Otaru Onsen Yunohana's Court Testimony

HEISEI 13 (wa) DAI 206-GOU
APRIL 15, 2002 1:30 PM-4:30PM

(click here to see Hearing Eight Index page)


Translation by Arudou Debito

(Defendant is sworn in for testimony)

Defendant Lawyer Mr Komoda: Are you the representative director of Earthcure KK [the parent company of Onsen Yunohana]?

Mr Kobayashi: Mr Kobayashi: Yes.

Mr Komoda: Let's look at Otsu I Dai 6 Gou Shou. Is this your court affidavit?

Mr Kobayashi: Yes.

Mr Komoda: This is your signature on this form. Were the contents complete and accurate to the best of your knowledge when you signed it?

Mr Kobayashi: Yes.

Mr Komoda: Is Earthcure KK, located at Otaru Temiya 1-chome, the operator of Otaru Tennen Onsen Yunohana?

Mr Kobayashi: Yes.

Mr Komoda: Let's call it Yunohana for short. When did you start operations at Yunohana?

Mr Kobayashi: On July 12, Heisei 10.

Mr Komoda: Or 1998 on the Western Calendar, right?

Mr Kobayashi: Yes.

Mr Komoda: Did Yunohana refuse entry to foreigners for a duration of time?

Mr Kobayashi: Yes.

Mr Komoda: From when until when was this situation in place?

Mr Kobayashi: After we opened, we refused foreigners from the middle of August, 1998, until the middle of January, 2001.

Mr Komoda: In brief, why did you refuse foreigners entry?

Mr Kobayashi: There were many reasons. The first is that we suffered damages in the past, and second we had had complaints from customers who had been using our facilities, including those at a related sauna we had been running.

Mr Komoda: You mention here that you had been running a sauna. Do you mean "Green Sauna", the sauna that was being managed by both Hashimoto Kensetsu KK of the Earthcure Group, and by Kyouei Travel Agency KK?

Mr Kobayashi: Yes.

Mr Komoda: Before you became the manager of Earthcure KK, were you employed by the Hashimoto Kensetsu KK Group?

Mr Kobayashi: Yes.

Mr Komoda: Do you know what happened at Green Sauna?

Mr Kobayashi: Yes, I had used the facilities myself, and when those complaints came up, I was there witnessing and confirming them.

Mr Komoda: Concretely, what sort of problems were there with foreigners at Green Sauna?

Mr Kobayashi: First, I experienced a sort of overpowering feeling (iatsukan) whenever I was in the room with foreigners, not to mention a powerful body odor coming from them. I don't know whether it was a sweat from the heat or a cold sweat, but I remember I was sweating whenever they were around. Also, there were several different cases I heard about and saw, but foreigners were getting in the bath with soap on and putting our plastic deck chairs into the baths. This led to them taking pictures even when other customers were around, bringing in eats and booze, and walking around in the buff in the lounge. Not only that, I heard they were doing things like pinning our staff to the walls (hagaishime), and stealing our stuff and the stuff of our customers.

Mr Komoda: Were the perpetrators of these problems generally Russian sailors?

Mr Kobayashi: Yes, that is what I heard. (kiki oyonde orimasu)

Mr Komoda: What sort of effect did this have on the business of Green Sauna?

Mr Kobayashi: As the days went by, we kept on hearing more and more demands from customers to do something about this. After a while, customers would ask at the door if Russians were inside, and if so would turn around and leave right there. They would also say they couldn't relax with all the shenanigans going on inside and ask for their money back. Our staff too were suffering problems, what with the Russians copping feels (shintai ni fureru) from them, and were quitting.

Mr Komoda: Until when did Green Sauna operate?

Mr Kobayashi: Until the end of August 1998, I think.

Mr Komoda: This is about the time Yunohana opened, right?

Mr Kobayashi: Yes. About a month and a half afterwards.

Mr Komoda: That's when Green Sauna went bankrupt, right?

Mr Kobayashi: Yes.

Mr Komoda: Then Yunohana, as well as the other onsens around Otaru which refused entry to foreigners, became the target of criticism, right?

