TV Anchorman Kume Hiroshi apologizes for anti-foreigner quip made a decade ago, thanks to records on Debito.org
Posted by debito on December 22nd, 2006
Bravo! This is the power of a public archive, such as that found on debito.org. Kume would never have found this otherwise! Debito in Sapporo
Newscaster regrets anti-foreigner quip
12/21/2006 BY MARIKO SUGIYAMA, THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
Atonement, it seems, can never come too late.
Newscaster Hiroshi Kume has apologized for a disparaging remark he made 10 years ago about foreigners speaking Japanese.
The comment offended a number of foreign residents in Japan, prompting some people to formally complain to TV Asahi Corp. that aired the remark.
At the time, Kume was a presenter on TV Asahi’s evening news program, then called News Station.
The program aired in October 1996 and featured a report on India in which an Indian spoke fluent Japanese, according to Debito Arudou, 41. Arudou, who was born in the United States as Dave Aldwinckle and is now a naturalized Japanese, is active in efforts to protect the rights of foreigners.
Kume blurted out on the program, “Isn’t it better to see a foreigner speaking in broken Japanese?”
Arudou and others complained to the TV station that many foreign nationals are studying Japanese and trying to integrate into society.
He posted details of the protest on his Web site. Kume did not respond at the time, according to Arudou.
But on Dec. 1, Kume sent an e-mail message to Arudou, saying, “Thinking deeply, I realize this was quite a rude remark and I regret this as being narrow-minded.”
Kume told The Asahi Shimbun: “I recently learned on the Internet about the protest. I didn’t know 10 years ago.”
Arudou, in turn, said, “I was surprised but happy that an influential individual such as Kume did not neglect what he said in the past and tried to make things right.”