U.N. rights panel urges Japan to crack down on hate speech


The U.N. Human Rights Committee on Thursday recommended that the central government ban all propaganda advocating racial superiority or hatred, and punish perpetrators.

In a report, the committee expressed “concern at the widespread racist discourse” in Japan, such as hate speech, against members of minority groups, including Koreans.

The committee also noted a large number of authorized extremist demonstrations, harassment and violence against minorities, and the open display of “Japanese only” signs in private establishments.

The U.N. report comes at a time when rallies and confrontations involving anti-Korean groups and those opposed to their activities are on the rise, particularly in Tokyo’s Shin-Okubo district and Osaka’s Tsuruhashi area, both of which are known as Koreatowns.

People who are targeted by such acts have “insufficient protection” under the criminal and civil codes, the report said.

Japan “should prohibit all propaganda advocating racial superiority or hatred that incites to discrimination, hostility or violence” as well as demonstrations intended to disseminate such propaganda, the committee said.

The country “should also take all necessary steps to prevent racist attacks and to ensure that the alleged perpetrators are thoroughly investigated and prosecuted and, if convicted, punished with appropriate sanctions,” the report said.

The United Nations also called on Japan to accept full blame for pressing women from Korea and other Asian nations into sexual slavery during World War II.

“We want Japan to make the kind of statement that the families and the women themselves — the few who are still surviving — can recognize as an unambiguous, uninhibited acceptance of total responsibility,” said Nigel Rodley, head of the committee.

It also recommended that victims and their families should be given access to justice, that all evidence should be disclosed, that Japanese schoolbooks should deal with the issue frankly, and that denial and defamation of victims should be roundly condemned.

Around 200,000 women, mainly from Korea but also China, Taiwan, Indonesia and other Asian countries, were forced to work in Japanese military brothels as “comfort women.”

Japan issued a landmark apology in 1993 — known as the Kono statement — and mainstream public opinion holds that the wartime government was culpable.

But a tranche of the political right, including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, continues to cast doubt on the matter, claiming the brothels were staffed by professional prostitutes.

Japan recently held a review of the issue that upheld the apology but asserted there was no evidence to corroborate the women’s testimony, sparking regional anger.

“I suspect that the Kono Statement would have sufficed, had it not been for the fact that it has so evidently been put into question,” Rodley said.

The committee accused Japan of contradicting itself by denying that the women were forcibly deported to brothels but also admitting they were recruited, transported and managed by coercion.

Rodley said that was a worse stance than in the committee’s five previous hearings on Japan’s record.

“What is troubling is that the delegation now seems to need to speak out of both sides of its mouth,” he said.

The U.N. panel recommended that Japan consider scrapping the death penalty, referring to the case of Iwao Hakamada, who was released from death row after spending decades in prison.

It also asked that Japan apply its state secret protection law in compliance with the strict requirements included in the law.

The report was released after a two-day committee meeting focusing on Japan from July 15, the first such occasion in six years. Recommendations in the report are not legally binding.

  • Jamie Bakeridge

    Any normal newspaper would ask for a comment from the government on such a report. And any normal government would provide one. Why not JT?

    • phu

      Well, any comment from the government would amount to “shoganai.” And this article (as with most articles on JT that are actually informative) is syndicated from another source (you can see it above, immediately under the title), so despite all of its shortcomings, this particular omission isn’t JT’s fault.

  • Tim Johnston

    This is sad news, but news that needs to be reported. I have lived in Japan for a long long time and have always wondered when Japan would take down the no foreigners signs………….Does this happen in any other countries? It’s appalling to see and uncalled for in modern times.

    • Merchant Mmo

      Ive lived in japan for a good while and before that went back and forth visiting too but i’ve never once seen those in the city. I saw some on the net from korea though.

      • Steve Jackman

        You must have blinders on.

        Secondly, not all “Japanese Only” or “No Foreigners” signs are openly displayed. The owners and management of many Japanese shops, businesses and establishments (including housing, restaurants, sports clubs, and barber shops, etc.), have other ways of letting prospective foreign customers know that they are not welcome at their places of business.

      • Merchant Mmo

        Rest assured, i do not have blinders on as i have been there on and off from childhood every summer, back to the states, and then college and eventually work in japan. Rather than calling out others you should give examples of the areas you saw such things because the city area sure does not have any noticeable ones. If your head hunting for such signs then of course you will be finding those.