Mr Kobayashi: Yes.

Mr Komoda: Do you remember about when these criticisms first came up?

Mr Kobayashi: I think it was in the autumn of 1998, just before winter set in.

Mr Komoda: What did Earthcure think, and what sorts of measures did it take when this happened?

Mr Kobayashi: We wanted all sorts of customers to come in and take our waters, so when we first opened, we did not refuse foreigners entry. However, as we suffered damages and our customers began complaining, we made the decision that we did not want this situation to continue further for it would imperil our business.

Mr Komoda: So you are saying that you did not refuse foreigners from the start at Yunohana?

Mr Kobayashi: Yes.

Mr Komoda: Did foreigners actually come to Yunohana back then?

Mr Kobayashi: Yes.

Mr Komoda: Did problems occur?

Mr Kobayashi: Yes.

Mr Komoda: Like what?

Mr Kobayashi: Problems similar to the ones I mentioned before at Green Sauna. Coming in with their street shoes on, getting into the bath without washing themselves at all, or with soap still on, or while still drinking beer. Customers complained about the strong body odor. And oh yes, disease (byouki). There was a rumor floating around town that at other bathing facilities this was the reason why customers were staying away from them.

Mr Komoda: When you say disease, what in specific?

Mr Kobayashi: Crab lice. (kejirami)

Mr Komoda: This was a complaint heard from Japanese customers?

Mr Kobayashi: We heard this from customers who came to our facility. At other facilities around Otaru, foreigners, I think it was Russians, came in and afterwards crab lice were found. I don't remember which facility it was [NB: It was Osupa], but they were asking us if our facility would be repeating their mistakes (ni no mai ni naru no ka).

Mr Komoda: You heard this opinion from customers, right?

Mr Kobayashi: Yes.

Mr Komoda: This is why you closed Yunohana's doors to foreigners in the middle of August, 1998?

Mr Kobayashi: Yes.

Mr Komoda: Then in the following winter, you heard complaints about exclusions, right? When this happened, what did Yunohana think and do about it?

Mr Kobayashi: The people we had to take most notice of were our customers. I take it upon myself with great pride (jifu) to make sure that anyone, from the oldest person to the youngest child, can enjoy our facilities. Those are the ones I must listen to when they have something to say. When this came out in the mass media during November and December of 1999, we heard complaints from our customers for excluding too. So we took a random sampling of 170 customers in a survey.

Mr Komoda: When you say 170 customers, you mean Japanese customers of your facilities?

Mr Kobayashi: Generally, yes. I did ask a few personal acquaintences what they thought, some who did not come to our facilities, but the survey is generally of voices from the outside.

Mr Komoda: Out of the 170, how many of those were your customers?

Mr Kobayashi: Almost all of them. (hotondo)

Mr Komoda: How many of them were non-users?

Mr Kobayashi: About thirty plus.

Mr Komoda: And this was at random, by lottery?

Mr Kobayashi: Yes.

Mr Komoda: What did you ask them?

Mr Kobayashi: Since this problem had come to the fore through all of the press coverage, we asked them what they thought of it, and if we were to let in foreigners, what would they think?

Mr Komoda: Did you collate the responses?

Mr Kobayashi: Yes.

Mr Komoda: What sorts of percentages were there?

Mr Kobayashi: Well, it is a little off to use the word "negative" here, but those negative towards letting foreigners in were 61 percent, those saying "it's okay, isn't it?" (ii n ja nai ka) to let them in 21 percent, those neutral 19 percent.

Mr Komoda: Those are the distributions you got, right?

Mr Kobayashi: Yes.

Mr Komoda: And what did Earthcure KK think about this?

Mr Kobayashi: As I said, we have to weigh our customers' feelings the most, and we have to stay in business. So with these results, even though we knew full well that excluding wasn't the best thing to do, we decided to go step-by-step while listening to everyone's opinions.

Mr Komoda: So you knew that in no way was excluding foreigners the best policy?

Mr Kobayashi: Yes.

