Buddhist monk protests fine for driving in robe

Buddhist monk protests fine for driving in robe

A Buddhist monk in Japan is refusing to pay a fine he was issued for driving in a religious robe.

The priest in his 40s was stopped by police while he was driving a mini-car in September in Fukui City on the coast of the Sea of Japan to attend a memorial service.

He was fined for driving while wearing the traditional attire. Police said the robe could impair safe driving, and that it's a violation of regulations under the traffic law.

The police add that wearing monk's robes while driving does not necessarily constitute a violation, but the robe in question had 30-centimeter wide sleeves that could get caught on a lever or another set of controls.

The police also noted that the kimono he was wearing underneath the robe was too tight to allow him to press the brake pedal when necessary.

They say the combination of clothing potentially impaired safe driving.

The monk has refused to pay the traffic ticket worth about 55 dollars.

Nishi-Hongwanji temple in Kyoto, which is the head temple of the Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji branch of the religion, says it's important to abide by the law, but issuing a traffic ticket because of the robe is not acceptable.