Why do house doors in Japan open outwards?

This seems to be a uniquely Japanese practice. In most countries, house doors open INWARDS. This is a universal practice to all countries which I have lived in or visited, which include much of Asia, Europe and North America. Please bear the following in mind as you answer my question: 1.... show more This seems to be a uniquely Japanese practice.

In most countries, house doors open INWARDS. This is a universal practice to all countries which I have lived in or visited, which include much of Asia, Europe and North America.

Please bear the following in mind as you answer my question:

1. Cultural/traditional practice?
To the best of my knowledge, sliding doors have traditionally been used in Japan, so the practice of hinged doors opening outward must be a modern development.

2. Convenient for taking shoes off?
In China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, we also take our shoes off at home. At least in Hong Kong, where I live, most people leave their shoes in the entryway area within the house, as the Japanese do. However, our doors open INWARD.

So... why is it that Japanese doors open outwards when even the doors of their geographical and cultural neighbours open inwards? Thanks for answering my question!
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