(Translation and comments by Benci's Olaf Karthaus)

The following appeared in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, one of the biggest conservative newspapers in Germany.

Foreigners have to stay outside of Japanese Bath houses

(Auslaender muessen in Japans Badehaeusern draussen bleiben)

[This is a well known phrase in Germany which originated from the signs in front of german butcher shops showing dogs and the sentence "we have to stay outside". This phrase was taken up by human rights groups in human rights issues. This title is JUST on the point. Bravo!]

Tokyo, Feb 1, 2000 (AFP) The German embassy in Japan protested against a ban that does not allow foreigners to visit two public bathhouses.

In the north Japanese city of Otaru there apparently had been a problem with Russian sailors, who troubled other bathers in the bathhouses, an embassy spokesperson said on Tuesday.

Thus several bathhouses saw the only possibility to ban visits of all foreigners. The japanese visitors were angered, because they see the bathhouses with hot springs traditionally as aplace of silence and relax, in which one speaks only in whispering tones.

The protest letter to the major of Otaru was already written last year, said the embassy spokesperson. A German guest complained, that with signs saying "only for Japanese" and "due to the circumstances, we don't accept foreigners" foreign guests were kept away. The letter showed its
effect in the meantime. The city assembly had pamphlets printed that explain the code of behaviour.

This is apparently not along the lines of Japanese visitors. The Japan Times reported that one of the bathhouses had questioned their guests and found out that more than half would not like to share the bath with foreigners.