      • Steve Jackman

        You are being disingenuous. Just do a Google search on racism and discrimination against foreigners in housing, judicial system, “Japanese Only” signs, bullying against foreigners, hate speech, and anti-foreigner demonstrations in Japan, and you will find many examples.

        I, for one, cannot understand how people like you can deny the obvious (and I’ve been living and working in Japan for over a decade).

      • Merchant Mmo

        No what Im saying is that japan has the least of that, as opposed to china and korea. You know the other countries that you never visited before.

      • Steve Jackman

        I’m talking about Japan, where I’ve lived for over a decade. I frankly don’t care as much about what happens in China and South Korea, or Iran and North Korea, for that matter.

        Since you seem to know so much about China, perhaps you should also know that China is in a very different stage of its development, as compared to Japan. China is still in transition from a developing country to a developed one, so it will be a very different country in another decade or two. Hence, I’m willing to give it the benefit of the doubt, much more so than a developed country like Japan, which seems to be going in reverse when it comes to civil and human rights for its non-Japanese residents.

      • Merchant Mmo

        That is something that is based on your experience and not those of others. Based on your first reply to mine, you’ve shown that you tend to renounce other opinions that dont share your view. A decade? thats great, ive spend more there, not to mention in different intervals of era. Of course, i went because i like japan and its people. Who knows why you even stayed over a decade given your stance on japan.

        For someone who calls other blind and disingenuous, you’ve yet to even give proper examples, only pointing fingers to google. Most of your arguments are based on results that people find only when they go nitpicking and searching for it. Your trying to convince people of something, that they already know actually go otherwise, both visually and statistically japanese people are known to be pretty nice and open. Your comments remind me alot of those korean trolls that go posting with JP and english names, feign experience and bash japan. Because for someone who is giving china the benefit of the doubt, your ‘open mindedness ‘ pretty much stops where your own experience ends.

      • Steve Jackman

        On your first point, I criticise Japan in the areas of civil and human rights, racism and discrimination, because I care about the long-term well being of Japan. I think people like you, who deny and ignore these obvious problems, are the ones who demonstrate their indifference towards Japan. It’s the same as a parent or loved one allowing their obese kid to binge on junk food. It may be easy to ignore the kid’s problem in the short-term, but it only leads to a lifetime of health problems down the road. Ignoring a problem does not show that you care.

        In regards to my second point about Googling information, I use it in the same way as if you questioned whether today in Saturday in Japan. To me, the answer to a question like this is so obvious and so much information confirming this fact exists out there, that I’d rather point you to it. As I have stated, I myself am basing my comments on my experience and experiences of other foreigners in Japan who I know, so I have no need to Google the obvious.

      • Merchant Mmo

        Ive only replied with my own experience and nothing more, in which even if you try to sugar coat it with alot of words now, still does not change the fact that you did go around rudely denouncing anothers experience because it did not coincide with yours. That is why i say your ‘open mindedness ‘ pretty much stops where your own experience ends. My response to you merely is what you sowed in your reply.

      • Steve Jackman

        You’re being very hypocritical. You questioned my directing you to the internet for numerous examples of racism in Japan, including, “Japanese Only” signs. Yet, in your own response to another poster’s comment above about the prevalence of “No Foreigners” signs in Japan, you wrote that you’ve only seen these in Korea on the internet, “I saw some on the net from korea though”. There’s hypocrisy, and then there’s hypocrisy. This takes the cake!

      • Merchant Mmo

        The cake as you put it actually comes from the Unchanging fact that you still went around rudely denouncing anothers experience because it did not coincide with yours, then getting defensive and hyped up that someone responded accordingly. Not to mention your attempts to disregard this and change the topic to point fingers at me when my original comment was very neutral. If you don’t like how people respond to you then don’t be a dbag in your replies to begin with.

      • Steve Jackman

        No need for name calling here. Let’s keep the discussion civilized.

      • Merchant Mmo

        You pretty much proved my point there. In case you are a bit slow to realize, names are not the only thing that can be uncivilized.

      • Iain Macpherson

        I basically agree with you in this argument you’re having with Mr. Jackman, but he’s right about the name calling. Cool down.

      • Iain Macpherson

        Look, the fact is that there aren’t a lot of those signs or policies in Japan, with its 120 million people. Because of overwrought political idealism, Japan-bashers cite the rare example of such nastiness as indicative of some broad cultural failing, and it’s just wrongheaded.

      • Iain Macpherson

        Good lord, do you even realize that you’re comparing yourself to a parent vis-a-vis Japan? That in itself speaks volumes.