Mr Komoda: In January 2001, you began letting in foreigners with conditions for bathing, right?

Mr Kobayashi: Yes.

Mr Komoda: What made you decide to do that?

Mr Kobayashi: Because the bottom line was we did not want to discriminate or ignore human rights. However, when considering the business side, we heard many opinions--that excluding was not the way, but the ones suffering the most without this policy would be our and our staff's families. We got great encouragement, as well as brickbats. We were searching for a mutual understanding that would never happen. We thought of other measures, but then we thought, "won't these be just as discriminatory?", or "these don't make sense". After a lot of trial and error, we decided to take a new decisive step at the start of the 21st Century, and stop excluding from January 1, 2001. Unfortunately, with the busyness of the New Years' Holiday, that was extended for a couple of weeks.

Mr Komoda: So that is the policy you adopted?

Mr Kobayashi: Yes.

Mr Komoda: At the present day, do foreigners use Yunohana?

Mr Kobayashi: Yes.

Mr Komoda: Under what conditions?

Mr Kobayashi: They must not cause trouble for other customers. This also applies to Japanese. They also must sufficiently understand customs and manners, and they must also understand and speak Japanese.

Mr Komoda: By "understand" you mean they must know enough Japanese for both sides to arrive at mutual understandings (ishi sotsuu)?

Mr Kobayashi: Yes. And also in case of emergencies, such as a fire in the bath room. I'm sure foreigners know what to do, but if they cannot communicate well enough to understand how to use fire escapes, we thought it appropriate for them to have the ability to carry on a conversation.

Mr Komoda: You also made one years' residency in Japan a condition?

Mr Kobayashi: Yes.

Mr Komoda: Why is that?

Mr Kobayashi: In Japan, a bath is something with customs cultivated over a long history. This is not to say that foreigners don't have their own customs, but some of those will cause feelings of incongruity (iwakan) with Japanese. So if we decided to include as one condition for entry knowing some of the manners and customs involved.

Mr Komoda: After foreigners fulfill the conditions, did you have them register their names as members?

Mr Kobayashi: Yes.

Mr Komoda: And after that, they get in as members with no more conditions?

Mr Kobayashi: Yes.

Mr Komoda: These days, about how many foreigners use Yunohana in, say, a month?

Mr Kobayashi: A figure of about two percent.

Mr Komoda: Of the total?

Mr Kobayashi: Yes.

Mr Komoda: As a round figure, how many foreigners does this consitute?

Mr Kobayashi: About sixty to seventy people.

Mr Komoda: How many "members" are now registered?

Mr Kobayashi: There are some one-time-only tourists on this list, and some come in from out of town, so we don't have specific figures.

Mr Komoda: Haven't you counted?

Mr Kobayashi: No. Some come for the first time, and other times, even when they don't strictly fulfill all of the conditions, we still let some of them in.

Mr Komoda: So you're saying this is on a case-by-case basis?

Mr Kobayashi: Yes.

Mr Komoda: Do you still refuse sometimes?

Mr Kobayashi: Yes.

Mr Komoda: Doesn't that cause problems?

Mr Kobayashi: Yes it does. Even when we don't understand each other's language and we let them in, some of them don't know the manners and what to do. With those people, there is trouble, or rather a lack of mutual understandings, and that causes problems.

Mr Komoda: So you're saying you refuse if problems occur?

Mr Kobayashi: Yes.

Mr Komoda: You say that about two percent of your customers are foreign now. Do your Japanese customers have anything to say about this?

Mr Kobayashi: There are many opinions. "So you let them in after all." "Why did you let them in?" Some of them just turn around and go home without saying a word. All sorts of opinions.

Mr Komoda: Are there some who are glad you let foreigners in?

Mr Kobayashi: Nobody has said as such, but some have intimated "So you have let them in, all right".

Mr Komoda: No further questions.

(Second Defendant lawyer Mr Itou declines to examine Mr Kobayashi)

(First name added to distinguish between her and Defendant Otaru City's lawyer, Mr Itou)

Ms Itou Hideko: There have been bathing facilities other than Yunohana which have refused entry to foreigners, right?

