The City of Otaru's Court Testimony

HEISEI 13 (wa) DAI 206-GOU
APRIL 15, 2002 1:30 PM-4:30PM

(click here to see Hearing Eight Index page)


Translation by Miura Mami and Arudou Debito
(Important points put in BOLDFACE by Arudou Debito)
(Defendant Lawyer Mr Itou's Examination immediately follows)
(Click here to skip down to Plaintiff Lawyer Ms Itou Hideko's cross-examination)

(Defendant is sworn in for testimony)

Defendant Lawyer Itou (Mr): Is this the deposition which you signed and sealed?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes.

Mr Itou: As for its contents, are the facts correct as you see them?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes.

Mr Itou: From June 1999 until March 2002, did you serve as the head of the General Affairs Section, International Relations Desk?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes.

Mr Itou: What were the main responsibilities of your post?

Mr Takeuchi: For foreigners living in Otaru, in order to have them know more about Otaru City, we publish information papers about once a month, to give information about Otaru City through city visitation schemes, and cultural experience exchanges, and Japanese lessons, and other events held in Otaru City. We also carry out activities related to sister city exchanges.

Mr Itou: How many workers were in your section at that time?

Mr Takeuchi: When I first was put in charge of this section, there were four.

Mr Itou: When the Yunohana Case, the subject of this lawsuit, first came up, who was assigned to deal with with this issue? Is it the person in charge of the International Exchange Desk who deals with it?

Mr Takeuchi: We at the International Exchange Desk deal with it. This case also involved bathing and tourist facilities, so it also falls under the jurisdictictions of the Department of Public Health and the Tourism Section. We cooperated.

Mr Itou: Which Department does the Tourism Section belong to?

Mr Takeuchi: The Department of Economics (keizaibu).

Mr Itou: So in other words, the Department of Public Health, the Tourism Section, and the International Desk of the General Affairs Department were the city authorities in charge?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes.

Mr Itou: By the way, until June 1999 when you came to this section, what other posts did you have?

Mr Takeuchi: I was in the Department of Economics before, in charge of development of local storefront streets and basic business promotion.

Mr Itou: Soon after you took charge of the International Desk in June 1999, did you receive complaints about Yunohana refusing foreigners?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes.

Mr Itou: Can you recall the substance of these complaints?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes. I think they were about July 1999.

Mr Itou: Do you remember who and what kind of complaints were made?

Mr Takeuchi: The person who had been refused had been a Japanese male married to a foreigner living in Sapporo (sic). They came as a family. The one who made the complaint to the City directly was the one who had been refused. But we had received complaints from a friend of this person, and we were informed of what had happened.

Mr Itou: Before you received these complaints, were you aware that Yunohana had been refusing entry to foreigners?

Mr Takeuchi: I heard from the predecessor of my post that there is this kind of problem in Otaru.

Mr Itou: What kind of action did you take having assumed this post and received this complaint?

Mr Takeuchi: I wanted to know more about the situation on the ground there, so I called Mr Hashimoto of Yunohana, whom I thought was the president of the company, to hear his side of the story.

Mr Itou: Did you actually talk to Mr Hashimoto over the phone?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes.

Mr Itou: Briefly, what kind of conversation did you have?

Mr Takeuchi: First, I told him that I wanted to meet and hear him out, because Yunohana was refusing foreigners. He said that at a sauna he used to operate, there were problems with some Russians getting drunk and causing a fuss. Because of this, the number of Japanese customers dropped, and they had choice but to shut their doors permanently. This is why Yunohana refuses foreigners. He said that my predecessor is fully aware of this situation, so talk to him about it and call me back if anything is unclear. If I wanted to meet him, he would be willing to after I was briefed by my predecessor.

Mr Itou: According to your written deposition, Hashimoto refused to meet you, saying that he has no intention of saying anything further about this issue. Is this what happened?

Mr Takeuchi: He told me to talk to my predecessor first, because he would know about this problem. He also said that he has no intention of saying anything further. If I still wanted to talk to him after talking to my predecessor, then be in touch.

Mr Itou: A few days after that, you and members of the Dept of Public Health and the Tourism Section went down to Yunohana to talk.

Mr Takeuchi: Yes.

Mr Itou: And the person who received you was Mr Kobayashi, who appeared as the witness a short time ago?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes, we met Mr Kobayashi.

Mr Itou: What happened?

Mr Takeuchi: First, we asked what had happened at the bathhouse. He told us that as Yunohana as a policy was refusing foreigners because of some bitter experiences. At a sauna they used to run, Russian bathers refused to follow rules and caused problems for other customers. Japanese customers stayed away.

Mr Itou: After hearing his side of the story, what did the City representatives say?

Mr Takeuchi: We thought that to refuse foreigners just because they are foreigners is racial discrimination. So we asked them to kindly stop it and let them in.

Mr Itou: So am I right in understanding that the City from the start recognized that refusing foreigners is racial discrimination?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes. I felt so personally, and spoke with them in that vein. Even after reading up on this and hearing what Yunohana had to say, I still demanded they let in foreigners.

Mr Itou: After that, was there a meeting with the City Groups Related to International Affairs (kokusai kouryuu kanren dantai)?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes.

Mr Itou: Tell me about events which led up to this meeting.

Mr Takeuchi: First, this issue was a large problem prior to this meeting, and we had asked one isolated facility to stop refusing entry to foreigners. But we thought we must recognize this as a problem involving the whole city. So we talked to organizations which are involved in international relations on a daily basis. We held this meeting to hear many opinions about the problem involving Otaru bathing facilities and the situation leading up to it.

Mr Itou: Was the first meeting on October 26, 1999?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes.

Mr Itou: Were the members of the meeting chosen by the City?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes.

Mr Itou: On what basis did you choose these members?

