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[YRP Students' Essays] A Hot Topic for Japan

What do you visualize when you hear the word "summer?" Some people imagine going to the beach, or others may come up with crazy ideas, like burying their friends in sand on the beach. On the contrary, I may sound like an old man, but I visualize hot springs. Hot springs are something like baths that use natural spring water only found in certain areas. They have many effects, such as a beautifying effect and healing effects, and they can make anyone relax. However, there have recently been a betrayal of people who are in love with hot springs.

Since the mass media suspected that hot springs in Nagano were adding bath salts to the water, Nagano started their investigation, and by examining other prefectures, many problems at hot springs have come to light.

A Japanese-style hotel in Sendai called "Sansuitei" was suspected of digging their hot spring without the city's permission. In 1996, Sansuitei was told to stop using the hot springs in Sendai. They obeyed at first but they started using bath salts again in 1998. Because of that, the police made a visit to the hotel. It was the first time for the police to investigate a hot springs.

But why did these problems occur? Hot springs that occur naturally become famous and many bath lovers pay a visit. As the number of guests increase, the lack of hot water increases. Employees cannot increase the quantity of natural hot water but I think it is not right to add heated town water even if they don't have a lot of natural hot spring water. Even if drawing water from the watering place doesn't seem to help, there must be some other provisions. Adding heated running water is rude to the sweet and innocent guests who enjoy their precious time at the hot springs, not knowing anything. Boy, does that make me mad!

Also, why didn't the governor notice that some hot springs were run with no permission? I understand that if warm water was clear and had no smell, it would be difficult for the administration to realize that a hot spring hotel was not drawing water from a hot spring. However, I think there should have been ways to evaluate these problems. That's the question I have.

Because of Sansuitei, Sakunami spa, the hot spring resort where the offending hotel is located, is worried that their repetition will go down. A woman who works in the industry said, "I hope this suspicion won't damage the entire hot springs business in Japan."

On the other hand, some areas like Niigata prefecture are researching whether other hot spring spas are running without their city governor's permission. I request strongly that these good officials find more of the hot springs running with no permission, and give them what they deserve. Finally, I want all the hot springs in Japan to become safe and trustworthy. We're waiting.


Child Research Net would like to thank the Doshisha International Junior/Senior High School and Megumi Terai, student and author, for permitting reproduction of this article on the CRN web site.
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