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Hi Blog. As mentioned in the previous blog entry, Osaka resident Ibrahim Yener won his court case against a car company that refused him on the grounds (the company claims after the fact in court) of being a foreigner with insufficient Japanese language. However, Mr. Yener has just written in to Debito.org with more detail on his case, making it clear below that arbitrary language barriers were merely a ruse to refuse all “foreigners” (even those with Japanese citizenship) their business. Fortunately, the exclusionary Defendant’s reasoning didn’t wash in court.
The Defendant, not mentioned in the Asahi article in the previous blog entry, is Nihon Autoplaza, and they offer services such as buying used cars on Japan’s very vibrant second-hand automobile auction market. (I have bought cars through that auction system before, and lack of access to it will have a significant impact on your ability to get a used car affordably in Japan, something quite necessary for people in Japan’s ruralities or for small businesses.)
More detail follows from Mr. Yener himself, writing directly to Debito.org. Reproducing with permission. Well done, sir.
One more takeaway from this case is that, according to Mr. Yener, the Defendant acted even more idiotically in court, angering the judge. So I’m worried that this case might not have been as slam-dunk as it might seem for future victims of “Japanese Only” businesses who want to sue (because a lawsuit is the only real option Japan’s international residents have to protect themselves against discrimination). Dr. Debito Arudou
From: “Ibrahim YENER”
Date: September 15, 2017
Dear Dr. Debito Arudou.
My name is Ibrahim YENER. I am the guy who took legal action against Japanese company.
You’re probably wondering where all those things started from.
Let me make a brief explanation.
Last year, I contacted that company to buy a used car through their web page contact form.
The very next day I got an e-mail (I am going to paste the entire reply below this mail) from that company saying they are not going to send me papers because of I am foreigner. Also EVEN IF a foreigner became a Japanese citizen they still won’t send it.
So, next day (20th of October) about 11am I contacted them by phone and I told the boss of that company that one of his employee sent me something weird by mistake. Even that time I was giving him a chance to apologize.
Then I asked him, did you guys really think about if I take you to court?
And what made me angry was his answer: “Do whatever you want.”
So, at that point I knew I have no opportunity but take this case to court.
Because, I faced so many discrimination cases in Japan in 14 years.
But this time I decided to stand and fight instead of be quiet.
Anyway, that sick-minded person shows up at court room with a mask on his face.
And the judge asked him to remove that mask, but he replied, “There is a foreigner here. I have to protect my privacy.”
The judge became so angry and told him that “Here is court room, there is no privacy in here. Either you take that mask off or leave the court room”.
So, he replied, “Let me think about it”.
The judge told him that “I am not asking you to remove that mask off, I am ordering you to take that mask off or leave immediately.”
At that moment, I knew I won the case, but I prepared myself for high-court just in case the court will decide it was not discrimination.
Anyway, if you have any questions, I will be very happy to answer them.
Here is the original mail from that company:
From: 日本オートプラザ 山下 [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Wednesday, October 19, 2016 18:21
To: Yener Ibrahim
Yener Ibrahim 様
—–Original Message Ends—–
Translation of the email from Nihon Autoplaza by Debito:
To: Ibrahim Yener
From: Mr. Yamashita, Autoplaza
Thank you for your email.
We are sorry but our company’s screening standards for accepting members are applicable to people with Japanese citizenship, so we will not be sending our materials to a foreigner.
In addition, even if the applicant has Japanese citizenship, our company only allows membership contracts from those who have been determined by our company to have no problems in Japanese language ability.
Therefore, even if someone has Japanese citizenship, and can hold their own (sonshoku) against someone with native ability in Japanese, we can send you our materials if you contact us again, but in terms of determining Japanese language ability, the final decision rests with our company, so kindly understand in advance that we will not accept an application if we decide the Japanese language is insufficient.
Nihon Autoplaza KK
Osaka-shi Yodogawa-ku Nakashima 6-2-3, Chisan Dai 7 Shin-Osaka Bldg. 8F
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