Abe fine with ‘homogeneous’ remark

Kyodo News

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday downplayed criticism of remarks by his education minister the day before and said there was nothing wrong with Bunmei Ibuki calling Japan an “extremely homogenous” country.

“I think he was referring to the fact that we (the Japanese public) have gotten along with each other fairly well so far,” Abe said. “I don’t see any specific problem with that.”

Ibuki said Sunday at a convention of the Liberal Democratic Party’s chapter in Nagasaki Prefecture that “Japan has been historically governed by the Yamato (Japanese) race. Japan is an extremely homogenous country.”

Remarks regarding homogeneity have drawn criticism in the past. For instance, Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone faced a strong backlash, mainly from Ainu indigenous people, when in 1986 he described Japan as a nation with a “homogenous race.”