Mr Takeuchi: For example, there were groups and organizations which invite exchange students, and promote many different types of international exchanges. First and foremost we wanted to bring together these sorts of people. That's how we chose them. These were the groups who were bringing together people for international exchanges on a daily basis, and we wanted their input.

Mr Itou: Did you have an established City forum of international exchange groups, or did you talk to the individual organizations one by one?

Mr Takeuchi: We talked to the individual organizations.

Mr Itou: About this meeting, one of the Plaintiffs requested that he be allowed to attend the meeting. Did you hear about this?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes.

Mr Itou: Was he refused entry?

Mr Takeuchi: He made his request right before the first meeting, so we refused.

Mr Itou: Who refused him?

Mr Takeuchi: One of my subordinates, over the phone.

Mr Itou: Did you do this with the intention of refusing entry to foreigners?

Mr Takeuchi: No, not at all.

Mr Itou: The meetings were held a number of times. What kind of discussions were held?

Mr Takeuchi: First, we as the City of Otaru said that there is a problem here, and discussed the events which led up to it. Then we heard opinions from all sides about this. Among them, there was the opinion that this is a difficult problem because there are also some issues of a business's right to stay in business. The majority said that this leads to discrimination, so something must be done to improve the situation as soon as possible.

Mr Itou: Did the City report the proceedings of your past meeting with Yunohana to those present at this meeting?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes. We submitted a lot of information to them, including newspaper articles and so on, reporting that we had requested many times that the facilities change their ways. But we also explained that because the City has no power to force them to change their ways (kyousei ryoku ga nai) that the situation remained unchanged.

Mr Itou: The second meeting was held November 5, 1999, and at this time, people from the
exclusionary bathing facilities attended, right?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes.

Mr Itou: Did the City ask them to attend this meeting?

Mr Takeuchi: We were told by participants in the first meeting that they wanted to hear the stories from the actual people who were refusing foreigners, and from foreigners too. So we decided in the first meeting that we will ask the facilities to attend the second meeting, then have foreigners and general bathers attend a future meeting. So as for the second meeting, we invited the facilities and they accepted. The three facilities in Otaru refusing foreigners came: Yunohana, Osupa, and Panorama.

Mr Itou: So three facilities came, right?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes.

Mr Itou: At that time, the exclusionary onsens were those three facilities, right?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes. All three participated in the meeting.

Mr Itou: In this meeting, did the managers of these three facilities make a report on why they refuse foreigners?

Mr Takeuchi: Each facility gave their side of the story.

Mr Itou: Were all three different in their reasons? Or were they refusing for similar reasons?

Mr Takeuchi: All three had Russian bathers who did not follow the rules. One of the facilities told us that there was a nasty rumor about the spread of lice or contagious diseases. This was also a reason why they excluded.

Mr Itou: At the second meeting, there were opinions from the participants about the facilities' managers and their policies, specifically about how they should change their policies immediately. How did the managers respond?

Mr Takeuchi: They explained how having foreigners enter was having a bad impact on the numbers of their Japanese customers, and that's why they refused entry.

Mr Itou: Did the facilities come up with any constructive resolutions to the problem?

Mr Takeuchi: I think it was at the second meeting that Panorama said they had taken down the sign already. I think this was mentioned close to the end of the meeting. I don't recall there being anything else constructive. I don't remember anyone offering any specific steps towards resolving the situation.

Mr Itou: What did Panorama mean by "taking down the sign"?

Mr Takeuchi: Panorama had put up a sign saying that they refuse entry to people who do not understand Japanese bathing manners. I think it was probably in Japanese and it was put up in the elevator or in the front reception desk. I understood that they had taken both of these down.

Mr Itou: So do I understand correctly that they were treating foreigners and Japanese equally?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes. They had opened their doors.

Mr Itou: Do I understand correctly that at the second meeting that there were many opinions, and in conclusion it was said that the administration must talk to the facilities and resolve the situation as soon as possible?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes. We invited the facilities at the second meeting to hear their side, and then we had planned to invite foreigners in the following meeting. But at the second meeting there was the opinion that a third meeting was unnecessary, since the cause of the problem was well understood, and that the problem was due to signs in English refusing foreigners entry. If these signs were to be taken down ASAP, then the City could talk with the onsens and work to resolve the situation further.

Mr Itou: From the opinions at the second meeting, the City began hammering out some possible solutions, thinking that the City must do something decisive to fix this. That if nothing was done, nothing would be resolved. One of the proposals was to make flyers. (Takeuchi nods) How many flyers were made?

Mr Takeuchi: Four thousand.

Mr Itou: Where were these generally handed out?

Mr Takeuchi: To shipping agencies and duty-free shops. As for bathing facilities, we put them in Osupa and Panorama, in a larger format for public display.

Mr Itou: Were there two versions of this flyer, one in English, one in Russian, with Japanese on the back of both?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes.

Mr Itou: The Plaintiffs pointed out that 4000 flyers may not be sufficient for all the foreigners entering Otaru's seaport. What do you have to say about that?

Mr Takeuchi: They say that we get 30,000 Russian visitors per year to the Port of Otaru, but many of them we have seen many times before, and the Russians do talk a lot amongst themselves. We thought that what goes on here in Otaru would soon reach enough Russian ears. The number of Russian boats entering port here is 1290 plus, and this includes repeat entries. For example, regular ships from Sakhalin come in once every month, and as for other ships, plenty of them do come here again and again. This is why it is said that every year the number of new port entrants is only a few hundred ships. I hate having to speak on the basis of guesswork, but we don't have specific statistics on this. Under such circumstances, I think 4000 flyers were sufficient.

Mr Itou: These flyers were distributed after the second meeting was held, right? They were distributed only once?

Mr Takeuchi: We distributed them once, then they were out of stock at onshore facilities, so one or two days later, the flyers which were put in City buildings were distributed. We handed out 4000 flyers in total.

