NHK: Ibaraki Public Health Center targets foreigners as vectors of Coronavirus, then retracts discriminatory claims as “misleading” and “inappropriate”

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Hi Blog.  There’s a bit flap at the moment about defeated revisions to Japan’s Immigration rules due to the awful death by official negligence of a NJ detainee, but this will take more research and write up on my part as a separate blog entry. (Debito.org Readers are already discussing it here.). I’ll get to it shortly, as I’m deep into a different writing project right now. Meanwhile, let me put up this quickie for the record:

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Ibaraki health center warns ‘many coronavirus patients infected by foreigners’
BY TOKYO REPORTER STAFF ON MAY 22, 2021, Courtesy of Niklas and TG.
https://www.tokyoreporter.com/japan-news/ibaraki-health-center-warns-many-coronavirus-patients-infected-by-foreigners/

IBARAKI (TR) – A health center in Itako City this week retracted an “inappropriate” advisory that stated foreigners are the source of an increase in novel coronavirus infections, reports NHK (May 22).

On May 19 and 20, the Itako Health Center distributed the notice by email to agricultural cooperatives and city halls within its jurisdiction.

The document stated, “There are many coronavirus patients likely infected by foreigners.”

It advised, “If you talk to a foreigner, wear a mask. As well, please do not eat with them.”

On May 21, the health center and the Ibaraki Prefectural Infectious Disease Control Division retracted the document. “The document’s content was inappropriate,” they said.

“Though we had no intention of discriminating against foreigners,” the Itako Health Center told NHK, “we are sorry if any of the expressions were misleading.”

Shohei Sugita, a lawyer who supports the rights of foreigners, points out that Article 14 out the Constitution does not permit such distinction based on nationality since it leads to discrimination.

“Distinguishing between Japanese and foreigners may give the impression that infections are spreading only due to foreigners, which is very disappointing,” said Sugita.

ENDS
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“外国人と食事しないように”感染予防啓発文書に保健所が記載
NHK News 2021年5月22日 5時30分, courtesy of Jaocnanoni, RO, MMT, BS,  and others
https://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/html/20210522/amp/k10013044921000.html 

茨城県の保健所が外国人が働く農家に対して新型コロナウイルスの感染予防を呼びかけた文書に「外国人と一緒に食事をしないように」などと書かれていたことがわかりました。保健所は内容が不適切だったとして文書を撤回しました。

茨城県の潮来保健所によりますと、今月19日から20日にかけて、新型コロナウイルスへの感染予防について外国人が働いている農家に向けた文書を保健所の管内の農協や市役所にメールで送りました。

この文書には「外国人から感染した可能性が疑われる新型コロナウイルス患者が多く発生している」と書かれています。

そのうえで「外国人と会話するときは必ずマスクをつけてください」とか、「外国人と一緒に食事をしないようにしてください」などと書かれていました。

「文書の内容は不適切」と撤回

文書を出したあと外部から保健所に「不適切ではないか」との指摘があったということで、茨城県感染症対策課と潮来保健所は21日、「文書の内容は不適切だった」として文書を撤回しました。

潮来保健所はNHKの取材に対し「外国人を差別する意図は全くありませんでしたが、誤解を招く表現があったとしたら申し訳ありませんでした」と話しています。

今回の文書について外国人の支援活動を行っている杉田昌平弁護士は「行政が外国人と明示して差別を助長させかねない表現をすることは憲法14条の法の下の平等の原則に照らしてもあってはならない。日本人と外国人を分けて表現したことは外国人にのみ感染が広がっているような印象を与えかねず、大変残念な表現だ」と話しています。
ENDS
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COMMENT: “Misleading”?! “Inappropriate”?! “Unintentional”?! How about unscientific and discriminatory, especially for an official bureau safeguarding public health that should know better? But given what we know at Debito.org about Japan’s constant “Blame Game”, used to distract from official policy errors and scapegoat Non-Japanese for just about anything, we could see it coming.