Mr Kobayashi: Yes.

Ms Itou Hideko: Are you aware of when baths in Otaru first started refusing foreigners?

Mr Kobayashi: (pause) I had heard something of it before, but not realy until after we opened and it all became so publicized.

Ms Itou Hideko: Leaving out all the press publicity and all the attention it garnered, when were you first aware that foreigners were being refused entry into bathhouses in Otaru City?

Mr Kobayashi: I don't have any specific memory, but I think it was around 1993 or 1994.

Ms Itou Hideko: Where was this?

Mr Kobayashi: At some Otaru baths. I had also heard of problems at Green Sauna.

Ms Itou Hideko: But Green Sauna was not refusing foreigners, where they?

Mr Kobayashi: Not refusing, but I had heard of troubles there.

Ms Itou Hideko: I am asking about refusing entry to all foreigners.

Mr Kobayashi: There was no specific name, but I had heard of a bathhouse in Otaru which was refusing entry.

Ms Itou Hideko: Do you know the name now?

Mr Kobayashi: Yes.

Ms Itou Hideko: What was it?

Mr Kobayashi: Osupa.

Ms Itou Hideko: Around July 1999, were you approached a number of times about this problem by the City of Otaru?

Mr Kobayashi: Yes. We were approached by many people, as well as the City.

Ms Itou Hideko: What was discussed?

Mr Kobayashi: People saying, "Won't you let foreigners in?" "We have our troubles too". It was a number of exchanges of views.

Ms Itou Hideko: What kinds of people came by?

Mr Kobayashi: At that time?

Ms Itou Hideko: Yes, at that time.

Mr Kobayashi: At the time you mentioned?

Ms Itou Hideko: Yes, around July 1999.

Mr Kobayashi: I remember a vist from the General Affairs Division Chief, and also from the International Affairs Desk, both of the City of Otaru.

Ms Itou Hideko: What tack did you take with them?

Mr Kobayashi: I explained our side of the story.

Ms Itou Hideko: You told them what you have told us here today in courtt?

Mr Kobayashi: Yes.

Ms Itou Hideko: And then?

Mr Kobayashi: And then we all wondered if we couldn't discuss this in a broader context.

Ms Itou Hideko: Did you not say, "We at Yunohana will not stop refusing foreigners, that we will decide these things on our own"? (dokuji no handan de yarimasu)

Mr Kobayashi: I don't think I used the expression, "We will not stop refusing."

Ms Itou Hideko: What expression did you use?

Mr Kobayashi: I said that unless more people out there understand what we are going through, we are going to remain searching for some sort of a solution. They asked us to stop excluding right now, and we said that we needed more time. That sort of talk.

Ms Itou Hideko: So you did not say, "we will decide these things on our own"?

Mr Kobayashi: We said that we will run our business on our own. (dokuji no keiei ga arimasu) That is part of the record.

Ms Itou Hideko: You mentioned before about the random survey you took during the months of November and December, 1999.

Mr Kobayashi: Yes.

Ms Itou Hideko: You didn't ask foreigners to participate, did you?

Mr Kobayashi: That's right. As I said before, we generally asked people who were using our facilities, and since foreigners were not using our facilities at the time, almost all, if not all, of our responses are from Japanese.

Ms Itou Hideko: Have you ever been overseas and told that because you are a Japanese, you are not allowed in, or been refused service for being a Japanese?

Mr Kobayashi: I have.

Ms Itou Hideko: What happened?

Mr Kobayashi: It was when we visited the American south. I was over there on business for my previous company, and I was sitting at a counter with one of my clients. We went there for a beer. Not too many Japanese came there, it seems, and we were asked if we were Korean. When we said we were Japanese, he didn't come back for a while, he didn't take our order. It was an experience sort of like, "Get out of here and go to bed."

Ms Itou Hideko: When was this?

Mr Kobayashi: (pause) About seven or eight years ago.

Ms Itou Hideko: How did you feel at that time?