      • Steve Jackman

        No, I am not. I used the example of “a parent or a loved one” to illustrate a point about tough love.

      • Iain Macpherson

        Fair enough. You still called Japan fat, though. Ok, no you didn’t.

      • HLD

        “On your first point, I criticise Japan in the areas of civil and human
        rights, racism and discrimination, because I care about the long-term
        well being of Japan”

        Japan survived for the last 2000 years without you and your concern for her “long terme well being”. Thanks and see you never.

      • Kyle

        For condemning someone as anti-Japanese, you sure sound anti-Korean. Exp. “Korean trolls”

        Can we just all agree Japan, Korea, and China have their own set of domestic issues (and focus on that), without comparing who is worse with anti-foreigner sentiments? It’s all semantics and pointless debate if we take that route.

      • Merchant Mmo

        I only respond accordingly to their attitudes, nothing more

  • kension86

    “The U.N. Human Rights Committee”

    So I guess UN doesn’t consider freedom of speech to be human right…. ?

    • ネート

      Why don’t you actually read ‘The Universal Declaration of Human Rights’? Specifically articles 19 and 30. Free speech is fine, but you can’t use it as a shield to deny people of the other basic human rights set out in the declaration.

  • phu

    This is ridiculous. I’m not sure what the UN is hoping to accomplish here, but singling out Japan right now is a seriously poor way to address the current situation in east Asia.

    Yes, Japan has problems that should be addressed, and this does point out some of them. I’m not going to make the logical failure of “well there are other places that are worse,” but I will point out that concentrating on (and taking sides in) divisive historical issues in Japan despite the increasing expansionism in China and North Korea’s ongoing nuclear program is extremely short-sighted.

    Unfortunately, this is not surprising. Yet another impotent, non-binding set of recommendations from an organization that can’t or won’t actually DO anything is par for the course; if the UN could actually accomplish things instead of simply issuing weak declarations and polite requests, it might be taken seriously. As it is, this unhelpful and poorly-timed “report” will serve only to alienate Japan and take attention away from far more serious and pressing human (and international) rights violations. “United” Nations indeed.

    • Happy Knees

      I’m not sure the UN is singling out Japan. The article doesn’t say that and I suspect the UN writes human rights reports on all countries at various times.
      Sure the UN can’t do anything, mainly because individual countries don’t give up their powers to it. However as Winston Churchill said “jaw jaw is better than war war”
      Also the UN does excellent work in the field of health because most countries are in agreement about what to do. It’s just not so successful in politics. still I think the world is a better/safer place with the UN “talkshop” around.

    • Steve Jackman

      The UN is not singling out Japan, since it issues human rights reports on all countries. What is actually surprising to me is that, since Japan is the second largest contributor of money to the UN, the UN and others often water down their criticism of Japan (money talks, after all). But, in this case, the UN has been quite blunt and direct about its diaspproval of Japan.

  • Iain Macpherson

    Japan should ignore at least 99% percent of this pressure to conform with other lib dems. Its constitutional defence of free speech – however offensive that free speech – is one of the excellent aspects of Japanese society. In fact, other lib dems should be more like Japan in this regard! Japan should be lecturing the UN on this matter, not the other way around.

    Noisy demonstrations that objectively interfere with daily life should be shut down, but with ‘public nuisance’ laws, not censorship.

    ‘Japanese Only” policies should be disallowed, but this is not a free speech vs censorship issue.

    And possibly most importantly — Any increase in Japanese censorship is only going to be coopted by Shinzo Abe’s crypto-fascist agenda.

  • itoshima2012

    Frankly speaking nobody cares what the UN says…..

    • Steve Jackman

      “Frankly speaking nobody cares what the UN says…..”

      That’s a rather ignorant comment, since the Japanese government disagrees with you. This is evident by the fact that Japan is the second largest donor to the UN (it is surpassed only by the U.S). Why would Japan contribute billions of dollars to the UN, if it did not care what the UN says?

      • itoshima2012

        so you think it’s ignorant? I would say it’s realistic! Examples abound… e.g. Israel and the Gaza/West Bank conflict and on and on, nobody really cares what the UN says. paying for it is fine, money talk, ……. walks…..

  • Merchant Mmo

    I find it very odd this article. Between japan, china, and korea, japan is the country with the least racial propaganda, to the point where you can almost call it ignorant. Not to say that they have non, I think they do have to a certain extent, but nothing greatly noteworthy.

