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Sunday, Feb. 17, 2002

Vive la Kansai-Kanto difference

Staff writer

OSAKA -- Despite corruption scandal after corruption scandal, there is still evidence that not all bureaucrats are bad. Driven by public interest, an army of elite government bureaucrats (and their corporate counterparts) are diligently investigating the really important issues that divide Kansai and Kanto. Here are some examples of what they have uncovered:

1) Kansai is better for picking up girls.

According to the Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Post and Telecommunications, the ratio of women to men is greater in the Kansai region. In Osaka, for example, there are 100 women for every 96.9 men. Guys living in Wakayama Prefecture have it even better: There, the female/male ratio is 100:90. By contrast, in Kanagawa Prefecture, there are 103 men to every 100 women, and in Saitama Prefecture, 102 men to 100 women.

2) Kansai high school grads are more interested in higher education.

An Education Ministry survey in 2000 showed 56.2 percent of Kyoto high-school graduates went on to either college or technical school. Figures for second-place Hyogo Prefecture and third-place Nara Prefecture were 55.8 percent and 54.7 percent, respectively. Tokyo was in sixth place, with only 51.7 percent of high school grads continuing their education.

3) Kanto people are more Internet savvy.

An undated study by Kurare Corp. showed that only 38 percent of people in Kansai use e-mail, as opposed to 48.2 percent in Kanto, and only 34 percent log on to the Net, as opposed to nearly 45 percent of Kantoites.

4) Kanto office ladies eat out more.

When lunchtime rolls around, 56 percent of Tokyo OLs head to their favorite restaurant, as opposed to 45 percent of their Osaka counterparts. Meanwhile, 60 percent of Osaka OLs bring their own bento to work, as opposed to 42 percent of Tokyo OLs.

5) Kanto business executives are more open to outsiders.

A study by Sumitomo Life Insurance Co. found that 44.7 percent of Kanto businesspeople place great importance on relationships outside their companies, as opposed to only 29.3 percent in Kansai.

6) Kanto people are more worried about their health.

A privately funded survey reveals that 62.4 percent of Kanto people worry about their health, as opposed to 40.8 percent of Kansai people. Meanwhile, 20.8 percent of Kansai people said they had no worries, as opposed to only 8.8 percent of Kanto people.

Well, there you have it. Just a small sample of more than 100 differences between East and West identified by private and public research. Never let be it said that Japan is uniform and homogeneous.

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