Mr Kobayashi: I felt pretty lousy, but I just said, "I'll never go back there again, I'll go someplace else." We did go someplace else after that.

Ms Itou Hideko: With a rotten feeling like that, didn't you feel like appealing to somebody about it?

Mr Kobayashi: When we told our tour guide about it, he told us to sue them. But I didn't want to go that far. After all, the restaurateur probably had his reasons, I thought.

Ms Itou Hideko: Going back to that survey, didn't it occur to you that you should know and understand how foreigners were thinking and feeling about this?

Mr Kobayashi: I did wonder what it would be like if the shoe was on the other foot, and did ask people around me what they felt, as long as there were some mutual understandings. So, as I said, we had no intention of discriminating. It's just a matter of keeping our business in business. Please understand that.

Ms Itou Hideko: It is not a matter for you to make me understand. That is not what I am asking here. From July 1998, after Yunohana opened and started refusing entry to foreigners, there were many fingers being pointed at you, and the City of Otaru came around a number of times to see you, right?

Mr Kobayashi: Yes.

Ms Itou Hideko: So given the fact that this is racial discrimination, what sort of awareness do you have of the issue?

Mr Kobayashi: I understand that racial discrimination is impermissible, and we did try to walk in the other person's shoes. The fact is that we had no intention to racially discriminate.

Ms Itou Hideko: So you think that what Yunohana did is not racial discrimination?

Mr Kobayashi: Yes.

Ms Itou Hideko: So you think that as long as the reason is an economic or management one, that this type of discrimination is unavoidable? (itashikata nai)

Mr Kobayashi: I wouldn't make such an extreme argument. I am well aware that this situation will not do. It's just that it is a necessary measure to preserve our livelihood.

Ms Itou Hideko: So you are making the case that you would pray (negawakuba) you wouldn't have to discriminate like this, but for economic reasons this is permissible discrimination.

Mr Kobayashi: I think the use of the word "permissible" is odd here.

Ms Itou Hideko: But that is how you think?

Mr Kobayashi: Yes.

Ms Itou Hideko: Do you think the same way now?

Mr Kobayashi: We might have some degree of that now, but we have taken decisive steps to resolve this situation, and if things improve we have plans to open our doors to foreigners without any conditions.

Ms Itou Hideko: You mention these conditions. They were put into effect from January 17, 2001, correct?

Mr Kobayashi: Yes.

Ms Itou Hideko: Unmistakably?

Mr Kobayashi: Yes.

Ms Itou Hideko: And since you have, have the numbers of Japanese customers gone down?

Mr Kobayashi: No, they have not gone down in terms of definite numbers (suuchi teki ni). We will make efforts to keep improving our business conditions (eigyou doryoku)

Ms Itou Hideko: What sort of work will you be doing?

Mr Kobayashi: For example, putting out more commercials and letting more people know about Yunohana. We are actually doing that now, with shuttle buses and other measures to increase our customer base.

Ms Itou Hideko: And thanks to this work, your Japanese clientele has not dropped, right?

Mr Kobayashi: No, it hasn't.

Ms Itou Hideko: So don't you think that means as long as you made these efforts to bring in more customers, you would not have had to refuse foreigners in the first place?

Mr Kobayashi: As I said before, we had that incident with Green Sauna, and our refusals were a measure taken in response to that painful experience.

Ms Itou Hideko: Are you saying that your refusals were first due to the experiences you had at Green Sauna? Taking this decisive step of a "JAPANESE ONLY" policy and refusing foreigners was something done only within a month and a half of opening Yunohana, right?

Mr Kobayashi: Yes. As I said before, rather than saying it was something we did right away, there were complaints from customers, they were difficult to deal with, and those complaints were increasing day by day like at Green Sauna. We were in a bind as to what to do. We still are today. Amidst all this we decided on that exclusionary measure, yet we still wondered if if was the right thing to do. And with the start of the new year and the 21st Century, we asked for everyone's understanding as we took a step of opening our doors to foreigners with conditions for entry.

Ms Itou Hideko: One of those conditions is more than one year's residency in Japan, right? Or one year's stay, right?