    #1 among them would be china perhaps as we all know they censor their own information to the chinese public. #2 would be korea as they do not make it any secret to hold animosity, however many generations ago it may be, to the current descendents. I’ve seen pictures where korean children are taught (prolly somewhere in the country) propaganda and their ‘japan hate’ are shown as drawings on public train station walls. There are countless wooden plaque prayers in japan shrines vandalized in korean writing with hate quotes, and lets not forget international sports events where hate banners are brought in as well as celebrating the 2011 earthquake.

    Its true that japan has things to make up for in the past. Its not something that you can ignore. But at the same time, there are some things that need to be set straight like these. I suspect that this is part of the UN talking before they gain all information before talking out of their arse. Hillary clinton stated something like this in the past, before she got all her facts straight, and she did embarrass herself later.

    • Steve Jackman

      I have never lived in China or Korea, but I have known many Chinese and Koreans (professionally and socially), here in Japan and back in America.

      Based on my interactions with Japanese, Koreans and Chinese, I can emphatically say that I have found the Japanese to be most insular, racist, closed minded and harboring feelings of superiority (to the point of being conceited). These feelings inevitably manifest themselves in discrimination and exclusion of anyone who is non-Japanese.

      • Merchant Mmo

        You’ve been asleep, Cap. For almost 70 years.

      • Steve Jackman

        You misjudge my age.

    • warota

      I’m sure the harassed residents of Shin Okubo and Tsuruhashi who get blasted with noise and told to die on a frequent basis greatly appreciate your in depth research of textbooks, wooden plaques and banners in sporting events held in other countries. In fact, some of the shop owners tell me that they will be serving tea and cookies to the demonstrators next time they stop by and tell them die again. The demonstrators know how much they like it when Shin Okubo and Tsuruhashi residents do the same when they visit them where they live and work.

      In fact, your argument above is so convincing I think it can even trivialize the animosity that Korea and China have of being forcefully colonised and enslaved by Japan at one point in time. Never again will I underestimate the convincing power of vandalized wooden plaques again. Keep fighting the good fight, good sir!

  • Darryl McGarry

    The UN is merely stating something everyone non-Japanese who has lived in Japan is aware of. The Japanese system will not let the admonition from the UN have any real impact on the way Japanese society functions. In Japan, there are two classes of people: pure-Japanese and gaijin, be they Dutch or Korean or Chinese etc.

    Sadly, when Abe was in Australia recently he admitted Japan’s wrongdoing. Now, he will spend his time denying it mealy-mouthed. I like the term “professional prostitutes” as a description for incarcerated women organised to serve Japanese soldiers on leave.

    If Abe has the courage he should take the UN reprimand and use it to reform Japan’s society so Japanese can truly say that Japan is better than China.

    • Iain Macpherson

      Japan, whatever its imperfections, is better than China. Japan is a legitimate liberal democracy, and its societal failings don’t add up to a worse record than any other lib dem,, each of which has its own profound problems.

      • Darryl McGarry

        Thank you for your reply. However, Iain, I find you are trying to diverge and diminish any constructive criticism of Japan which, when done, fullfils a legitimate democratic right, a right given to one even in Japan. I think you agree that Japan does have its problems. It is something people both inside and outside Japan have a duty to remind Japan about, like the UN, for their own recognition. Ignoring a problem does not make it disappear.

      • Iain Macpherson

        Nice to see a civil tone on these streams.

        I just believe we all need to make peace with the fact that different nations/cultures deal with serious issues in ways that are ethically and ideologically different. Outside of a tight little set of human rights – involving freedom from physical interference, not name calling – there should be no demands for conformity to one societal system.

        This UN hue and cry, and many demands from others for Japan to change its ways, don’t recognize this tough fact – and it is tough. But recognizing it is a ‘duty,’ as you put it. Demanding that all nations – yes, even all liberal democracies – cleave to the same ideology, is a recipe for futility or worse.

        And if Japan decides to change, I strongly believe that change should be internally directed, by Japanese citizens.

        Basically, I’m just not a finger-wagger. Except to wag my finger at finger-waggers.

  • Steve Jackman

    Now, the UN needs to conduct an in depth review of Japan’s corrupt, rigged and unfair judicial system. The Japanese judicial system (judges, lawyers, and court clerks) is deeply racist and it discriminates against foreign residents of Japan, by openly breaking Japanese laws and court rules/procedures.

    The denial of due process to foreign residents by the Japanese judicial system is an infringement of their basic civil and human rights, yet it goes on unabated.

