Over at GameSpy, a new Japanese-themed column by Jonti Davies talks about the effect of new hardware sales restrictions in the country, as previously covered at Gamasutra, and it's all extremely bizarre.

As Gama noted: "The Electrical Appliance and Materials Safety Law, passed in 2001, already requires manufacturers to place "product safety of electrical appliance and materials" (PSE) safety certifications on new electronic goods, and beginning in April, retailers will be prohibited from selling pre-2001 electrical items without the PSE mark... Pre-2001 consoles such as the Dreamcast and original PlayStation would fall under the law, but as Japanese newspaper the Asahi Shimbun explains, there are several ways of getting around the regulation."

In Davies' case, it went a bit like this: "Me: Hello, I'm looking for a Dreamcast... Staffer Number Two (upstairs): Well, you see, there has been a new law passed which says we can't sell such hardware in this store. Me: Really? You don't have any Dreamcast consoles here? Staffer Number Two: Oh, we do have one. Would you like to see it? Me: Certainly. Staffer Number Two: It's in perfect condition... just 5000yen. Me: Um...? Staffer Number Two: Just buy something for 100yen so we can give you a receipt, and then we'll sell you this Dreamcast... unofficially." Well, that's ONE way of dealing with it!