Abe and his ministers give anti-foreigner rallies tacit green light

To the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe:

I read with sadness The Japan Times of July 11. In it, an article (“Politicians silent on curbing hate speech” by Eric Johnston) spoke of the demonstrations taking place, largely in Osaka and Tokyo, which demonize foreign residents in Japan [and in particular Koreans] and openly speak of their murder.

However, my sadness turned to alarm when I read of the middling, noncommittal response of the ministers of your government.

You, Mr. Abe, are quoted as calling these demonstrations “regrettable” but you are apparently content to “leave this matter to the good conscience of the average Japanese.”

Please, just for a moment, imagine your families — your mothers and sisters, your husbands and sons — living abroad in a country where crowds gathered and spoke proudly of the necessity of their murder — where ghoulish mobs of fanatics joined together in condemning them not for what they had done but for who they were.

Would you not expect the government of that nation to protect them? And would you not also claim that any failure on their part to do so represents a dereliction of their duty to protect all of the people under their care, from tourists there for a matter of days through to third-generation residents?

As history has shown us, when your tribalism becomes so exaggerated and your concern for the “other” so shriveled that openly calling for their murder in the streets is an event that merits hardly any comment, then the rope holding our collective humanity aloft appears very thin indeed.

Is your intellect so malnourished or your morality so brutalized that you can view the public advocacy of murder, and murder based on race, as an event deserving of anything other than the most unequivocal condemnation?

Though I love Japan, my ancestry, cultural heritage and appearance makes me different. But does not my desire to live a happy life, to love my wife, to raise healthy children, to seek beauty and friendship in the world around me, do all of these things not make me exactly the same as you?

These ideas represent the core of human dignity, the thread that binds us all. I would have thought that these bonds would have compelled you to categorically condemn the outrages inflicted upon them in Tokyo and Osaka.

That none of you did represents either unconscionable callousness or the most obscene brand of cynicism. You should be ashamed.


Send your submissions of 500-700 words to community@japantimes.co.jp .

  • Casper Steuperaert

    These protests shoul be banned. Freedom of speech, but violation of human rights at the same time.

    • Murasaki

      They should not be banned, this is Japan and people are free to say with they think as long as they do not assault another person. If gaikokujin are offended then they know where the closest airport is to leave, it is that simple.

      I do not see you saying anything about the same thing happening in south korea outside the Japanese Embassy every week of every year, where koreans are burning Japanese flags, jumping and stabbing photographs of the Japanese PM and calling for the murder of Japanese.

      • MattH

        “If gaikokujin are offended then they know where the closest airport is to leave, it is that simple.” The retort of an intellectual dwarf. The issue is NOT that simple. You evidently are.

      • Murasaki

        It is that simple. I am sick and tired of Gaikokujin complaining about how Japan works or what Japan should and should not do or how Japanese should think and behave. This is Japan for Japanese, if you do not like it then leave, stop trying to change the country and peoples thinking to suit yours. Do not like what Japan does or do not like how Japanese behave or do not like Japanese laws, then GO HOME, no one has a gun to your thick skull forcing you to stay in Japan!

      • Spudator

        First this from you:

        [T]his is Japan and people are free to say [what] they think as long as they do not assault another person.

        Then this:

        I am sick and tired of Gaikokujin complaining about how Japan works or what Japan should and should not do or how Japanese should think and behave.

        So in one breath you support the principle that people in Japan should be free to speak their minds; then, in another breath, you’re completely against it.

        You seem confused. Perhaps you could clarify your thinking for us.

      • Murasaki

        Yes, this is Japan and people (Japanese) are free to say what they think it is their country!

        Gaikokujin on the other hand do not have that right. Gaikokujin are here to make money mostly and sooner or later will take off home again.
        Gaikokujin have ‘ NO RIGHTS ‘ to tell Japan or Japanese what they should and should not do, think or how they should behave as Japan is NOT their home country.
        Gaikokujin do not have the right to ‘VOTE’ so they do not have the rights to try and change Japan or Japanese.
        Gaikokujin are ‘VISITORS’ to Japan only, even when holding a permanent residency visa you are still a visitor as that PR visa can be cancelled any time and you can be deported!

      • JS

        This way of thinking is proof that Japan’s stagnation and two lost decades are not a result of the high value of the yen, monetary or fiscal policy, high corporate taxation or other government policies.

        Japan’s stagnation and decline are a direct result of the attitudes which are so well encapsulated in Murasaki’s comments.

