Racial discrimination a cause of concern in Japan

World Today

In Japan, foreigners, mainly Koreans and Chinese have been the targets of discrimination by a number of nationalist organizations. Japanese lawmakers are calling for a bill to prevent discrimination and hate speech. But many Japanese say this should have been done much earlier. CCTV America’s Terrence Terashima reports.

Racial discrimination a cause of concern in Japan

In Japan, foreigners, mainly Koreans and Chinese have been the targets of discrimination by a number of nationalist organizations. Japanese lawmakers are calling for a bill to prevent discrimination and hate speech. But many Japanese say this should have been done much earlier. CCTV America's Terrence Terashima reports.

About 100 nationalists marched down the Tokyo streets, shouting harsh and discriminating words against Korean residents in Japan. Telling them to go home and return the disputed Takeshima or Dokdo islands. And equally many Korean living in Japan, and Japanese sympathetic to the Korean residents, shouted back to stop the discrimination.

Unfortunately, scenes like these have increased in the past two years. Much more frequent and worst in Osaka, which has a large Korean population in Japan.

The discriminatory demonstrations are also held in small shopping streets targeting Korean residents in Japan. Japanese and foreign residents alike, are asking the authorities to tighten regulations against such act.

Journalist and politician from the Democratic Party of Japan, Yoshifu Arita says the current direction of Abe administration’s policies and diplomacy are fueling some of this racial discrimination.

“Historically, some discriminatory sentiments have existed in the Japanese society. But escalation of tensions and territorial issues with China and South Korea are fueling these nationalistic act and it is becoming worse,” Arita says.

The escalating hate speech has alarmed the authorities. Osaka is en route to become the first city to ban hate speech under a local ordinance. A bipartisan group of lawmakers is putting together a bill to abolish racial discrimination to be submitted in the current diet session.

But experts say it will be difficult as some lawmakers are wary of the constitutional right to freedom of speech.

“We are going to do our utmost to abolishing the hate speech from Japan and hope that anti-Japanese sentiments in South Korea and China will ease and we can recover the bilateral relationships,” Yoshifu Arita adds.

However, people are calling for swifter and drastic measures as they feel threats are escalating. Experts say these images will also send the wrong message of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe administration’s policies.