No, this isn't an April
Fool's Day joke: If you're in Japan and looking for a deal on used gear, your days are numbered, at least if that gear
is more than five years old. It seems that Japan's government revised its "Electrical Appliance
and Material Safety Law" back in April 2001, and added a stipulation that items authorized under the
country's old law (the "Electrical Appliance and Material Control Law") couldn't be sold anymore, but granted those products a five-year grace period. Well, if you check your
convenient wall calendar, you'll see that the five-year period is about to end, which means that as of April 1, pretty
much any electronic gear sold before April 1, 2001 can't be legally resold in Japan. Note that we said
legally. We assume that if you're really jonesing for an original Famicom or parts for your aging Zaurus,
you'll find a way to do it. Such as meeting outside the Zoo in Ueno Koen at midnight on Tuesday and asking for Yuki.
Just don't mention our name.
Update: Well, it looks like you can relax a little. Thanks to Roy at Mutant Frog, we've learned a little more about the intricacies of Japanese law. Turns out that sellers of certain kinds of old gear will have to get a government seal certifying that the items adhere to modern saftey standards if they want to sell the stuff after April 1. Sellers are crying foul, saying that in certain cases, it'll be too hard to get certification, and they may end up dumping their gear -- or exporting it, since it turns out exports are exempt from the new law. So, for the best deals on unsafe old Japanese electrical products, start checking the second-hand markets of Shanghai and Hanoi. Just don't mention our name.
[Via Akihabara News]