As more and more people want to see the Japanese government take solid steps in making sure that the basic anti-alcohol abuse law is effective, a big crowd gathered in Tokyo’s Arakawa Ward for an alcohol awareness conference. The gathering drew more than 1,000 people, where speakers talked about their experiences – mostly difficult ones – and the truth behind the hurt and possible harm that alcohol abuse may bring.
This new anti-alcohol abuse legislation sees those who abuse alcohol as having a disorder, and that the Japanese government should have – under this same new law – effective ways to support those who have the disease, as well as prevent the health issues brought about by its abuse. A married woman spoke about her pain and difficulties as she lived with an alcoholic husband, saying that her life was “like hell,” taking in almost on a daily basis verbal and physical abuse from her husband when he was drunk. “Alcohol dependence is difficult to tell from outside. A prejudice against the disorder isolates patients’ family members,” the woman said. Another woman told a similar sad story, this one ending in the death of her son who became an alcoholic after being pressured by peers to start drinking heavily.
There is great pressure now on the Japanese central government to come good on application of this law, as it stipulates that prevention and support for those suffering from the disorder is the government’s responsibility. People would like to see the government’s arms – especially in health and social welfare – moving to promote checkups and improve services for those under the addictive effects of alcoholism. The basic law is far-reaching and even requires the authorities to provide proper guidance for those caught driving their vehicles while drunk (driving under the influence). Some in the conference also spoke of suicide attempts coming from the emotional imbalance brought by alcohol abuse. As the law takes effect, one can only hope that the Japanese government takes its role in the application of the law seriously.