Mr Itou: Are the any plans to make any more flyers if there aren't enough?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes. We told our representatives as such.

Mr Itou: As well as flyers, the City decided to establish a 24-hour hotline in case of trouble. Specifically, what exactly did this entail?

Mr Takeuchi: We told the facilities that the City will make flyers to make bathing rules clear. If there is any problem with foreigners, City Hall is to be contacted immediately during business hours. During off-hours, we would let them know the cellphone numbers of the staff of the International Desk, so that there would be a 24-hour helpline.

Mr Itou: So you're saying that the City established a system where the International Desk carries cellphones at all times, so that they could be on call at a moment's notice?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes.

Mr Itou: Was this system ever used?

Mr Takeuchi: We never received a call via cellphone, but there was a call to City Hall and we did investigate once.

Mr Itou: I'm sure you have talked to the facilities as a representative of the City since then. How was their response then?

Mr Takeuchi: The facilities who used our flyers were Osupa and Panorama. As for Osupa, they said they must listen to their customers, so they wanted us to wait until they get the results of a survey they were taking. Osupa started to let in foreigners around March 2000, if memory serves. So from December 1999 until then, we went to Osupa many times and asked for their cooperation. We think they started to let in foreigners from April (sic).

Mr Itou: How did Yunohana respond?

Mr Takeuchi: We made proposals that the City make flyers and operate a 24-hour hotline in case of trouble. But Yunohana told us they would not cooperate, and would do their own thing.

Mr Itou: Did Yunohana explain why they would not cooperate with the City?

Mr Takeuchi: They mentioned that at their previous business, Green Sauna, they made their own flyers, but to no effect. So even if the City does the same thing, it will turn out the same way. So they said they would go their own way.

Mr Itou: In March 2000, there was a meeting to discuss the onsen problem. How did you come to hold this discussion, in addition to the previous ones you held with the City's international groups?

Mr Takeuchi: As a result of the previous talks with the international groups, we responded by making flyers and the like. But not everything resulted in improvements, so we decided to go back to the drawing board and deliberate from square one. This is why we held this next meeting. We thought it better to hear the voices of foreigners in the meeting, so we contacted them urgently and asked them to attend.

Mr Itou: Did the Plaintiffs invited speak frankly?

Mr Takeuchi: First, we talked about the situation involving foreigners and heard their side of the story. They said this problem may lead to other problems, not just involving bathing facilities. Then the participants spoke their minds, saying things like this problem must be resolved as soon as possible, and the City must redouble their efforts.

Mr Itou: Based on this meeting, did the City do anything special?

Mr Takeuchi: Before the meeting, only City offices related to this problem, such as the International Desk, the Tourism Section, and the Dept of Public Health did anything about this. But we thought we needed various input from City departments, so we called together various division heads, explained the situation, and got their opinions.

Mr Itou: In a nutshell, you got intelligence from all over City Hall?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes.

Mr Itou: Do you remember what the proceedings were?

Mr Takeuchi: I told them the background, and that Mr Hashimoto of Yunohana had requested financial support from the City for relaunching Green Sauna, as a specialty facility catering specifically to Russian bathers. We wondered how that would fly. Hashimoto told us that his earnings were down, but we wondered if that was due to accepting foreigners. It would be difficult to calculate how much financial damage had allegedly been done. Besides that, we were in a quandry about giving financial support to one onsen.

Mr Itou: Did the City come up with any specific and effective measures?

Mr Takeuchi: We didn't arrive at anything concrete.

Mr Itou: There has been from the Plaintiffs a submitted petition (chinjou) for the establishment of a local ordinance (jourei) to the City and the City Assembly. Do you know about this?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes.

Mr Itou: Were there any discussions within City Hall and related departments?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes. We called together the related sections chiefs to discuss the feasibility of making an ordinance.

Mr Itou: What was argued and what were the conclusions?

Mr Takeuchi: Based on the International Convention against all forms of racial discrimination, they wanted us to establish an ordinance with specific penalties and suspension of business. However, it has not become law at the national level. We wondered if local municipalities could make ordinances at the local which included penalties in this case. This is why we thought it would be difficult to do at this juncture. As a reference, we found in places where there are Buraku problems some local ordinances which state that discrimination must end and efforts must be made to stop it. We considered following suit. However, we also wondered about making rules which were impossible to implement effectively.

Mr Itou: In the end, did the City come to the conclusion that it will not take any action to establish an ordinance?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes. At this stage, we thought it would be difficult.

Mr Itou: There was a petition made to the City Assembly also. Do you know how the City Assembly responded?

Mr Takeuchi: It's still in the process of being deliberated upon in committee.

Mr Itou: Was this problem specifically debated upon in the City Assembly?

Mr Takeuchi: I don't know the details.

Mr Itou: As for the aforementioned financial support to Yunohana by the City, did the City give this due deliberation?

Mr Takeuchi: I don't know whether you could call it "deliberation" or just wondering how feasible it
was. It wasn't specifically a meeting "topic" to say yes or no to.

Mr Itou: For example, was there any concrete request from the facilities for financial support?

Mr Takeuchi: No. Not during my tenure as head of the International Desk.

Mr Itou: You said it wasn't a concrete "topic" per se. But this did come up as a topic during discussions from time to time, did it not?

Mr Takeuchi: There was a discussion about financial support even before I took charge of this section. But it wasn't anything like a formal request at that time. After I came to the section, the issue came up in discussion during the division chief meetings, as it was part of the background information. It was not exactly a topic with needed conclusion or resolution per se. As I mentioned before, it would be impossible to give financial support to one facility, it was decided.

Mr Itou: Aren't there cases where the City gives special support to one facility, or one private enterprise?

Mr Takeuchi: There are cases where this happens, such as public support for neighborhood associations and groups, in the form of subsidies. This is a systematized practice, where the association puts up a certain amount and the City tops it off. This is not, I believe, the same as giving one facility a special and specific measure of financial support.

