A Japanese tourist board has issued an etiquette guide asking Chinese visitors to refrain from public "belching or flatulence". The Hokkaido Tourism Organisation said it came up with the idea of publishing a list of do's and dont's after some of Japan's hotel owners complained about the behaviour of visitors from China.
Called Common Sense When Travelling in Hokkaido, the guide gives advice on subjects ranging from shopping, how to use a toilet and the importance of being punctual. In one section entitled Everything with Modesty, it reminds tourists that Japanese people "avoid bodily functions such as belching or flatulence in public entirely", adding: "Of course, these functions are a necessary part of human life, but please be modest and discreet when visiting Japan."
The guide was in response to Japanese hoteliers refusing to take Chinese tourists, according to Japan Times. This included accusations they left hotel rooms dirty and made excessive noise.
The guide asked tourists not to put used toilet paper in the waste bin instead of flushing it away, as is common in China. They were also told to stop opening packages in shops before buying them, another regular habit of Chinese shoppers to test for product quality.
But the guide, originally published in Mandarin in August, has already had to go through one revision after complaints that it was offensive. A Chinese resident in Hokkaido said it gave the impression all people in China lacked common sense and manners. The tourist board agreed to remove "patronising" red crosses next to things not to do, softened the tone of the advice and published it in English.
Japan has seen a surge in Chinese tourists visiting the country in recent years, receiving some of the $164bn (£113bn, €144bn) spent by Chinese citizens abroad in 2014. There have been numerous media reports complaining of their behaviour, however, with Japanese media even urging the authorities to set up a "special zone" for Chinese visitors at popular attractions.