Mr Kobayashi: Yes.

Ms Itou Hideko: When rationalizing this policy, you talked about Japan's long history and culture of bathing facilities, right?

Mr Kobayashi: Not of bathing facilities per se, but of Japanese bathing.

Ms Itou Hideko: So of bathing culture. So you have testified that in order to eliminate Japanese feelings of incongruity, more than one year here is a condition for entry, right?

Mr Kobayashi: Yes.

Ms Itou Hideko: Bathing might have a cultural aspect, yes, but don't you think that bathing has another facet, that of being a minimal requirement for personal hygiene and the maintenance of human life?

Mr Kobayashi: This will become a history lesson, but looking at its origins in the Edo Period and the role of baths in the Postwar Period, there is something special involved here. Nowadays, I think most people come to our baths not just to get clean, but also to relax. Now this becomes a matter of manners, and on that score Japanese too are guilty of bad manners. Young people nowadays put their towels in the bath when they get in. And it's not only manners. With foreigners, there is the problem of body odor, the rumor of disease, things like that which get brought up.

Ms Itou Hideko: Nowadays, young Japanese too make problems with their manners, so you say.

Mr Kobayashi: Yes.

Ms Itou Hideko: What do you do in this case?

Mr Kobayashi: Our staff gives them a warning. I also know that customers take care in warning each other in times like these.

Ms Itou Hideko: You said that the refusals first started with Russians' bathing manners, right?

Mr Kobayashi: Not just manners.

Ms Itou Hideko: What other than manners?

Mr Kobayashi: Body odor, theft, disease.

Ms Itou Hideko: But things like body odor and rumors of the spread of disease are all things that, even if correct, are not something that the individual foreigner can do anything about, right? Japanese can and do freely spread rumors, right? But without checking to see if there were any truth to them, can you say that you thought about how to deal with foreigners on an individual basis?

Mr Kobayashi: We thought about how to deal with this, there are limits to what one individual private enterprise can do. For example, remove the language barrier by hiring someone who can speak Russian, speak English, speak Chinese--all things we did consider. But this is not economically feasible for one private business. Also, of course we would like to open our doors to all, but as I said, listening to our customers, we saw there were a lot of them with misgivings about it. What I wanted to say aloud to all was, international communication in all its forms is just fine and dandy, what with all the sister-city relationships, exchange programs, and economic ties, but it is no more than something very limited in scope.

Ms Itou Hideko: So you are saying that the problem with international communication is all limited to a few people, all form but no substance, with no effect on the day-to-day level of mutual understandings? And the latter part is exactly what matters?

Mr Kobayashi: Yes.

Ms Itou Hideko: For example, you mentioned the language barrier.

Mr Kobayashi: Yes.

Ms Itou Hideko: Did you ever consider asking a volunteer who can speak Russian to work for you?

Mr Kobayashi: When we first opened, we had a staff member who could speak Russian. We still employ someone who can speak English. We did try, but we are in business for sixteen hours a day and can't have him or her on the premises at all times.

Ms Itou Hideko: So didn't you think about letting in foreigners when the person was on duty, or else have the person ready when troubles came up?

Mr Kobayashi: No, we assumed many things on a case-by-case basis. If there was a language problem, the City was there as a backup and told us to call them. However, the response in this situation would be slow.

Ms Itou Hideko: So you decided that as a fait accompli. In other words, you opened Yunohana in July, 1998, and took the step of refusing all foreigners one month later in August.

Mr Kobayashi: (nods)

Ms Itou Hideko: You arrived at that conclusion after one month?

Mr Kobayashi: Yes.

Ms Itou Hideko: Does this mean you didn't consider, when refusing all foreigners after looking at the problems generally caused by Russian sailors, that a problem of racial discrimination would occur?

Mr Kobayashi: We did consider that. However, we could not just refuse Russians entry. That would be egregious. (rokotsu)

Ms Itou Hideko: So, you did not refuse just Russians, but you did not consider trying harder to tenaciously deal with individuals with bad manners, for even one more month?