Mr Itou: Did the City discuss the option of sponsoring a bathing facility specifically for foreigners?

Mr Takeuchi: I heard that there was some discussion of that before I took charge, but it was decided against because of personnel costs and an uncertain customer base.

Mr Itou: What was the bathing facility in question in this discussion?

Mr Takeuchi: This was Yunohana's Green Sauna.

Mr Itou: So after you came to this section, there was no talk of this anymore, right?

Mr Takeuchi: Not as far as I know.

Mr Itou: Regarding this court case, in order to better deliberate over this issue, you consulted the Bureau of Legal Affairs (Houmukyoku). You did this personally?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes.

Mr Itou: How many times did you go to the Bureau concerning this case?

Mr Takeuchi: In terms of exchanging information, about three times.

Mr Itou: The main aim of your visit to the Bureau was to get intelligence?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes. There is the International Convention on Racial Discrimination, yes, but in this situation where there is no national law on this, the first time I went there I wanted to find out what the City can do and how much it actually has to do (shi ga dou iu koto ga dekiru no ka, dou iu tokoro made yaranakya ikenai no ka).

Mr Itou: Quite simply, what was the Bureau's response?

Mr Takeuchi: This might sound strange, but even if the City does nothing about this problem, the City cannot be punished, as far as Japanese law goes.

Mr Itou: As for this problem, in order to get the understanding of its citizens, what sort of publicity measures did it undertake, concretely?

Mr Takeuchi: After this issue came up, we held meetings and other things. We put up results on the home page. We updated the home page about three times. We also published in the Kouhou Otaru, distributed to all homes in Otaru, we ran two specials on this issue, once to give the background, the second to ask for everyone's cooperation.

Mr Itou: How were the public reactions? Did the message get through?

Mr Takeuchi: Kouhou Otaru reaches almost all households in Otaru, so I assume the information reached them.

Mr Itou: There were three onsens which refused foreigners? Panorama, Osupa, and Yunohana. In the end, even Yunohana opened their doors, with conditions for entry for foreigners. So as far as the City goes, is the problem nonexistent (mondai ga okitei inai) now?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes. I haven't heard of any more refusals since.

Mr Itou: The Plaintiffs insist that Otaru City left this problem alone, or the City should have taken more effective measures. As the person in charge of all this, and who faced the problem firsthand, what do think of this assertion?

Mr Takeuchi: I think one problem with this assertion is that Otaru City actually has no power to take measures to stop this sort of thing from happening (kyousei teki na sochi o torenai). The first obstacle I encountered was Russians oblivious to bathing manners. For example, getting into the bath with soap on, jumping into the bath all drunk. It's because of these infractions that this problem came up. That 's why it's a matter of letting them know about manners and getting them to understand them. That's why we put out those bilingual flyers. We hoped to gain their understanding through this. So with that understanding in mind, even after they read the flyer and decided to bathe, they would go to the onsen and still make trouble for the managers. That's why we made illustrated flyers (sic), where they would know not to get the bath all soapy or get drunk and make trouble. But even then, if there were citizens who simply did not want to take a bath with foreigners no matter what, this would become a human rights problem, so we decided to raise citizens' awareness too. This is why we put out leaflets (sic). This is how the City dealt with problems as they came up. Yes, it took a while to put this all into effect. But as I said before, the City has now power to force the facilities to open their doors, such as through suspension of operating licences or by closing them down. That's why it took such a long time. However, as far as the City is concerned, we tried to do the best we could.

Mr Itou: No further questions.

(Second Defendant's lawyer Mr Komoda declines to examine Mr Takeuchi)

(First name added to distinguish between lawyers Mr and Ms Itou)
(Important points put in BOLDFACE by Arudou Debito)

Ms Itou Hideko: Concretely, how many foreigners enter Otaru City?

Mr Takeuchi: I don't know exactly.

Ms Itou Hideko: From what you have learned through you position in the Otaru City Hall, how many foreigners enter the country through Otaru?

Mr Takeuchi: If you mean those who enter the country through the port, I have heard that it is about 30,000 Russians per year.

Ms Itou Hideko: And how about those other than Russians?

Mr Takeuchi: I don't have any specific memory of that.

Ms Itou Hideko: Is that number increasing or decreasing?

Mr Takeuchi: If you only talk about Russians, the number is said to be relatively stable. But if you compare it to the number of Russians entering ten years ago, it is not increasing to a great degree (sic). It has not been increasing.

Ms Itou Hideko: How long do they generally stay in Otaru?

Mr Takeuchi: You mean Russians? (Yes) They usually come in ships, so on average they return in two to three or three to four days.

Ms Itou Hideko: Is that a guess? Or is that statistically grounded?

Mr Takeuchi: It's a guess. I don't know in detail.

Ms Itou Hideko: How many foreigners come to live (teijuu) in Otaru?

Mr Takeuchi: As far as foreign registration goes, it's about 300 foreigners.

Ms Itou Hideko: Let's look at document Otsu Ro Dai 14 Gou Shou. These are the minutes of the meeting held on November 5, 1999, which you testified about earlier. You were present at this meeting, were you not?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes.

Ms Itou Hideko: On the first page, there is Osupa's statement. It opened in July 1992, and at the beginning, foreigners freely used the facility. But then, they started to receive complaints from regular Japanese customers, that they would not come back again. About one year later, they made the facility "Japanese Only". In other words, they said since about the summer of 1993, Osupa put up an exclusionary sign and kicked foreigners out. You were at this meeting hearing this, right?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes.

Ms Itou Hideko: Is it correct to assume that Otaru City obviously already knew about this problem?

Mr Takeuchi: We knew that they were refusing foreigners.

Ms Itou Hideko: Maybe you were not in charge back then, but Otaru City since about the summer of 1993, knew there was this kind of foreigner bathing discrimination?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes.

