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 *Don't risk rubbing your gal the wrong way with second-rate sex toys from China
 >On January 26 -- three weeks ago today -- this column introduced an item from Shukan Jitsuwa (2/7) titled "Fetid conditions may make summer Olympics a springboard for spreading sickness," in which the weekly warned Japanese planning visits to China this August that they risked a host of health concerns, from contagious diseases to food poisoning.
 >That precaution proved remarkably prophetic. Just six days later, news headlines screamed that 10 people in Chiba and Hyogo prefectures who had consumed frozen 'gyoza' (pork dumplings, a.k.a. pot stickers) imported from China had begun showing unmistakable symptoms of poisoning.
 >The cause turned out to be methamidophos, a potent phosphorous-based insecticide, apparently introduced into the gyoza packaging. 
 >The evidence at this stage is beginning to point to the likelihood of intentional mischief by someone at the point of origin.
 >"Chinese are wont to think that if something looks good on the outside, it must be good on the inside," a Chinese student at a national university in Japan tells Shukan Jitsuwa (2/21). 
 >"If a cook finds a speck of dog poop on meat, he'll just rinse it off and serve to a customer. 
 >Spoiled meat or fish are stir-fried in oil at high temperature and served. 
 >They aren't willing to accept the loss of even one yen.
 >"The Chinese government has been saying that a successful Olympics would signify China's emergence as a first-class nation," the student sighs. 
 >"I disagree. As long as people aren't educated in proper hygiene, China will remain a third-class country."
 >The number of poisoning victims in Japan is now approaching 2,000 and, of course, the incident has dominated the TV news and print media, including the weekly magazines, for the past 10 days.
 >But as is frequently the case, Shukan Jitsuwa is once again ahead of the curve in bestowing sensible advice. 
 >Just as extreme caution is warranted concerning edibles from China that you insert into your mouth, Jitsuwa slips in a sniggering suggestion that similar safety measures should be taken when inserting items from China into any other body orifice.
 >To wit, damsels demanding delights through diddling with a dildo -- whether developed in Dalian or devised in Dongguan -- hazard destructive damage.
 >"Currently, nearly all the items sold in Japan are imported from China," says the owner of an "adult toy" shop in Osaka's American Village. 
 >"I wouldn't say all of them are junk, but maybe about half have high rates of failure. 
 >Sourcing shifted to China to keep costs down, but I get the impression they're cutting corners even more than necessary.
 >"I'm especially concerned with electric vibrators," the shop owner adds. 
 >"Even the ones that at first glance appear imported from the U.S. contain a high percentage of components from China. 
 >I've noticed the silicone used in some has a peculiar smell to it; we won't stock those in our store."
 >It seems that frustration from frequent failures due to cheap components and careless quality control is not the problem. 
 >Rather, young women working in the sex industry, where such devices are frequently put to use by lecherous customers, have been heard to moan -- and not from pleasure -- that soon after a session with a pink rotary vibrator their nether parts "became inflamed" or "began itching persistently."
 >Apparently Chinese plastic manufacturers still make extensive use of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which has been found to contain phthalate-based polyester, a hormone receptor that some researchers suspect contributes to reduced sperm counts in men and menstrual irregularities in women, among others problems.
 >"In Japan, PVC is prohibited from use in nipples for baby bottles and pacifiers," says a Mr. Kuo (nationality unspecified), a representative director of Asian Drug, a distributor for adult goods. 
 >"In Europe, the substance has been banned completely. 
 >For sex aids like rotors and vibrators, Japanese makers use silicone or ABS resin. 
 >You only find PVC in the products brought in from China."
 >"Regular consumers can't differentiate between the types of materials, and they're not indicated as such on the labels," Kuo continues. 
 >"To be on the safe side, I'd advise you slip a natural latex condom over it before use. 
 >Then you won't have any problems.
 >"And men should take similar precautions with 'onna-hole' (synthetic vaginas)," he adds.
 >"Up to now, I haven't consulted with any patients complaining of problems caused by sex toys, but I can't rule out the possibility," remarks Osaka-based physician Yasuaki Ishikawa, an instructor of urology at the Kinki University Faculty of Medicine (okay, stop smirking -- there really is such a place).
 >Ishikawa says he's encountered a completely different problem: rampant Chinese counterfeiting of ED drugs like Viagra and Cyalis.
 >"They'll sell five at a time, mixing in one real tablet with four phony ones," he says. 
 >"Japanese have been repeatedly swindled. 
 >The phonies don't work, and we have no idea what's actually in the pills' ingredients. 
 >It's really a shady operation, whoever's behind it." (By Masuo Kamiyama, contributing writer)
 誰が黒幕であろうと、本当にいかがわしい商売ですよ。」(カミヤマ マスオ, contributing writer)
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