Mr Kobayashi: As I said before, we had that problem with Green Sauna, we did make pamphlets there in Russian at our own cost, and we took several measures. None of them were effective.

Ms Itou Hideko: This is related to the Green Sauna issue, but is Mr Hashimoto, of the Hashimoto Group, the company president (shachou) or chairman (kaichou).

Mr Kobayashi: He is currently the chairman.

Ms Itou Hideko: Did Chairman Hashimoto approach the City of Otaru, offering Green Sauna as a specialty bathing facility specifically for foreigners?

Mr Kobayashi: Yes.

Ms Itou Hideko: Is this because Earthcure decided that it did not want to cause trouble by refusing all foreigners, so it had to do something to give foreigners a place to bathe?

There was that, and there also was the fact that if they were to get used to Japanese bathing manners and customs, they could come take a bath at Yunohana. The Green Sauna facility could be useful in that regard.

Ms Itou Hideko: What was Otaru City's response to that?

Mr Kobayashi: There were no finances, there was no budget, they said.

Ms Itou Hideko: Green Sauna is the property of Hashimoto Kensetsu, right?

Mr Kobayashi: Hashimoto Kensetsu, and after that Kyouei Travel.

Ms Itou Hideko: So you proposed this to the City in hopes of receiving a "preferential measure"? (yuuguu sochi)

Mr Kobayashi: That's the gist of it.

Ms Itou Hideko: Concretely, what sort of "preferential measure" were you hoping to receive?

Mr Kobayashi: Our customers were dropping day by day, and there is a limit on how much we can cut costs, so we were hoping for water fee exclusions, tax shelters, or even a subsidy.

Ms Itou Hideko: So you requested help for Green Sauna in order that they may stay open for a place where foreigners too could take a bath?

Mr Kobayashi: Yes.

Ms Itou Hideko: What I am asking you now is this: As a facility for foreigners to bathe in, your company personally went to the City asking for help to set the place up again as a separate facility, right? Green Sauna went bankrupt. And the facilities are still there to this day unused, right?

Mr Kobayashi: Yes.

Ms Itou Hideko: So you asked Otaru City to make use (katsuyou) of Green Sauna.

Mr Kobayashi: Yes. I might add that we did approach the City once for help even while Green Sauna was in business, but due to circumstances it went under. So we were worried about the same thing happening at Yunohana, for it did, we realized we would not be brought back to life again then either.

Ms Itou Hideko: In other words, a reborn Green Sauna would be a place for foreigners exclusively to bathe.

Mr Kobayashi: Not exclusively, just a place where foreigners could bathe. Foreigner-exclusivity might have come up during the discussions, however.

Ms Itou Hideko: But Otaru City refused to help for financial reasons, right?

Mr Kobayashi: Yes. They said they could not help an individual private business like this, and there was no budget.

Ms Itou Hideko: I'm sure Earthcure must have thought a lot about the way Otaru City was involved in this whole exclusionary bathhouse problem. What sorts of thoughts did you have?

Mr Kobayashi: I wanted to appeal to them, not about the international communication as such, but rather how the City should deal with this problem continuously to gain the understanding of Otaru's citizens, as well as the basics of international communication. For example, not on a daily basis, but some times a month hire a hall for people to get to know foreigners better. If this happened, perhaps some kind of early solution to this problem would have happened. This is not something an individual business can do, so the City has to support us more on this.

Ms Itou Hideko: Has the City's support been sufficient?

Mr Kobayashi: No, it has been insufficient.

Ms Itou Hideko: What do you think has been insufficient?

Mr Kobayashi: (pause) There was a problem with how the city responded after the problem came up. Having some foresight that it might happen in the first place. I would have liked to have seen them have some organizational structure, some standpoint, maybe some informational pamphlets. All I could see was a lack of preparation. And a lack of sustainability. That's what I felt.

Ms Itou Hideko: Tell us more concretely what you felt was insufficient support towards this problem.

Mr Kobayashi: I don't believe that one can fix problems using idealistic arguments. (risouron) I am the type of person who puts a lot of weight on individual opinions, so rather than just saying, "open your doors", "we're getting a lot of complaints so let them in", I would have liked to see more concrete plans offered for what to do.