Ms Itou Hideko: Which did you believe back then, that this was a case of racial discrimination, or else a simple problem of one business's operating policy?

Mr Takeuchi: I believe we knew back then that it was a problem of racial discrimination. (tousho kara jinshu sabetsu de aru to iu ninshiki o motte ita to omoimasu)

Ms Itou Hideko: So Otaru City acknowledged this as a problem of racial discrimination as far back as 1993?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes.

Ms Itou Hideko: So as the head of the International Desk, you yourself believe that the City of Otaru was aware of this problem as racial discrimination?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes.

Ms Itou Hideko: Let's look at Otsu Ro Dai 9 Gou Shou. This is the response to a demand (moushi ire) from somebody for an improvement of the situation. This response was written by your predecessor at the International Desk, dated November 20, 1998. According to the fourth line from the bottom, it says the management of Yunohana made a lot of effort to get bathers to follow the rules through a flyer, but they did not see any improvement in their behavior. This is why they said that they cannot only refuse Russians, for that would be taken as racial discrimination, so they had to refuse all foreigners. Now let's look at the next page, third line. The City admits that it is entirely possible that wording like "Japanese Only" might be taken as discriminatory. But for Japanese who not native speakers of English, the City said that Yunohana may have used this English wording without being aware that it sounded discriminatory. So you asked for the complainants' understanding ("go ryoukai itadakitai to omoimasu"). You answered as a municipal government authority (chihou jichitai), but if you as the City government were aware back then that this was racial discrimination, it is inappropriate to answer using the reasoning that non-native speakers would not have taken this wording as discriminatory. Wouldn't you personally agree?

Mr Takeuchi: I think it was just repeating Yunohana's reasoning in this case. As for the bit about non-native speakers etc etc, if memory serves, according to a letter we received from that somebody, a claim was made against the wording "Japanese Only". Our response was to give the reasons why Yunohana was refusing entry. So that means that these were not statements of opinion from the City in specific.

Ms Itou Hideko: The City's response was that Yunohana was not aware that "Japanese Only" may sound discriminatory. But don't you think that to ask the complainant's understanding of the situation is in a sense linked to the City's recognition of the problem as racial discrimination?

Mr Takeuchi: I don't know. (wakarimasen)

Ms Itou Hideko: Let's look at Otsu Ro Dai 11 Gou Shou. This is also a letter dated January 11, 1999, which was written by the City, in response to a letter of complaint. The complainant stated that he was refused entry by a staff member due to an espoused fear of foreigners spreading disease. The letter demanded the City address the situation. Page two, second line from the bottom, Otaru City seemed to think "the staff used the concise word 'disease' in order to avoid having to give a longer explanation why. The staff member had been carelessly trained in customer relations, and it is a shame that they would use such a closed-minded and off-the-wall (tanrakuteki) word. If they were to be in the opposite position, it is not hard to imagine just how painful that would be to hear. However, for the managers, might this not be an emergency measure used to protect their company? (shikashi, sono keieisha ni shitemo, jibun no kaisha o mamoru tame no hijou shudan data no de wa nai deshou ka). We have asked for improvements, but at this time the manager has shown no sign of changing his mind." This is what the City wrote. In other words, even though the City recognizes this activity as racial discrimination, on the other hand the City supports the stance of the onsen managers i.e. refusing entry to foreigners is an emergency measure to protect one's business, based on the reasoning that foreigners spread disease. What do you think about this stance?

Mr Takeuchi: I don't think this means the City supports this stance.

Ms Itou Hideko: Well, how do you interpret this answer from the City?

Mr Takeuchi: I think this is just the City explaining that's company's behavior, and pointing out that the City has asked for the onsen to change its stance, unsuccessfully.

Ms Itou Hideko: According to what you said before, that the City acknowledged this situation was one of racial discrimination from 1993, does the City think answers of this sort are sufficient?

Mr Takeuchi: I don't think so, but...

Ms Itou Hideko: But... what's your conclusion?

Mr Takeuchi: I don't think so. Period.

Ms Itou Hideko: Do you think this is insufficient? (fujuubun) I mean cleaning up this situation with an answer like this?

Mr Takeuchi: (pause for reflection) There was perhaps an insufficient amount of explanation.

Ms Itou Hideko: Let's take a look at Otsu Ro Dai 14 Gou Shou. This is the statement from the second meeting from the Convocation of Groups Related to International Communication (Kokusai Kouryuu Kanren Dantai Renraku Kaigi), which was held on November 5, 1999. According to page three, where it notes the Otaru University of Commerce: "1) There should be a clear statement that the exclusionary signs come down, 2) There should be deliberation on how to deal with customers who cause problems, or else a facility provided by the authorities which is easier for sailors to use, 3) Universities too should promote awareness-raising activities. The present situation is a disgrace to the current administration. One should not use muted words." That is the quote. Pretty strong criticism. If all else fails, there would be nothing else but to make a separate facility for sailors, was one other opinion raised. At this second meeting, it was even pointed out by the well-informed (yuushikisha) that this situation was a disgrace for the current administration. With all this, did the City take any immediate and concrete measures?

Mr Takeuchi: We decided at this meeting that talks should take place between the City and the facilities immediately to improve the situation. And flyers would be made and distributed. We would make flyers explaining bathing manners. We would establish a 24-hour hotline. These are what measures we would take.

Ms Itou Hideko: About those flyers you mentioned. You made 4000 copies. You created a hotline out of cellphones. Those two measures, right?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes.

Ms Itou Hideko: As mentioned in the document, there was the proposal that a separate facilty be established for sailors, if all else fails, of course. That proposal for a separate bathing facility also came from Yunohana's owner, Hashimoto Kensetsu Inc's Mr Hashimoto. That's what you said, right?