  • RGW

    I dont give two hoots in hades what the UN thinks about the state of affairs in Japan.
    Ive lived here and worked here for more than a decade, and I have never had a problem avoiding or removing myself from the vicinity of *hate speech* that was directed at me because of my foreign face. Every country has people that dont like foreigners, including the country I left behind.

    But I cant believe what Im reading in some of the comments- Japanese people are *harboring* feelings of superiority? What?!

    So now Japanese peoples private thoughts are judged offensive by you? Why would any adult care or need the approval of Japanese people so much?

    This is Japan- the country was built almost exclusively by and for Japanese. They are allowing you to live in their beautiful and safe country and frankly they dont have to- and you dont have to live here, either if you are non-japanese.

    I dont understand who complain about hate speech toward foreigners dont go live in one of those other utopian destinations that they claim are so much more welcoming to non-native people- Im sure Chinese people would welcome them with open arms.

    No doubt they would be able to live a safe, comfortable life there in China with a well-paying job, clean streets and air and the ability to express themselves freely on public forums such as this one with no fear of reprisal. Go on, the peoples paradise is waiting for you :)

    Back here on earth, things are different. If you spend time in NYs Chinatown or Harlem, unless you match the racial demographic you will find out pretty fast that you are not welcomed as a member of those communities. And that is in the US, with its history of immigrants, and a multi-racial population.

    Why do you expect the situation to be better in Japan?

    • Steve Jackman

      “I don’t understand who complain about hate speech toward foreigners dont go live in one of those other utopian destinations that they claim are so much more welcoming to non-native people”.

      In case, you haven’t noticed, they do. Japan has one of the lowest immigrant populations of any country in the world. The recent initiative by the Japanese government to attract more foreign skilled workers to Japan failed miserably. What do you think the reasons are for that?

    • Iain Macpherson

      Well put, RGW! You are precisely right.

  • Paul Johnny Lynn

    I’ll give you just one example from my experiences here. 10 years ago when I decided to get out of my shared apartment, my girlfriend and I started hitting the real estate agents. She wasn’t upset when one of the asked “Are any of your friends black?” but I was. She was reduced to tears though when after an hour, and some 15 phone calls to customers of the agent who all “declined” the offer of a foreign renter, when she asked the staff “Would it be easier if he wasn’t foreign? “Oh of course!” beamed the pen pusher, “See it’s like when you have a dog. No-one wants them either.” He was still smiling, NO idea how offensive what he’d just said was. Removing signage or whatever would be nice, but it’s going to take a quantum leap for a good percentage of the Japanese to accept that non-Japanese are fellow human beings deserving of the kind of treatment they expect for themselves.

  • Thomas Ralph Nissen

    I’ve lived here in Fukushima for the past 25 years. I’ve never seen a Japanese Only sign anywhere in the country in that time. I don’t doubt they exist, I’ve just never seen any. Also IMHO this UN report is a waste of time and paper. This scolding is about as consequential as a mosquito’s wang. Why can’t they do anything about the stuff in Gaza, Syria, and Ukraine?

    • Steve Jackman

      Anyone who keeps up with the current news and world affairs is well aware of the UN’s efforts to help resolve the conflicts you’ve mentioned.

      Unfortunately, humanity has a way of discounting and ignoring problems which the UN identifies early on, as you are doing in the case of this UN report on human rights violations in Japan, until it is too late and after the conflicts have already intensified. As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. But, as your comment suggests, some people never seem to learn.

      • itoshima2012

        the UN “helping to resolve”? should I laugh or cry?? What did they ever resolve?? Nothing, come on get real, it’s a talking club wasting indirectly tax payers money, and I can guarantee you, a lot of money….

    • itoshima2012

      idem above, I’ve been living here 17 years, never seen one, never experienced racism…. the UN, a talking club….

  • Thomas Ralph Nissen

    I admit to being a slow learner. But I stand by my comments. Anyone who read my comments is well aware that I stated the UN can’t do anything about what’s happening in Gaza, Syria, and Ukraine. Do you believe their efforts there have produced results? Do you believe this report will be any different? Here’s what Japan hears from this report:” You are bad. You better shape up!” You can guess the response. As I said, a waste of time.

    • itoshima2012

      Thomas, can’t but agree 100%!

  • Thomas Ralph Nissen

    This was supposed to be a reply to Mr. Jackman’s comments below. Like I said, I’m a slow learner when it comes to this Internet stuff.