        This is why Abenomics is not going to work in getting Japan out of the current situation, since it does not address the root cause behind Japan’s decline.

      • robertwgordonesq

        There never was a “Japanese stagnation”.

        All a myth.

        See: “The Myth of Japan’s Failure” found at: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/08/opinion/sunday/the-true-story-of-japans-economic-success.html?ref=opinion&pagewanted=all–


        BBC interview found at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/newsnight/9677356.stm

      • JS

        Someone must have forgotten to tell Prime Minister Abe and the other conservative leaders at the LDP that Japan is not stagnating, since they have been working very hard to try to resuscitate Japan by implementing their “Three Arrows” strategy.

        I guess Mr. Abe also fell prey to this myth. Quick, someone tell him that it is all a myth and Japan is firing on all cylinders, so his three arrows are not needed after all.

      • robertwgordonesq

        Well, it wouldn’t be the first time a politician used a myth to advance a political agenda:

        1. “Oh look, Iraq has weapons of mass destruction…let’s intervene!” George Bush (2003).
        [Fn 1]

        2. “Those damned Chinese blew up our railroad line! We must invade China! The Japanese Military (1931) The “Mukden Incident”, a.k.a. “The Manchurian Incident”. [Fn 2]

        3. “We are being attacked by the Hawaiians …we must overthrow the Queen!” Coup d’état of the Hawaiian Kingdom by the United States Government (1893).
        [Fn 3]

        4. “15 of the 19 hijackers who flew airplanes into the World Trade Center buildings in New York came from Saudi Arabia….well…let’s attack Afghanistan…it makes perfect sense!” U.S. Secretary of Defense, Don “the Con” Rumsfeld (2001). [Fn 4]

        Yup…I always trust politicians to tell me the truth about their motivations. They are after all…always correct and impeccably honest. Especially in matters involving life and death.

        (the implication being…in case some folk missed it…is if politicians will lie to you about matters concerning life and death, why wouldn’t they hesitate to lie to you about matters concerning “only” money?)

        “chyoto-mate Abe-san…Did I break your concentration? I think you dropped an arrow there.” “Nan-des-kah!”

        [Fn 1] Weapons of Mass Destruction? http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/DC-Decoder/2012/0908/Did-the-CIA-just-mess-up-on-Iraq-s-weapons-of-mass-destruction

        [Fn 2] Japanese pretext to invade China: http://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/Mukden+Incident

        [Fn 3] Pretext to Overthrow the Kingdom of Hawaii by the United States using military force: http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/disp_textbook.cfm?smtID=3&psid=4050

        [Fn 4] National Origins of the September 11th hijackers: http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/27/us/september-11th-hijackers-fast-facts

        Also, evidence suggests that Rumsfeld ordered attacks in Afghanistan, not because of September 11th, but rather as an excuse to eliminate the Taliban who were controlling prime land where a lucrative natural gas pipeline was to be built, benefiting American corporations and creating an economic windfall for those corporations. The pipeline is known as the “Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India Pipeline or “TAPI” for short” See: http://www.ensec.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=233:afghanistan-the-tapi-pipeline-and-energy-geopolitics&catid=103:energysecurityissuecontent&Itemid=358

      • Spudator

        Yes, this is Japan and people (Japanese) are free to say what they think it is their country!

        I don’t think you understand the concept of the rule of law or the principle that all people are equal under the law.

        The Japanese have freedom of speech because Japanese law allows free speech. In fact, Article 21 of the Japanese Constitution specifically guarantees it. However, Japanese law applies not only to Japanese citizens but to everybody on Japanese soil. In other words, foreign nationals having permission to be in Japan enjoy all the rights and protections under Japanese law that Japanese citizens do, with the exception of those rights expressly reserved for citizens, such as the right to vote.

        If, under the law, the Japanese are free to speak their minds on any subject they choose, so, too, are foreigners. Contrary to your statement that “Gaikokujin have ‘NO RIGHTS’ to tell Japan or Japanese what they should and should not do, think or how they should behave,” I have to tell you that, yes, foreign nationals do indeed have such rights. Japanese law gives them those rights.

        Now I’ve no doubt that this idea of it being lawful for foreigners to tell the Japanese how to behave must sound horrifying to you. But here’s the good news: the Japanese don’t have to listen; they’re free to ignore what all those vociferous outsiders are saying and choose their own way of conducting their affairs based on their own beliefs. And that’s the law, too, because Article 19 of the constitution specifically states that “freedom of thought and conscience shall not be violated.” Words, no matter how strongly expressed, are about persuasion, not coercion; you don’t need to feel threatened by them, especially when you have the constitution on your side.