Ms Itou Hideko: In other words, in order to resolve the prejudicial feelings in the hearts of Japanese, you wanted to see the City undertake a wider variety of policies with more tenacity, right?

Mr Kobayashi: Yes, and also help provide a facility that foreigners could also use.

Ms Itou Hideko: So, you wanted more concrete measures put into place that would have incurred financial costs on the City, right?

Mr Kobayashi: Yes.

Ms Itou Hideko: There is also the possibility of establishing a local ordinance (jourei) which would stop racial discrimination. As a bathhouse owner, what do you think about this?

Mr Kobayashi: There are prospects for making it easier to let in foreigners due to the establishment of a local ordinance, but there are other aspects, such as individual mindsets, which would not be taken care of.

Ms Itou Hideko: In other words, if a local ordinance was established, you think that the City would have had to take concrete measures to enforce it. As you mentioned before, there would have to be some things done, including awareness raising for the citizens, and financial measures. In doing so, how would you as a bathing facility, as a manager, think about the establishment of a local ordinance?

Mr Kobayashi: In a sense, I would positively support it. However, I think it should be established after enough argument are heard all around from the people.

Ms Itou Hideko: As you said before in your testimony today, on January 17, 2001, Yunohana abolished its "JAPANESE ONLY" rule and let foreigners in with certain conditions. But with your efforts to improve business conditions, the numbers of your Japanese customers have not fallen.

Mr Kobayashi: Yes.

Ms Itou Hideko: How are the manners of your foreign customers, compared to before?

Mr Kobayashi: Specifically, Japanese will usually sit when showering and washing their body and hair, but some foreigners will stand and do it. We sometimes caution them once and that usually does the trick. But every now and again we see it happen, and our customers do tell us to keep and eye out and tell them off.

Ms Itou Hideko: That's because cultured people, with the same level of lifestyle, with the feeling of living in the same area as everyone else, ought to be telling each other regardless of historical time frame as a part of good business practices. Do you not think so?

Mr Kobayashi: I also think that. But it's all very well to try and do things absolutely, 100 percent, such as having a specialized monitor going around and checking up on things. We do have somebody who does that, but if he spends his time working on one thing, such as teaching people manners, things will become lopsided in other ways. People might start complaining that we aren't keeping things clean enough, etc, which we will have to deal with in the future.


Arudou: Mr Kobayashi mentioned something earlier about bathing manners and getting used to bathing customs. He inferred that if they were to get used to those customs, that would resolve the problem. However, when is a foreigner sufficiently "used to" these customs, and when is he sufficiently used to them to the same degree as a Japanese? You refused a naturalized Japanese too. I want to know why you refused a naturalized Japanese.

Mr Kobayashi: One year's residency is the condition we set, but depending on the individual's efforts, we have let people in with only three months' stay, sometimes even one or two. It depended on the individual's effort. The question is a bit unclear, but are you asking why we refused a naturalized person?

Arudou: Yes.

Mr Kobayashi: We understood that Mr Arudou was a Japanese by looking at his driver licence, which he showed at the entrance. Howevre, we had not put into effect any of the above measures, and Japanese who are on the premises would have seen his face. Somebody might have thought, "Hey, why are you in here, and why was he allowed in here?" This would have caused trouble, so we are sorry, but until we have taken care of this problem we had to refuse you.


Judge Yamada: About the survey you took of your customers. The wrote whether they approved or disapproved of letting foreigners in. Did they write reasons?

Mr Kobayashi: There was a space provided for comments.

Judge Yamada: What sort of reasons were written?

Mr Kobayashi: Some mentioned that they had had difficulties with foreigners at other facilities, others believed the bad rumors about foreigners.

Judge Yamada: Things like those you mentioned before?

Mr Kobayashi: Yes.

Judge Yamada: Not everyone had comments, right?

Mr Kobayashi: Right.

Ms Itou Hideko: No further questions.

Head Judge Sakai: You may step down.


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