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Hi Blog. We’ve been warning about racial profiling by Japanese police on Debito.org (and in book “Embedded Racism in Japan“) for many years now. (We’ve even gone so far to call it “standard operating procedure” in public policing.) Finally the US Embassy is now warning its own citizens against it.
Well, good, and long overdue. Because when the US Embassy weighs in on things like this (such as instant Gaijin Card Checks at hotels, shady street Gaijin Card Checks by people posing as Japanese police, and instant pee-pee drug tests for people who “look foreign” in Roppongi), the GOJ sits up and takes notice (and stops the pee-pee tests, for example). And in yesterday’s instance, it’s newsworthy enough to be reported quite widely in other media.
Bravo US Embassy. Do more of this. Since Japan’s minorities are so disenfranchised that we’ll get no public policy to stop this, the only avenue available is pressure from public exposure from abroad. Debito Arudou, Ph.D.
PS: If anyone is on the US Embassy mailing lists and you received a warning there too, please forward it to email@example.com or in the Comments Section below for the record. Thanks.
U.S. Embassy warns of suspected racial profiling by Japan police
By Isabel Reynolds, Japan Times/Bloomberg, December 6, 2021, Courtesy of JDG, TJL, and GPW
The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo issued a warning Monday about foreign residents being stopped and searched by Japanese police in what it said were suspected to be “racial profiling incidents.”
The unusual move by the embassy of Tokyo’s only formal ally came after Japan closed its borders to new entries by foreigners amid concern over the omicron variant, just weeks after beginning a cautious reopening. The closure was backed by almost 90% of respondents to a media poll over the weekend.
The alert posted on the Twitter account of the American Citizen Services section of the embassy warned that U.S. citizens should carry proof of their immigration status and notify their consulate if detained. The alert added that several foreigners “were detained, questioned, and searched.”
Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno dismissed the concerns and said at a news briefing that police questioning in the country is not based on nationality or race.
The number of foreign citizens living in Japan fell by 2% to 2.8 million in June, compared with a year earlier, according to the Justice Ministry. American citizens made up less than 2% of the total, at nearly 54,000. Entry by foreign tourists, businesspeople and students is currently banned under coronavirus restrictions, although foreigners with resident status are currently permitted to re-enter.
US Embassy in Tokyo warns of ‘suspected racial profiling’ by Japanese police
BY MONIQUE BEALS – THE HILL.COM, 12/05/21
The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo issued a tweet on Sunday warning that foreigners were being stopped by Japanese police in “suspected racial profiling incidents.”
“The U.S. Embassy has received reports of foreigners stopped and searched by Japanese police in suspected racial profiling incidents. Several were detained, questioned, and searched,” the tweet said.
“U.S. citizens should carry proof of immigration and request consular notification if detained,” it added.
The U.S. Embassy has received reports of foreigners stopped and searched by Japanese police in suspected racial profiling incidents. Several were detained, questioned, and searched. U.S. citizens should carry proof of immigration and request consular notification if detained. pic.twitter.com/a8BkAU7eCR
— U.S. Embassy Tokyo, ACS (@ACSTokyo) December 5, 2021
The embassy’s warning message came not long after Japan closed its borders to foreigners amid concerns surrounding the omicron variant.
Nearly 90 percent of respondents in a Japanese poll said they were in support of the border measures, Bloomberg reported.
The number of foreign nationals living in Japan fell slightly this year to 2.8 million, Bloomberg reported, citing the Ministry of Justice. Less than 2 percent were American citizens, or about 54,000 people.
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