  • Steve Jackman

    No one disputes that racists exist in every country and every society. The difference is that racism in Japan seems state sanctioned and is institutionalized. Government entities and state institutions like the police and judicial system in Japan have a deeply entrenched culture of racism, discrimination and xenophobia.

    Furthermore, the scale of racism and the way it permeates throughout Japanese society is much broader than any other developed country. It is these aspects of racism and discrimination in Japan which are so worrying and why Japan is often singled out.

    • Iain Macpherson

      in arguing that racism permeates Japanese society more so than any other developed country, you’re leaving out the U.S., at least. France too. Actually, probably a lot of places.

      • Earl Kinmonth

        Hear, hear. The large scale 2005 summer riots in France were in large measure the result of blatant discrimination.

  • wada

    I suppose that Hate speech come from your delusion and uncomprehension.

  • Steve Jackman

    I don’t think there is enough space in the comments section here for me to give you detailed answers to all your questions, so I would like to direct you to the website of Dr. Debito Arudou. He writes a column in this newspaper and I believe you will find detailed answers to all your questions on his personal website.

    • Earl Kinmonth

      You could try…. And, I am all too familiar with “Doctor” Debito Arudou and his writing. Indeed, if you search his web site, you will find my name. Further, having lived in Japan off and on since 1971 (permanently since 1997), I have a quarter century (total) of personal observations from which I can make my own generalizations. Moreover, unlike the honorable “doctor,” I have also lived a large chunk of my life as a foreign resident of another island empire other than Japan, something that gives me a certain comparative perspective.

      • Steve Jackman

        Debito’s website is an excellent repository of hundreds, if not thousands, of independent third party resources documenting racism, discrimination, hate speech and xenophobia targeted towards non-Japanese residents of Japan. You don’t have to agree with Debito’s personal views to use these third party resources, whose links Debito provides on his website.

        His website also contains testimonials from hundreds of non-Japanese residents who have encountered various forms of racism, discrimination, bullying and violence in Japan.

        Since, Debito has been carefully documenting and archiving this information on his website for years, you should be able to access this material, regardless of your personal feelings about him. I have no intention of reinventing the wheel for you here.

    • warota

      You usually do a good job Steve but you shouldn’t open yourself up to doing comparisons between other countries otherwise you get flooded with these highly refined “tu quoque” arguments that people like Earl have been saving up in their bookmark folders exactly for times like these.

      Just focusing on the problems within the context of Japan is enough and things usually go well when you do. Make a comparison outside and you’ll get forced to start defending from all sorts of angles.

      • Earl Kinmonth

        “Just focusing on the problems within the context of Japan is enough and
        things usually go well when you do.” Yes, when you preach to the choir, you usually get a good response. “Make a comparison outside and you’ll
        get forced to start defending from all sorts of angles.” Heaven forbid that anyone appending comments to a Japan Times article should actually have to support their claims with evidence. I’m sure this must violate the “terms of service” agreement you consent to when posting. I don’t have those terms handy but I’m sure it says somewhere that when someone asserts that Japan is worse than anywhere else, they must never actually provide any hard evidence in support of this claim.

      • warota

        When you can’t use tu quoque, you switch to strawman. Alright.

        No one is arguing about supplying evidence for their arguments here. Also, no one is arguing about what you’re sure you think the Terms of Service say or not.

        I’m simply trying to warn Steve to stay on point without dragging in stuff from the outside which opens him up to tu quoque unnecessarily. While he shouldn’t have opened himself up and got trolled into a useless tu quoque battle, if no one provides evidence against your tu quoque arguments, it’s no big loss anyway.

  • warota

    No one is interested in tu quoque arguments anymore. Really.

    I am interested however in your thought process of how you connected a giant fart machine to racist hate speech.

    • Earl Kinmonth

      Simple. If a Japanese had built something like this and aimed it a Korea, all the usual suspects would be blathering about anti-Korean attitudes on the part of Japanese. It probably would have been front page news in everything from the New York Times to the Podunk Gazette. The British and the French bad mouth each other all the time and no one makes a big deal out of it. As for tu quoque arguments, some people have a high tolerance of hypocritical statements. Others have a low tolerance. As an American, I have a very low tolerance for hypocritical statements particularly when they are made by other Americans. And, you need to explain to me how anything the Japanese say about the Koreans or vice versa can be “racist.” If this is racism, the English bad mouthing the Scots, or the Irish bad mouthing the English is also “racist.” A white southener who says he hates Yankees is a racist, and so on and so on until the word “racist” has no meaning.

