Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara said Sunday he is worried about safety “as a resident” because of crimes by illegal aliens but promised not to again use the derogatory term “sangokujin” for Korean and other residents of Japan.

Ishihara, on a TV Asahi program, denounced robberies and drug sales allegedly committed by people illegally staying in Japan. He said the Foreign Ministry should urge Chinese authorities to crack down on “snakehead” groups and other criminals.

“As a resident of Tokyo, I’m concerned about safety,” the governor said.

Ishihara criticized Kyodo News for failing to mention “unlawfully staying” foreigners in its report of his speech at a GSDF ceremony in Tokyo on April 9. Kyodo reported he had called on the GSDF to be ready to control possible rioting by foreigners in the event of a major earthquake, saying “sangokujin” and other foreigners had committed “atrocious crimes.”

“It’s not fair,” Ishihara said of the Kyodo dispatch, adding he “strongly” expected Kyodo to respond to his protest.

But he said, “I understand,” when Soichiro Tahara, the TV program host, asked him not to use the term “sangokujin.”

“Sangokujin” literally means “people from third countries,” but is usually used to refer to people from Taiwan and the Korean Peninsula, which Japan ruled before and during World War II and from where it brought large numbers of forced laborers to help its war effort.

Ishihara on Friday expressed “regret” over the remarks.

“If I have carelessly hurt Korean residents in Japan and other foreigners in general, it was not what I intended, and I regret it,” he told the New Komeito party bloc in the metropolitan assembly on Friday, assembly members said.

Can’t see Dalai Lama

Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara said in a TV Asahi program Sunday he wants to meet the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, but cannot do so because the Foreign Ministry is concerned about potential repercussions from China.

Ishihara said the Foreign Ministry “feels constrained” when it comes to China, which is protesting over the Dalai Lama’s visit to Japan.

According to sources close to Tibet’s exiled government, the Japanese government, before issuing an entry visa to the Dalai Lama, stipulated that he must not meet Ishihara.

Japan told the office in January that the Dalai Lama must not involve himself in any political activities in Japan, a stance in line with Japan’s support of Beijing’s “one China” policy, the sources said.