PUBLICIZED IMAGES OF NON-JAPANESE
Date: Tue, 02 Nov 1999
From: email@example.com (walsh)
Subject: Foreigners and Police and Press
OK. I've been so inspired by The Community, I wrote a letter (below) to Mainichi
As you can see, I had trouble getting through on their e-mail address; some inquiries
got me in contact with a foreign reporter (?) and a senior editor.
I don't know if this effort will go anywhere but it is my response to two issues
I find on the list of objectives: police treatment and perception of foreigners by
I would welcome: (1) any constructive feedback on my approach and/or the letter itself
and (2) offers of logistical support, that is, suggestions on appropriate (re)sources
should MDN contact me with any expression of interest in doing a feature of the sort
I suggest at the end of my letter.
Thank you for your time. I feel I'm in great company with The Community.
Mr. Tokizawa: [DW: possibly a senior editor]
Thank you for your reply.
I have tried, as you can see in the transcript below, to submit copy to the e-mail
address you provide BUT it has been returned by my server as undeliverable.
Therefore, I would much appreciate it if you could direct the copy to the Readers'
I note that you are a senior editor with MDN. Whether the paper decides to publish
my letter or not, I would like to encourage and assist, insofar as I am able, an
investigation into police treatment of foreigners. Do not hesitate to contact me
if there is interest at MDN.
Some applause is due the Mainichi Daily News for prominent coverage in its front
page report headlined "Foreigner wins racism case" (Oct. 13) concerning
the recent decision by the Shizuoka District Court that banning foreigners from a
store contravenes the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Racial Discrimination. Interestingly, the source of the article is cited as the Japanese
language Mainichi Shimbun which did carry a report on the matter in its edition of
the same date on page 26. Evidently, readers of each of the two newspapers are perceived
by publishers to hold markedly different interests -- a division that I would seriously
Since the court decision is described in a sub-headline as an "epoch ruling",
and no doubt it is, I would have anticipated some timely editorial comment in both
the English and Japanese newspapers on this court decision.
Regarding the particulars of the ruling, I found it regrettable that the judge apparently
offered no comment about the contents of a pamphlet
distributed by the Hamamatsu police warning against theft. Did the pamphlet
make explicit reference to foreigners as suspect? If so, it is reasonable to conclude
that the police have, at the very least, encouraged racist attitudes that generated
this sort of incident, which, when reported in the international media, does not
project a favourable image of Japanese society.
[NB from Dave Aldwinckle: It does not. But the defendant in the abovementioned
Bortz Case submitted it to the Shizuoka District Court as evidence justifying his
exclusionary policy. See above link.]
Perhaps Mainichi newspapers might serve the interest of all readers by offering some
investigative reporting in the near future on how people who do not appear to be
Japanese on sight (keeping in mind that there are some "foreign looking"
persons who have acquired Japanese nationality) are characterized in communications
by the Japanese police,both internal and public.
Daniel M. Walsh
For more on the Bortz Case referred to above, CLICK
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