      • Steve Jackman

        What you are missing is that in other developed countries, for every one racist idiot, there are many more who are raising their voices against racism and discrimination, and calling for tolerance, equality and inclusiveness.

        Japan is singular in that, not only are there a lot of racists here, but that there is a complete absence of any Japanese calling for an end to racism, discrimination and xenophobia.

        You have to look at both sides of the coin to get a balanced view.

      • Earl Kinmonth

        “Japan is singular in that, not only are there a lot of racists here, but
        that there is a complete absence of any Japanese calling for an end to
        racism, discrimination and xenophobia.” I take it that you do not (cannot) read the Japanese language press or understand what is said in Japanese language television news reports. This claim is completely false and an insult to the Japanese lawyers and Japanese support groups that deal with these issues. Some groups working to end discrimination in Japan have histories dating back to the 1920s. Do a search in Japanese on 反差別団体 and you will find there are in fact quite a number of groups in Japan working on various discimination issues. I’m sure even “Doctor” Arudou will tell you such groups exist. I’ve attended symposia where he appeared with representatives from Japanese anti-dscrimination groups.

      • Steve Jackman

        I’m not talking about appearances, since the Japanese are quite good at doing things for optics. Neither am I talking about Japanese of Korean descent fighting for rights of Korean residents in Japan, since Japan does not consider them Japanese.

      • Earl Kinmonth

        Neither am I. There are, for example, Japanese lawyers and support groups that have helped the Brazilians in Japan with discrimination issues. There are, for example, Japanese lawyers and support groups that have helped people of various nationalities fight deportation. There are, for example, Japanese lawyers and Japanese support groups that have helped get unsound convictions of foreigners overturned. Some Japanese lawyers and Japanese support groups have even been written up in the Japan Times. Even if you cannot read Japanese you should know of their existence.

      • Steve Jackman

        Bah Humbug!

      • warota

        You gotta give credit where credit is due Steve. We can’t paint them all with the same brush. There are progressive Japanese that “do good” (however underrepresented they are). The lawyers for the 82 year old Chinese woman is a good example.

        There’s plenty of criticism to go around to people that deserve it.

      • Steve Jackman

        I don’t know the background of this particular lawyer, but most often in Japan it seems that lawyers of Chinese ethnicity fight for rights of Chinese residents, lawyers of Korean ethnicity fight for rights of Korean residents, etc. There is very little crossing over ethnic lines and few mainstream or Yamato Japanese ever bother to defend the rights of those who they do not consider to be “pure” Japanese.

      • warota

        What I tell myself is that we have to judge people on their actions no matter who they are. Otherwise, we’re no better than people who want to use racial arguments and can’t think at the individual level. This is where Debito and crew trap themselves sometimes I feel.

        Reward the good actions, criticize the bad. People may also change their opinion over time. Keep things focused to the issue at hand. Easier said than done, sure. But if we want to preach fairness, we have to and act on it.

        In fact, I’m actually more moved by Japanese who advocate for foreigners’ rights than other foreigners who do. They could have easily joined the status quo but instead invite criticism by doing the opposite. They put their professional lives on the line for an insignificant minority. That shouldn’t be criticized. It should be praised whenever possible.

      • warota

        For sure. There’s a reason why these underpowered groups have been fighting for so long with limited results.

      • Earl Kinmonth

        The NAACP was founded in 1909. I just checked their home page. They seem to think that much remains to be done and that there are strong forces in the US trying to undo past gains especially in terms of voting rights. It is not just Japan where limited results have been achieved by groups fighting discrimination.

      • warota

        Remember what I said about tu quoque?

      • warota

        So that’s how you connect a giant fart machine in Britain aimed at France to racist hate speech. The connection is a hypothetical situation of the Japanese building a giant fart machine aimed at Korea! Yes, even I have to admit that is very simple. If this doesn’t convince Shin Okubo and Tsuruhashi residents that demonstrators that are telling them to die where they live and work isn’t racist, I don’t know what will.

        You seem to misunderstand what tu quoque fallacies are about. They have nothing to do with your personal sense of hypocrisy and wording. They’re about the use of criticism against another criticism. The reason this doesn’t work is because if they were valid arguments then anything goes and it never ends (eg. your giant fart machine argument).

