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Hi Blog. We’ve seen exclusionism in Japan’s sports leagues before (baseball, hockey, the Kokutai, the Ekiden, and Sumo, for example). Now we can see that Japan uses the same exclusionary practices when it processes paying customers to participate in overseas events THROUGH Japanese companies. Such as can be seen here at the 20th Standard Charted Hong Kong Marathon, which refuses all NJ customers (and will not refund their application fees, either):
Source: http://www.hkmarathon.jp, courtesy of HW.
Screen captures of the site, dated November 9, 2015:
Note the bottom-right black box that says [ONLY JAPANESE].
This is reconfirmed when you scroll down to the next section, where it says in red script:
This tour is designed exclusively for Japanese people.
Applications from other nationalities are not acceptable. Applications from non-Japanese runners will be treated as “invalid” and any deposit payment would not be refunded.
And again in the right-hand column, just for good measure before you click on anything:
“This website is designed exclusively for Japanese people. Applications from other nationalities are not acceptable. Applications from non-Japanese runners will be treated as “invalid” and any deposit payment would not be refunded.”
Who is managing this? Again, scrolling down.
We have Kinki Nippon Tourist Agency, The Club Tourism Marathon Tour (their slogan, “Let’s run the world!”), and HIS Travel Agency (aka No. 1 Travel, which has had “Japanese Only” pricing and different (higher) prices for foreign customers in the past).
Who’s sponsoring this? The Hong Kong Amateur Athletic Association, Standard Chartered Bank, and the Hong Kong Tourist Agency. I wonder if they know this is going on.
COMMENT: What’s wrong with this? The assumption that anyone who does not have a Japanese passport is not a resident of Japan. What about those people living permanently in Japan who might like to join this tour but do not have citizenship? How are they supposed to partake in this tour? Oh, I guess as customers, they just don’t count because they’re foreign. I would love to hear how this was justified at their board meetings when they decided upon this exclusionary policy.
As submitter HW said, “Apparently marathons are only for Japanese people. I wonder if they will let us watch, though?” Dr. ARUDOU, Debito
UPDATE NOVEMBER 12, 2015: After the Hong Kong sponsors were contacted by Debito.org Readers, the Japanese marathon tour site was amended to read:
“This tour is designed exclusively for people residing in Japan. Applications from other countries are not acceptable. Applications from runners who are not residing in Japan will be treated as “invalid” and any deposit payment would not be refunded. ”
The Hong Kong Tourism Association has written (full letter below):
After receiving your email, we have immediately communicated with the Hong Kong Amateur Athletic Association (HKAAA), who is the organiser of Standard Charted Hong Kong Marathon. According to HKAAA, all people who are residing in Japan, regardless of their nationalities, are allowed to join the mentioned tour. They have already advised the tour operator “Kinki Nippon Travel” to amend relevant wordings on the registration site.
Gone is the assumption that foreigners in Japan are not residents of Japan. Bravo HKAAA and HKTA for their quick and decisive work. And also thank you Debito.org Readers.
UPDATE NOVEMBER 13, 2015:
Alas, the job is not quite done. On the application website itself, the requirement of Japanese Citizenship is still there. More details here.