The bigger surprise is how quickly NHK jumped on this so quickly and got it retracted. Bravo. Media watchdogs are supposed to look out for the general public, including Non-Japanese Residents (even though they generally don’t). Please get ready to do more of the same in future. Debito Arudou, Ph.D.

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6 comments on “NHK: Ibaraki Public Health Center targets foreigners as vectors of Coronavirus, then retracts discriminatory claims as “misleading” and “inappropriate”

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    ‘ unscientific and discriminatory’?
    I think we can slam them harder than that.
    I think it’s ‘a lie’ and ‘racist’ and such racist lies are such a normal part of Japanese life that such an announcement could have been made in the first place with no one thinking that it was horrendously inappropriate.
    Seriously, where’s Osaka and all her fake woke virtual signaling about racial discrimination? Seems she could teach her Japanese countrymen way more that those American foreigners she’s always banging on about.

    Reply
  • Not surprising. Tone deaf too considering the over the top reactions to “Asian bashing because they caused the virus” in the US – there were multiple newspaper headlines and stories on the nightly news about this “racist behaviour”.

    The irony too – I imagine most of these “coronavirus spreading foreigners” could fly home, quarantine, get both injections two week apart then fly back to Japan, and quarantine again months before the inept Japanese government rolls out the jabs. I seriously believe the general population won’t get jabs until late this year, early next. I am waiting to see for a mass influx of Japanese rushing to Guam if they open up jabs for tourists.

    Reply
    • Jim Di Griz says:

      Geoff, ‘anti-Asian hate speech legislation’ has been big news on Japanese news shows all last week.
      Nobody mentions that Tokyo’s test positivity rate is a solid 10% and when numbers were 1000 a day they were testing 10,000 a day, today is in the 500 range and (unmentioned) tests were 5,200.
      Only ‘Tokyo’s numbers are down (yeay!)’.
      Priorities people, c’mon!

      Reply
  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Speaking of coronavirus, anyone see Japan Times?
    Take your pick;
    Mass vaccination picks up steam?
    https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/05/24/national/japan-mass-vaccination-sites-open/

    Tokyo reports (only!) 340 infections (down from 1200 two weeks ago by taking literally no action whatsoever!);
    https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/05/24/national/japan-coronavirus-may24/

    And sandwiched between the two, the medical system collapses; people dying of covid at home, ventilators and beds at Max capacity, and medicine stockpiles exhausted;
    https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/05/24/national/osaka-medical-system/

    These stories don’t make sense seen together.
    BBC documentary maker described this perfectly over 10 years ago. It’s a concerted effort to confuse the reader so that they automatically disregard all news, allowing those in power to just do whatever they want with no fear of being held accountable (or in the case of English language news for NJ, no one caring what the truth is).

    https://youtu.be/KOY4Ka-GBus

    Reply
  • Thanks for blogging about this, but the blame game goes on! People on Japanese social media now claim that foreigners are entering Japan for free COVID treatments.

    https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20210525/p2a/00m/0li/017000c

    I wonder how that would even work, since only residents are currently allowed to enter (except residents traveling from India and some other Asian countries). The article does a good job at debunking this nonsense, but seriously, if you use your brain for 2 seconds this article wouldn‘t be needed.

    On another note, the movie Ushiku will be shown for free on May 27th. If anyone is interested, you can register here: https://www.ushikufilm.com/en/watch/

    The movie is about detainees held in Ushiku Immigration center. It was shot with a hidden camera inside the facility. There will be a Q&A session after the screening and you can submit your questions after registering.

    Reply
  • Jim Di Griz says:

    In related news…
    Fascist police state that never kicked its military junta era ideology starts mass vaccinating it’s police and military whilst doctors, nurses, over-65s, those with health conditions, teachers and other essential workers still waiting.
    https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/06/14/national/mass-vaccination-police/

    Seriously, it tells you how much like the PRC or North Korea Japan really is when cops are prioritized ahead of doctors and nurses. God forbid the state should lose the means to enforce its power!

    Reply

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