Tokyo school hires guards after Armani uniform furor

The school has faced a storm of public and social media criticism over its decision to adopt the designer uniforms. (AFP)
Updated 02 March 2018

Tokyo school hires guards after Armani uniform furor

TOKYO: A Tokyo school that hit international headlines for introducing an Armani-branded uniform has been forced to hire security guards after several students faced harassment over the pricey kit.
Taimei Elementary School in Tokyo’s wealthy Ginza district brought in professional guards this week after at least three of its pupils encountered abusive strangers who pulled their uniforms or asked if they were students of the school, a local district spokeswoman told AFP.
Japan boasts extremely safe streets, and guards are rarely seen at school grounds.
“Security guards are patrolling area streets that pupils use in the morning and when they go home,” the spokeswoman said on condition of anonymity.
“This is about student safety.”
The school has faced a storm of public and online criticism over its decision to adopt the designer uniforms from April, with a full set costing parents around 80,000 yen ($760).
While the school says the new uniforms are not mandatory, critics said parents would feel compelled to buy them to ensure their children were not left out.
Since the decision caught media attention earlier this year, at least one pupil was confronted by a strange adult who pulled the child’s uniform, saying “Is this Armani?,” the spokeswoman said.
In two other cases, strangers asked pupils if they were from the school, she added.
The school administration reportedly said the outfits were a bid to tie the 150-year-old school to the upscale Ginza district where it is located.
The uniform features sharply tailored blazers as well as add-ons like bags that can push the total set’s cost to around 90,000 yen, a price critics said was too expensive for uniforms for fast-growing children.


China restaurant apologizes for weighing customers

Updated 15 August 2020

China restaurant apologizes for weighing customers

  • Customers were asked to stand on scales and scan their data into an app that recommended food choices based on their weight and the dishes’ calorific value
  • The restaurant said it was “deeply sorry” for its interpretation of the anti-waste campaign

BEIJING: A restaurant in China has apologized for its controversial policy of asking diners to weigh themselves before entry in an overzealous response to a new national campaign against food waste.
The beef restaurant in the central city of Changsha was heavily criticized on Chinese social media as soon as it unveiled the policy on Friday.
Customers were asked to stand on scales and scan their data into an app that recommended food choices based on their weight and the dishes’ calorific value, according to a report by the state-run China News Service.
President Xi Jinping this week urged the nation to stop wasting food, as the coronavirus pandemic and serious flooding last month have led to a rise in food prices.
In response, regional catering groups have urged customers to order one dish fewer than the number of diners at a table — an attempt to overturn the ingrained cultural habit of ordering extra food for group meals.
Signs were displayed in the beef restaurant reading “be thrifty and diligent, promote empty plates” and “operation empty plate” — referring to the nationwide campaign — according to photos published in local media.
In a swift backlash, hashtags related to the incident have been viewed over 300 million times on the social platform Weibo.
The restaurant said it was “deeply sorry” for its interpretation of the anti-waste campaign.
“Our original intentions were to advocate stopping waste and ordering food in a healthy way. We never forced customers to weigh themselves,” it said in an apology posted online on Saturday morning.
Chinese state media has also waged war on viral binge-eating videos, known as “mukbang,” while livestreaming platforms have promised to shut down accounts promoting excess eating and food wastage.