AFP: Justice Ministry to conduct first major survey on racism in Japan. Bravo.


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Hi Blog. Interesting development here. Given that most surveys on foreigners and government policy on foreigners don’t ask foreign residents for their input (this is a society that even excludes foreign residents from official population tallies; see here and here), this is a positive development. If any Readers get this survey, please scan it before you fill it out and send it to, and let’s see how the survey has been written up. Too many questions posed by the GOJ re foreigners slant them to produce negative outcomesincluding even questioning that racism exists. It’d be nice (not to mention more scientific) if that didn’t happen this time. Dr. ARUDOU, Debito


Justice Ministry to conduct first major survey on racism in Japan
AFP-JIJI/Japan Times OCT 30, 2016
Courtesy of OK

The Justice Ministry will conduct its first large-scale survey on racism in Japan as discrimination becomes a growing social concern, a report said Sunday.

The survey will cover 18,500 foreign residents 18 or older, the Asahi Shimbun newspaper said, adding that the results will be released by the end of March and reflected in new policies.

The poll will be conducted in 13 languages ranging from Japanese and English to Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and Portuguese, the vernacular daily said.

The questions will ask whether respondents have experienced or seen racial discrimination in daily life or in the workplace, and what action they want the government to take to eliminate it, the report said.

The number of foreign residents has grown in recent years, but their ratio to the total population still stands at less than 2 percent, according to ministry data.

No comment on the report was available from the ministry Sunday.

Incidents of hate speech directed against specific ethnic groups on the streets or online have broken out in recent years. Most are directed at ethnic Koreans who ended up in Japan when the Korean Peninsula was under Japanese colonial rule between 1910 and 1945, and their offspring.

In a rare court ruling against racial discrimination, a vocal anti-Korean group was ordered in 2013 to stop its hate speech campaign against a Pyongyang-linked school and pay some ¥12 million in damages.

The Diet in June brought in legislation promoting efforts to eliminate discriminatory speech and behavior against non-Japanese people.

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11 comments on “AFP: Justice Ministry to conduct first major survey on racism in Japan. Bravo.

  • I’d like to take the survey, but I also reckon that whatever official conclusions are reached may be suspect. I’ll keep my eye on this. Is there a way to contact the Justice Ministry and get them to send us a copy of the survey?

  • Id be more interested in a lottery, where you could bet on which outcome you think would succeed

    5 years from now, lots of foreigners living and succeeding in Japan or most have left?

    I know where my wager would be. But hey, what do I know.

  • Like I’ve said before, the way Japanese people treat foreigners is simply an extension of how they treat each other. Do you actually think the Japanese are really kind, caring, compassionate, and tolerant of each other?? HELL NO. Peel away the superficial politeness, and what do you see? Bullying; lying; underhandedness; forced conformity; overworked to death; pushing and elbowing on the trains. The Japanese are quite nasty when you look underneath the politeness. Being foreign is just an excuse to do what they would normally do to anyone they didn’t like. In other words, discrimination against foreigners isn’t the root of the problem. Sure, passing laws would help somewhat, but the solution needs to start from elementary school.

  • Jim di Griz says:

    I haven’t made a prediction for a while, so if you’ll indulge me…

    The survey results will be that;
    Japan is a ‘safe’ and ‘clean’ country, and that foreigners feel that Japanese are overwhelmingly ‘polite’ and ‘helpful’ ESPECIALLY COMPARED TO OTHER COUNTRIES!

    Some respondents reported some experiences that are clearly a result of ‘confusion’ regarding ‘Japan’s unique culture’.

    The government will form a panel to discuss recommendations for measures to ensure that foreigners don’t have ‘regrettable’ ‘misunderstandings’ in future.

    The end result being that the J-gov will be able to deny and apologize for anti-NJ racism, and both simultaneously sweep the issue under the carpet, blame the victim, and emphasize their own uniqueness all at the same time!

    Quite a neat trick.

  • And from the Japanese side: sixteen percent feel uncomfortable about being served by foreign workers (better stay away from urban supermarkets and convenience stores, then). Twenty percent don’t want foreigners as co-workers, and forty percent do not wish foreigners to move into their neighborhoods, according to a survey conducted by the Japan Institute for Labor Policy and Training.

    40% ‘uncomfortable’ about increasing foreign population in their neighborhood: survey
    November 11, 2016 (Mainichi Japan)

    Some 40 percent of people surveyed in a recent opinion poll on work and life said they would feel uncomfortable if the number of foreign residents living in their neighborhood increased, while about 20 percent feel resistant to having foreign co-workers, it has been learned.

    The survey was conducted by the independent administrative body Japan Institute for Labor Policy and Training in November and December 2015. Of some 4,000 people aged 20 and older who were asked to take the survey, a total of 2,118 of them responded.

    Asked about working with foreign colleagues, 38.2 percent said they “don’t feel uncomfortable” about foreign co-workers, followed by those who said they “don’t particularly feel uncomfortable” about working with them at 37.1 percent. Those who said they feel somewhat uncomfortable about foreign colleagues made up 17.1 percent of respondents, while pollees who said they feel deeply uncomfortable about working with foreigners were at 3 percent.

    In a question about being served by foreign workers as customers, a total of 16.4 percent said they either feel “somewhat” or “deeply” uncomfortable about being served by such workers.

    At the same time, while a total of 55.2 percent of respondents said they are not uncomfortable about the foreign population increasing in their neighborhood, 41.7 percent said they feel resistant to the foreign population growing in their community.

    The Japanese government is considering working on measures to expand the number of non-Japanese workers in the country as part of its work-life reform policy. However, an official from the institute that carried out the survey points out that Japan needs to work on not only accepting foreigners as workers but how to accept them in society as a whole.

    Japanese version:
    外国人に抵抗感 「近隣」4割「同僚」2割
    毎日新聞2016年11月11日 東京夕刊






  • @ Becky #8,

    Wow, that’s shocking but hardly surprising!
    And those are just the ones who aren’t embarrassed to voice discriminatory opinions. How many others felt the same but were too ashamed to actually say it?

  • I have recieved that particular survey (Japanese and English versions) today, scanned, and sent it. I am looking forward to your analysis of this survey, Debito.

    — Duly received with great thanks, Sven! Will get to it shortly!

  • Realitycheck says:

    Sorry to sound cynical but having been sent the questionnaire by my local ward office I really don’t want it. It has far more questions than the Japanese Census I filled out last year – and kudos to the J Government for making the Census a fairly painless, short and reasonably private exercise.

    The survey does not make me feel comfortable – quite the opposite. The intentions may be good but it has the usual interrogatory aspects and while lack of privacy is part of Jp culture, until relatively recently in my culture privacy had the backing of a traditional irreverence for authority and a ‘you won’t be a busybody here’ attitude.

    My local ward office sent it and I wouldn’t be surprised if they get to see any information were I naïve enough to fill out the survey.

    I am not impressed with the attitude to non Japanese in my ward – I can’t understand why it has a reputation for being liberal (no, it’s not Shinjuku or Shibuya but close)as my dealings with some ward staff and other public servants elsewhere here have been characterised by a familiar ‘don’t want to know and certainly won’t try to understand when the foreigner is speaking clear and polite Japanese’.

    Believe me, surveys won’t change anything. They will simply have the information sent to whoever wants to look at it and they will determine that we are over-reacting or don’t understand Japanese culture. Sorry to sound so cynical.


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