Mr Takeuchi: (long pause)

Ms Itou Hideko: So there was the opinion that a separate facility was unavoidable, right?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes.

Ms Itou Hideko: Did the City actually consider establishing this separate bathing facility?

Mr Takeuchi: No. Establishing a facility like that would in fact fence off foreigners, and that would be reverse-discrimination. That's why I believed that this should not be done.

Ms Itou Hideko: Did you not think that it would possibly be a place for sailors to get used to Japanese bathing manners, or else provide a place for sailors to get clean?

Mr Takeuchi: We did consider providing showers. But we had no budget for something like this, and thus decided to reject this.

Ms Itou Hideko: So you mean that the City cannot spend any money on something like this?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes.

Ms Itou Hideko: Actually, you decided that it was unnecessary to spend any money on this, right?
That's what you decided, right?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes.

Ms Itou Hideko: Let's take a look at your written testimony, page two. It is written that Mr Hashimoto came to City Hall about this issue on July 19, 1999, and you received him. Quote, "Mr Hashimoto stated that he needed financial assistance from the City." More specifically, what did Mr Hashimoto say to you on that day?

Mr Takeuchi: He offered the former Green Sauna as a place for the City to rejuvenate (katsuyou) as a bathing facility for Russian sailors.

Ms Itou Hideko: By "rejuvenate", you mean the City would be allowed to use this place, right? In other words, this was a proposal for the City to manage this bathing facility for Russians, right?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes.

Ms Itou Hideko: Let's take a look at Otsu Ro 14 Gou Shou. So this is the same proposal that was made by the well-informed back in that second meeting?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes, I think it is the same motion.

Ms Itou Hideko: As far as this proposal goes, as you testified before, you decided that there was no need for the City to make any budget for this, right?

Mr Takeuchi: (long pause) There was an estimate of how much it would cost to run and staff Green Sauna from Mr Hashimoto.

Ms Itou Hideko: Please answer my question. This was after Green Sauna went bankrupt, so this discussion happened in July, 1999.

Mr Takeuchi: It wasn't that this discussion happened only in November 1999, but in fact had been in progress for a while, I think....

Ms Itou Hideko: No, this decision was made by the City after the discussion on July 19, 1999, not November 1999.

Mr Takeuchi: The conclusion was that there was no money for this budgetwise, so doing this would be difficult.

Ms Itou Hideko: So it permissible to think that you didn't make this decision to take effective measures against racial discrimination involving a financial burden, even though you recognized this issue at this time as one of racial discrimination?

Mr Takeuchi: As for making this facility for Russians, we came to a decision to do this due to financial problems.

Ms Itou Hideko: You went to the Bureau of Legal Affairs on December 29, 1999, right?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes.

Ms Itou Hideko: What was the main purpose of this visit?

Mr Takeuchi: I went there to find out under international treaty how much the City can do, and how much it had to do, especially at this stage where we have no power to compel people to do anything under present laws.

Ms Itou Hideko: Please explain more concisely the main purpose for going to the Bureau.

Mr Takeuchi: At this stage where the City has administratively no power of compulsion (kyousei ryoku), we wanted to know what the City can do, and what it has to do.

Ms Itou Hideko: When you say "power of compulsion", towards what and what kind of power do you mean?

Mr Takeuchi: Under circumstances where foreigners were refused by onsen, being racial discrimination, we mean having power to suspend their operations or their business licences.

Ms Itou Hideko: So by "power of compulsion", you only thought of suspending business operations?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes.

Ms Itou Hideko: Do you mean that you did not think about dealing with the situation as a municipal
government, using ordinances?

Mr Takeuchi: We did consider it.

Ms Itou Hideko: You considered it, and what happened?

Mr Takeuchi: At this stage, where there is no national law against this, it was concluded that it would be difficult for a municipal government to establish an ordinance with punitive measures.

Ms Itou Hideko: You are aware that local ordinances have the same power as a national law?

Mr Takeuchi: I think so.

Ms Itou Hideko: You do know that municipal governments must obey the law, in accordance with the Constitution and the Local Autonomy Laws (Chihou Jichihou)?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes.

Ms Itou Hideko: You also know that you must obey international treaties, because they have the same force as national laws?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes.

Ms Itou Hideko: Let's take a look at Otsu Ro Dai 16 Gou Shou. This is a document, or shall I say a report approved by one of your authorities, dated November, 29, 1999. It reports that you went to the Bureau to find out what the City can do and what it has to do. For example, must the City establish an ordinance, can it use penalties against managers who do not follow administrative guidance?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes.

Ms Itou Hideko: In this report, the Bureau answers that there is no particular thing the City can or must do. Additionally, there is no law which says that cities will be punished for not doing administrative guidance based on the Convention against Racial Discrimination. So in other words, you received an answer that even if you do nothing you will not be punished under the law?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes.

Ms Itou Hideko: At the same time, there was a court case down in Hamamatsu-shi, Shizuoka-ken, where in a similar vein, a Brazilian woman filed a lawsuit against a jewelry store which had also refused her entry. The Bureau answered that they would not have known what would have happened if the lawsuit had been filed against the government, asking for compensation, and such a decisive decision had not been handed down. Is this the case?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes.

Ms Itou Hideko: As for the establishment of an ordinance, you are not obligated by law to establish one, but you can do so if the local situation requires one. Was that not the answer you received?

Mr Takeuchi: The answer amounted to that, yes.

Ms Itou Hideko: So, if Otaru City had itself decided that an ordinance was necessary, it would have been alright to establish one. Especially for Otaru City, a place where 30,000 plus Russians and foreigners enter the country every year, if the situation warranted it it would have been okay. Was that not the advice you received from the Bureau?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes.

Ms Itou Hideko: So this means that Otaru City decided that an ordinance was not necessary?

Mr Takeuchi: At this stage, where there is no national law, we decided that it would be difficult to establish an ordinance with penalties.

