The occasional, and in many ways perennial, Chinese, Mexican, and Chilian export containing hazardous material continues to be a concern for child safety. This is often the result of lackluster quality controls overseas and indifference or lack of initiative on the part of children’s toy wholesalers to test products accordingly. It is a problem associated with “Just in Time” shipping methods where a domestic company simply relies on foreign manufacturers to label, ship, and distribute products to market without actually taking possession of the items to perform quality control. The situation is exasperated by lack of oversight by foreign governments and especially from the manufacturers themselves.
Time and money is needed for toy companies in the US to place quality control technicians overseas, and the temptation to avoid this cost and logistic leads to children receiving harmful doses of heavy metals and pathogens.
One concept that local producers seem to miss when dealing with Chinese manufacturers is Quality Assurance, something that often must be addressed at higher levels and greater frequency than what is customary in the United States. The allure of fast turnaround and cheap production costs often blinds companies to underlying problems. Examples include asbestos in crayons, cadmium in toys, toxic dog treats, and even the bizarre examples such as a shaved dog substituted for a lion.
An unfortunate result of the “Occupy” movement in Hong Kong has made freedom of the press one of the casualties.
Unlike other large cities and China generally, Hong Kong reporters enjoy considerable latitude comparatively but there are indications that even this is suffering erosion. Reports are emerging from journalists and other news and civil rights NGOs that Chinese authorities are beginning to import their restrictions into the former British Colony, where formerly the national government had allowed some deference due to the long standing culture and western traditions of the “special administrative region.”
Japanese voters are split over changing the country’s pacifist constitution, in order to allow Japan to ease limits on the military, according to a recent poll. About 50 percent of voters want Japan to be able to exercise its right to self-defense in case of an international conflict, while almost 90 percent of lower house lawmakers back the change.
The survey was made by the Asahi newspaper and a University of Tokyo research team. It showed that half of the voters want the revising of the constitution, up from 41 percent in 2009.
Japan’s prime-minister Shinzo Abe made clear he wants to change the constitution in order to give more power to the military. The constitution has never been changed since it was drafted by the United States Occupation forces in 1947, after the World War Two.