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Hi Blog. As was expected (since this sort of thing is happening worldwide), the bigots unfettered by any laws against racial discrimination in Japan are doing what they do best — bigotry. While I’m aware that in a time of pandemic it’s nice to have more uplifting articles, this blog has been designed to catalog life and human rights issues in Japan. Let’s keep at it, showing how racists are portraying Covid-19 as a “foreign” virus, and making sure that foreigners don’t get the same public service or protections against it:
Local government in Japan excludes Chosen Gakko from public mask distribution
By Cho Ki-weon, Tokyo correspondent, Hankyoreh (Korean Independent Newspaper)
Posted on Mar. 12, 2020
PHOTO: Korean-Japanese and Japanese citizens protest the Japanese government’s decision to exclude Chosen Gakko schools from its complimentary children’s education policy in November 2019. (Hankyoreh archives)
A decision by a local government in Japan not to include Chosen Gakko (Korean school) kindergartners in its distribution of masks for novel coronavirus prevention has sparked protests from affected communities.
According to a Mar. 11 report in the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (Chongryon) newspaper Choson Sinbo, the city of Saitama in Saitama Prefecture excluded Saitama Korean Kindergarten and private academies from its plans to distribute 240,000 of the city’s stockpile of masks to employees working in daycare centers, kindergarten, after-school academies, and senior citizen facilities in Saitama. Upon learning of this, the principal of Saitama Korean Kindergarten inquired with the city on Mar. 10 and was told by a city official that the Korean kindergarten “is not considered a facility under Saitama city guidance and oversight, and instruction cannot be provided in cases where the masks are used inappropriately,” the newspaper reported. Representatives of the Korean kindergarten visited the city hall on Mar. 11 to protest, describing the measure as an “unforgivable action” that “cannot be ignored in human rights or humanitarian terms,” the newspaper said.
Difficulties in acquiring masks have become an issue in Japan due to the effects of the novel coronavirus outbreak. The Japanese government is currently planning to purchase 20 million masks in bulk for distribution to senior citizen facilities and daycare centers.
Kyodo News also reported a Saitama city employee as suggesting that masks might be “sold off” if provided to Korean kindergartens. A city official apologized for the remarks to the principal on Mar. 11, calling them “inappropriate,” the agency reported. It also reported a Saitama city official as expressing that the mask distribution targets may be reconsidered.
さいたま市 マスク配布、朝鮮学校幼稚部を除外 「転売されるかも」職員発言に市幹部謝罪
Rest behind paywall at https://mainichi.jp/articles/20200311/k00/00m/040/328000c
朝日新聞 2020年3月11日 23時36分
Tokyo Ramen Restaurant Won’t Allow Foreigners Because Of Coronavirus
By Brian Ashcraft, Kotaku.com, 2/20/20
Ueno Sanji, a ramen restaurant in Tokyo, is only allowing Japanese customers due to COVID-19 concerns. The owner (pictured) claims that this is not discrimination but his duty to protect his family, his employees and his loyal customers.
There have been around 75,000 cases of people infected with coronavirus in China, followed by 104 in South Korea and another 87 in Japan. Internationally, coronavirus has led to incidents of anti-Asian discrimination and xenophobia. However, the same is also happening within Asia towards Chinese people:
At Ueno Sanji, a ramen restaurant in Tokyo, an English language sign was posted reading, “Sorry!! Japanese Only Sorry!!”
The above tweet reads: “Starting today, as a countermeasure to the coronavirus, [this restaurant] is Japanese only. I have a responsibility to protect my family, my staff and Sanji junkies. Please understand that this is not discrimination.”
On Twitter, people replied in Japanese that this was in fact discrimination and even hate speech. Others pointed out that viruses don’t pay attention to nationality.
Considering that Japan has the third most cases in the world of the virus, with Japanese nationals infected with coronavirus, Ueno Sanji’s proclamation seems especially odd.
Wrote one Twitter user in Japanese, “If you are really worried about the coronavirus, then you should refuse all customers.”
They are not alone:
“INFORMATION ABOUT POLICIES TAKEN AGAINST CORONAVIRUS
“Thank you very much for being a loyal patron of our establishment.
“At the moment the Coronavirus is also greatly infecting Japan. As far as our establishment goes, our foremost thoughts are on everyone’s safety, so our staff is periodically cleaning and disinfecting everything.
“Additional measures include (largely illegible to these 55-year-old eyes, but nothing mentioning foreigners; anyone with sharper vision than mine is welcome to translate). Please understand in advance that in rare circumstances there will be a bit of a smell, but this will have no physical effect on you.
“Finally, we shall make every effort to prevent the spread of infection, so we would appreciate your understanding and cooperation.”
COMMENT: In other words, to this restaurant this is a “foreign virus” that warrants careful cleanliness for the sake of Japanese customers but outright exclusion for foreigners, including foreign residents who pose the same risk factors as any Japanese who hasn’t traveled abroad (and not including Japanese who have).
I contacted the person who tweeted these pictures, Sam Byford, a week ago for more information about the location of these signs, but no response. It might be in Kichijouji, so keep an eye out. Debito Arudou, Ph.D.
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