Ms Itou Hideko: According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, when a treaty is ratified, as in 1996 when Japan ratified the Convention, it holds the same power as a national law. According to the Civil Code and Article 14 of the Constitution, there is no actual need to create a national law on this subject. That is how the Ministry has answered. Did you know that?

Mr Takeuchi: No, that I did not know.

Ms Itou Hideko: That is why I think that the reasoning, that if there is no national law it is unnecessary for local municipalities to establish an ordinance regardless of local situations, will not do. What do you think?

Mr Takeuchi: I don't really know. (chotto wakarimasen)

Ms Itou Hideko: Let's look at Otsu Ro Dai 24 Gou Shou. This is a meeting between you and Yunohana, dated April 17, 2000, right?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes.

Ms Itou Hideko: This is you mentioned in this document, right?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes.

Ms Itou Hideko: Because Yunohana said it would take measures of its own, you never contacted them yourself. However, the last exclusionary onsen was Yunohana, so you decided to get in touch with them. This is how you stated it in this document. In other words, as you stated previously, because Yunohana said they would take measures into their own hands when you first contacted them, you had not gotten in touch with them until then. Is that right?

Mr Takeuchi: This is not the first time I contacted them. I first went there in January 1999. Yunohana also came to the second meeting in November 1999. After that, we talked to them about the measures the City wanted to take. Therefore, it is not true that we did not talk to them in between.

Ms Itou Hideko: In other words, Mr Kobayashi attended that second meeting. Therefore, it is not true that you never contacted Yunohana between July 1999 and April 2000?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes.

Ms Itou Hideko: Particularly, after this meeting, did you ask Mr Kobayashi to cease these discriminatory activities by any means possible?

Mr Takeuchi: It was not just the two of us. I attended with a division chief and talked to Mr Kobayashi.

Ms Itou Hideko: When was this?

Mr Takeuchi: At the end of November or the beginning of December 1999.

Ms Itou Hideko: Manager Kobayashi admits that racial discrimination will not do, but there are circumstances, such as staying in business, which may warrant it. Under this logic, he refused entry to foreigners. He told this to the City many times, right?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes, I heard as such.

Ms Itou Hideko: Then did the City come to think that if there was a choice between racial discrimination and a business's financial vitality, that there was no alternative but to permit racial discrimination?

Mr Takeuchi: No. We told him that this was a matter of racial discrimination. Right when I was in contact with him, the Hamamatsu court decision came through. We told him that this legal precedent had occurred, and this would be the result.

Ms Itou Hideko: On the subject of Hamamatsu, are you aware of the Hamamatsu Declaration, which happened after this court decision?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes, I heard about it.

Ms Itou Hideko: Do you know in detail?

Mr Takeuchi: I know that it deals with the lives of resident foreigners, involving education, employment, and other things that cannot be infringed upon. I know that the mayor [of Hamamatsu] demanded improvements in these areas from the national government.

Ms Itou Hideko: It also deals with unemployment and health insurance, right?

Mr Takeuchi: I'm not sure. Sorry, but I'm not sure of the fine details.

Ms Itou Hideko: The Hamamatsu court case came before this court case, as you know?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes, I know.

Ms Itou Hideko: You also knew that this legal precedent existed before this court case, right? In addition, the City of Hamamatsu had the taken measures you testified about just now, right?

Mr Takeuchi: No, I heard about the Hamamatsu Declaration from Plaintiff Arudou Debito this January (sic), meaning after this lawsuit was filed.

Ms Itou Hideko: So you did not know about this event until Debito-san told you?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes.

Ms Itou Hideko: Do you also know that in Kawasaki City, there is an ordinance protecting foreigners against discrimination in housing?

Mr Takeuchi: No.

Ms Itou Hideko: Are you unaware that Otaru is a municipality with a large number of foreigners entering the country, or landing, or just visiting?

Mr Takeuchi: I think it's a high number for Hokkaido, anyway.

Ms Itou Hideko: Don't you think it's a comparatively high number nationally too?

Mr Takeuchi: I don't know the figures nationally.

Ms Itou Hideko: You mean a man in your position hasn't researched this?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes.

Ms Itou Hideko: You mean that the city government has never made this a topic for further deliberation? Nobody has ever gotten the figures for how many foreigners actually enter Otaru, how it compares nationally to other cities?

Mr Takeuchi: I personally don't know.

Ms Itou Hideko: I would now like to ask you about the measures the City took after this problem with Yunohana came up. First, you printed 4000 flyers, and placed them in duty-free shops, other onshore locations, and bathing facilities, such as Osupa and Panorama.

Mr Takeuchi: Yes.

Ms Itou Hideko: Have you printed up any more?

Mr Takeuchi: No. We haven't heard anything from our distributors.

Ms Itou Hideko: You mean that you just printed up 4000 flyers and put them in selected places?

Mr Takeuchi: No. We have our representatives delivering them to ships as well.

Ms Itou Hideko: Considering that 30,000 Russians come to Otaru annually, and you only printed up 4000, and a considerable amount of time has passed, the fact that you haven't run out yet makes it hard to believe that you have sufficient distribution networks.

Mr Takeuchi: Otaru has about 1000 ships coming in per annum, but many are repeat entrants. It's around 1300 ships, but I repeat they are repeat entrants. That's why I think the amount of flyers produced is enough. And the word of mouth is strong amongst the Russians, so what Otaru does gets around. So I think we are taking sufficient measures.

Ms Itou Hideko: These 4000 flyers were produced in 1999? 

Mr Takeuchi: Yes, in December.

Ms Itou Hideko: So, counting 2000, 2001, and 2002, a little more than two and a half years have passed. You think that's enough, right?

Mr Takeuchi: I think they served their purpose.

Ms Itou Hideko: Now let's turn to the hotline. "Hotline" meant giving out two cellphones to two International Desk employees?