        Alternatively—and this is where it gets interesting—instead of ignoring what foreigners are saying, the Japanese can use their right of free speech to engage those foreigners in debate using reason and logic, evidence and proof, and all the other aspects of that wonderful intellectual methodology the ancient Greeks (another outlandish bunch) called Logos and bestowed on the whole world, much to the benefit of humanity. So if something a foreigner dares to say sounds wrong, instead of telling them to shut up and go home, argue with them and, if you can, refute what they’re saying. You may teach them something; you’ll probably learn something yourself in the process; you’ll definitely achieve something of the greatest importance.

        You see, debate is the whole point of freedom of thought and freedom of speech, and it’s why these principles are enshrined in the Japanese constitution. If intelligent, educated people are allowed to think and speak without restriction and without fear, and if they employ those rights to engage in civilised debate based on a willingness to use and recognise correct reasoning, then it represents their best hope of finding the truth and so improving their world, enhancing their dignity, and living in a way that, as advanced creatures and children of the universe, befits them. Freedom of thought and freedom of speech allow us to reach our full potential as human beings. What could be more important than that?

        So you can see why The Japan Times, a publication that seeks the truth, considers it important to host these discussion threads and provide a place where readers can debate matters and conduct their own search for the truth. Why don’t you use the threads for the purpose for which they were intended? You can read and write English, the international language (well done; that’s a great achievement and something you should be proud of); why not use that ability to engage the international community—of which you are also a member—in debate? Why learn a language that allows you to talk to the world and then use that language to tell the world to stop talking? Isn’t that a misapplication of language and a terrible waste of a precious gift?

      • JS

        Wow, Murasaki, you don’t seem to understand that non-Japanese residents of Japan do actually have legal rights afforded to them under the Japanese constitution and Japanese laws.

        For example, a non-Japanese person living in Japan has the same legal rights and protections as a Japanese person if he/she is raped, assaulted, killed or robbed by a Japanese citizen.

        Let me inform you that a Japanese court would not be following the Japanese constitution and the laws of Japan if it acquitted a Japanese of murdering, raping or robbing a non-Japanese resident on the grounds that the non-Japanese person has “NO RIGHTS” in Japan (as you put it).

        As a Japanese citizen, you should at least try to gain a basic understanding of the Japanese constitution and legal system.

      • Murasaki

        The Law says non-Japanese residents have legal rights, but you try getting in to a court and defending them right.

        2004 Was working as a Security Manager for a company here and after 2 months was not paid, asked why and was sacked, went to labour office and told ‘NOT JAPANESE cannot help’ my wife worked for the same company and she was also not paid, labour office helped her and she got her money.

        2007 hit by a car, driver took off and was never caught which is not surprising as police only do half jobs when it comes to crimes against non-Japanese.

        Both hips were damaged and it took 3 years to have them replaced, I need dual BHR so I could return to my job in Close Protection and Security.

        The hospital that did the job claimed 100% success and I will have a full recovery and be abled to return to my job.

        A day after the operation the BHR joint in the right hip moved and I was forced to have another operation to remove the joint and replace it 4 days later. 6 months after getting out of hospital the right hip came away from the bone forcing me in to hospital again for operation on the right hip.

        This time I went to a different hospital and was told the first hospital messed up both hips, the left hip instead of lasting 15 to 20 years as a BHR should, the hospital said I will be lucky if it lasts 5 years before it will need removing and a THR put in, the right hip need to be completely removed and THR implants put in right away.

        I now have a BHR in the left hip that needs to come out in December this year, the right hip is a THR and I cannot walk up or down steps now because a total of 7 operations on the hip to keep repairing it has damaged nerves, muscles, tendons and the bones.

        I ended up getting the first hospital to admit their mistakes and have it in writing, went to a lawyer to see about suing as I worked in close protection/security and now no longer can because of the mess up with the operations and was told “NOT JAPANESE, chance of winning the case is about 10% and not worth the trouble”.

        I have spoken to 3 law firms in Japan about suing the hospital and even with a written statement saying the hospital screwed up, I cannot win… Japanese sue non-Japan and have a 99% chance of winning the case, Non-Japanese sue Japanese and only have a 10% chance of winning.

        I am now Japanese and once again looking at suing the Hospital, but will wait until the new left hip is implanted.

