laws. If there’s no punishment, I can’t really see young people – many of whom already have smartphone dependence – following the law, I personally wouldn’t.”