Mr Takeuchi: It was three people at the time.

Ms Itou Hideko: When you say "at the time", from when until when?

Mr Takeuchi: December 1999 until the division chief in charge changed jobs, we had three people.

Ms Itou Hideko: So you mean until March 2000?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes.

Ms Itou Hideko: So it became two staff from April 2000?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes.

Ms Itou Hideko: This was a hotline to be used by the bathing facilities in the event of trouble, right?

Mr Takeuchi: Right.

Ms Itou Hideko: Did you release this number to foreigners or avail them of its use?

Mr Takeuchi: No.

Ms Itou Hideko: Do you think this is a sufficient measure?

Mr Takeuchi: This was designed to help facilities which had opened their doors to foreigners deal with any problems. So if there were any problems, they would give us a call, so I thought it was sufficient.

Ms Itou Hideko: From the start of this hotline to the present day, how many calls have you had from the facilities?

Mr Takeuchi: Once.

Ms Itou Hideko: So do you think this is being used effectively?

Mr Takeuchi: I interpret this as meaning there haven't been any troubles, so there haven't been any calls.

Ms Itou Hideko: So you think there's no trouble if there are no calls, right? That's how you interpret

Mr Takeuchi: Yes.

Ms Itou Hideko: So if that's the case, we shouldn't be having this lawsuit.

Mr Takeuchi: (long pause)

Ms Itou Hideko: You know, this case was brought before the court after the hotline was established?

Mr Takeuchi: Supporters of this hotline are Panorama and Osupa, but Yunohana is not using this service.

Ms Itou Hideko: And as for the third measure Otaru has taken, you mention publicity measures.

Mr Takeuchi: Yes.

Ms Itou Hideko: You created a homepage, and wrote up this background for the Kouhou Otaru paper.

Mr Takeuchi: Yes.

Ms Itou Hideko: Otaru City has recognized this as racial discrimination, from 1993 until the present day of 2002. It's been eight or nine years. Do you really think that the City's response to this problem has been sufficient?

Mr Takeuchi: I believe that we did everything we could.

Ms Itou Hideko: In other words, everything you could means you did enough?

Mr Takeuchi: I think it was enough.


Arudou: Did you as a City ever put on a forum where the City, the onsens, the residents, the foreigners could meet and exchange opinions?

Mr Takeuchi: No, we did not.

Arudou: Since this is a problem which affects foreigners, how much did you consult with foreigners?

Mr Takeuchi: As far as the onsen problem goes, we never did consult with foreigners.


Ms Itou Hideko: Let's look at Kou Dai 17 Gou Shou. This is a report from the Hokkaido University of Education, entitled, "Thoughts about the Otaru Exclusionary Onsens Case". Written in 2000. Here is an excerpt. Page 2. Chapter 4) Fundamental problems and solutions. "Where is the fundamental problem? The answer is in a lack of communication between peoples. For over a century foreigners have been coming to Otaru, but why has this become a problem now? Perhaps it is due to insufficient interpersonal communication. To instruct foreigners in bathing manners is relatively easy, but increasing the awareness and acceptance by Japanese is difficult and will take time." This is how Otaru is being depicted. Do you think this is an accurate description?

Mr Takeuchi: (long pause) This is not something I have ever said, so I don't think I can comment.

Ms Itou Hideko: Under your recognition of the onsen problem, it is due to insufficient communication between citizens and foreigners. Otaru City has been depicted in this report as a bystander, not an active participant. I would like to ask if you believe there is insufficient communication between citizens and foreigners, if you realize that is part of the problem.

Mr Takeuchi: I don't really understand the point of what's written there. I don't understand what they are trying to mean when they say what they say.

Ms Itou Hideko: In other words, this is how students are seeing this situation vis-a-vis Otaru involvement.

Mr Takeuchi: If you are asking me if this problem is due to a lack of communication between foreigners and Japanese, if you are asking my opinion about this, I have to say I don't agree.

Ms Itou Hideko: Then what do you think is the cause of all this?

Mr Takeuchi: They say it's a matter of bathing manners....

Ms Itou Hideko: Say it simply.

Mr Takeuchi: A lack of understanding, I assume.

Ms Itou Hideko: What is it a lack of understanding of?

Mr Takeuchi: I think it is a lack of teaching foreigners good bathing manners.

Ms Itou Hideko: Do you not think it is matter of lack of understanding towards human rights, of respect for others and understanding of their pain, or else of people going overseas and not understanding how it feels to be hurt by people shutting them out saying they smell or will spread disease? In other words, a lack of understanding of human rights. Do you not think so?

Mr Takeuchi: Yes, it might be that if you think that profoundly, but if you want me to say it simply, I think if somebody had taught them some bathing manners, this problem would not have happened.

Ms Itou Hideko: So as far as you as the City are concerned, you still have the feeling that it is simply a matter of manners, right?

Mr Takeuchi: In this case, Mr Takeuchi: Yes, I think that is the cause.

Ms Itou Hideko: Look at the next page in the report, under the title of "analysis". Within the box on the page. "Otaru City is construing this as a matter of racial discrimination", and skip down, "We don't believe that the City is working positively towards a solution. Even the City has strongly insisted it was due to a communication problem between citizens and foreigners, it has never taken a survey of its residents, and has never demonstrated, as far as we could see, the will to think of a concrete policy to deal with this situation." Do you have a counterargument?

Mr Takeuchi: That is something some students felt about this, so I have nothing to say.

Ms Itou Hideko: So no comment?

Mr Takeuchi: (long pause)

Ms Itou Hideko: No further questions.

Head Judge Sakai: You may step down.


Head Judge Sakai then demanded that both sides meet in May to consider a court-brokered settlement. That meeting will occur but is not open to the public.


(For Part One of Two, Return to Hearing Eight Index page)
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