That said Python3 is vastly better than Python2. Basic operations like reading/writing to files and serialization to JSON for the most part just work without having to worry about encodings or manipulate anything other than str objects. I'm sure there are lots of cases where that's not true but for my work at least string handling is no longer a major issue in writing correct programs. The defaults largely seem to work.
All things considered Java character handling was an enormous improvement over the languages that preceded it and still better than implementations in many other languages. (I wish the same could be said of date handling.)