      • Earl Kinmonth

        Forget the fart machine. Explain to me how anti-Korean sentiments expressed by Japanese are “racist.” Do Japanese and Koreans belong to different “races?” And, if you can explain this, then please explain why vitriolic anti-Japanese statements made by Koreans and Chinese are not “racist” or at least not called “racist” by the press or UN reports. The anti-Korean demonstrators in Japan do little more than make noise. Anti-Japanese demonstrators in China have repeatedly burned and looted Japanese owned facilities. What makes the latter acceptable but the former unacceptable? Has the UN condemned either the PRC or ROK for racist and inflamatory rhetoric? This is not a tu quoque argument. I want to know how you define racism. I want to know why J saying nasty thing about C or K is “racism” but C or K saying nasty things about J is not “racism.”

      • warota

        Oh no, I don’t think I can ever forget about the fart machine being appropriated for an argument about racist hate speech. Incidentally, it’s made in reference to a skit in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Do a search on “french taunt monty python holy grail” on Youtube.

        Let’s address your strawmen now.

        I never said Koreans and Chinese weren’t racist as if they’re all an amorphous blob to be generalized about. Regardless if they are, that still doesn’t excuse things like what goes on in Shin Okubo and Tsuruhashi.

        I’m not excusing Chinese burning and looting Japanese facilities either. Those are heinous acts. Again, this still doesn’t excuse stuff like what happens in Shin Okubo and Tsuruhashi.

        I also never said that such things were acceptable either. They are as unacceptable as what goes on in Shin Okubo and Tsuruhashi.

        Also, why ask me whether the UN has condemned the PRC or ROK yet? You like to research stuff like this. Why don’t you find out? I’m sure you’ll be back to tell us all about it later.

        I also never said anything about whatever Chinese and Koreans say isn’t racist while what Japanese say is.

        What I was talking about is you trying to use a giant fart machine constructed in Britain and pointed at France to try and claim that demonstrators in Shin Okubo and Tsuruhashi are not racist.

      • Earl Kinmonth

        Haven’t answered my question. Drop everything else. Answer this one single question. “What is your definition of racism?”

      • warota

        What? You’re the one who brought all of that up and now you want to get into an argument over semantics? Pick any definition from the dictionary you want and run with it. Do you still think doing so will legitmize what happens in Shin Okubo and Tsuruhashi?

      • Earl Kinmonth

        Racism is a very loaded and inflamatory word. I don’t like to see it used casually. I’m old enough to remember when in a large chunk of the US blacks rode in the back of buses and black children had to attend “separate but equal” facilities. When I was in graduate school, I worked on a large scale study of lynching in the US. That’s racism for me. Japanese rednecks screaming anti-Korean slogans is pretty trivial. That does not excuse it, but I would imagine that anyone who has experienced American hardcore racism would find it somewhat lacking.

      • warota

        Again, no one affected by this cares about your personal standards of “racism”, what you did or didn’t do in grad school or what you remember of segregation in the US. Watch any videos of these demonstrations and tell me with a straight face that “racism” is being used casually here.

        > That does not excuse it, but I would imagine that anyone who has experienced American hardcore racism would find it somewhat lacking.

        So you do think it’s considered “racism” just like most reasonable people. OK, making some progress here…

        Except you feel the demonstrations don’t quite meet your standards of what “real” racism is as you’ve experienced in the US. The problem, as you seem to see it, seem to be a matter of degrees. Perhaps there should be violence and lynchings before you’ll start considering it to be “racism” or at least considered bad enough to make a negative comment on. But then you seem to consider non-violent segregation to be “racist” so perhaps the level of violence isn’t considered in your personal standard for “racism”?

        I’m sure you’ll be back to explain this logic according to your personal standards to show how we should still continue to take your opinions seriously.

      • Earl Kinmonth

        I’ll put this as simply as possible. Take it or leave it. I think Americans like to call the anti-Korean demonstrations “racist” because that lowers Japan to the level of the United States and its history of blatant, violent racism and enslavement. I’ll accept racist as a proper term for Japanese anti-Korean demonstrations only if Americans (and the UN) also use this terminology for Russian Ukraine, Israeli Arab, Protestant Catholic (in Northern Ireland), Chinese anti-Japanese, Korean anti-Japanese, propaganda. etc. rhetoric and demonstrations. And, just for the record, I don’t have to watch videos. There is a Chosen Gakko near my home that has been the subject of demonstrations. I have seen the goons close up.

      • warota

        > I’ll put this as simply as possible. Take it or leave it.

        Alrighty then. Way to stick to your arbitrary definitions of racism. Awesome.