        Case 1998 Korean had a Eye operation in Osaka, hospital mess up and she went blind, can no longer work and relied on her Japanese husband to do everything for her, she got it in to court in 2006 and after only 3 weeks was told she cannot sue and the case was thrown out.

        So your comment “a non-Japanese person living in Japan has the same legal rights and protections as a Japanese person if he/she is raped, assaulted, killed or robbed by a Japanese citizen.”

        Yes work in Theory but when it come to real life, good luck!

      • JS

        I empathasize with all the bad experiences you went through as a non-Japanese resident of Japan. I am sorry that you had to experience such humiliation, pain, discrimination and unjust treatment in Japan. You have my full sympathy, since nobody should have to endure such humiliation and discrimination, regardless of their citizenship.

        Given your own horrible experiences, which you clearly feel were due to your being non-Japanese, I would have thought that you would take a stronger stance against hate speech and incitement of violence targeted towards other non-ethnic Japanese residents of this country.

        However, you stated in an earlier post here that you are now a right wing Japanese citizen. I know we all deal with traumatic experiences in different ways. Was becoming a right winger your way of dealing with your own traumatic experiences, which you have described so vividly in your post above?

        How do you reconcile your own experiences with discrimination and unjust treatment that you experienced as a non-Japanese resident, with your becoming a right wing naturalized Japanese citizen?

      • Olivier

        So, being bullied by Japanese law when you were non-Japanese, you decide to become a bully as a Japanese??!! Sounds pretty odd to me… Or maybe not… Now you have the law on YOUR side to bully other non-Japanese people…

      • Andrew Livingston

        It’s incredible how Japanese that actually is, to be bullied when younger only to become the bully later on. Have you ever watched how the kouhai/sempai relationship actually works in a lot of places, especially schools?

      • Iain Macpherson

        I was with you all the way until you came out and said that gaikokujin shouldn’t have free speech in Japan. Japanese can say what they want in Canada, and the same should apply back.

        But I do agree that gaikokujin *should* quit telling Japanese how to run their own society. It’s just that they should be told to shut up, not be kicked out of the country. Don’t be dumb, man!

      • R0ninX3ph

        So, people who have emigrated to Japan for generations, have been raised in Japan, think like Japanese people not to mention often have Japanese names and Japanese citizenship should “go home”, guess what genius… THEY ARE HOME.

      • R0ninX3ph

        I like your enthusiasm to go and abuse me instantly but do you not realise that these people spouting hate-speech are saying the same as you? Calling for the “Zainichi Koreans” to “Go home”? They are home. They are just as “Japanese” as any of the “real Japanese” save for their heritage and calling for them to return home is completely moronic.

      • Steve

        I have a sneaking feeling that Murasaki is not actually Japanese….

      • Murasaki

        Correct, Australian born British / Sicilian … I copped racism first hand by Australians that told me even though I was born in Australia and was an Australian citizen, Australia was not my home and I should return to my parents home the UK or Italy .. I saw first had immigrants to Australia trying to change the views and thinking of Australian and all being told to go home, they were not wanted in Australia, because they were causing trouble, if in Australia then do as Australian and behave, if you do not like it then leave.

        The immigrants that kept their mouth shut and behave Australian had no problems, but the ones that opened their mouths and caused trouble brought the same rubbish down on immigrants that tried to keep out of the spot light.

        There was no tension between Australia, Italy or the UK so why the racism, easy because I was not WHITE .. and that was it.

        Here in Japan the story is different, china and korea bash Japan daily, both keep going on about WWII and this is why the Japanese are Anti-korean/chinese, then you have the USA telling Japan to do this or that, import this US product or buy US debt bonds and when Japan says ‘NO’ to the US, you have idiots in the US wanting to slap sanctions on Japan.
        Then you have the gaikokujin that do nothing but complain about everything that happens in Japan, about Japanese laws and about Japanese, because Japanese do not behave like the people back home or because the Laws in Japan are not like home.

        So of course you are going to get Japanese that are anti-gaikokujin.

        I was on a PR Visa here in Japan, I am now a citizen, I use a Japanese Name, Vote, Pay taxes, behave Japanese, yet I still do not complain about Japan even though now I have the right to.

        Like I said it makes me sick that a lot of gaikokujin cause problems here and think they have some right to try and force Japanese to change, it is the gaikokujin that have to change, not Japan or Japanese.

        As they say when in ROME!

      • 思德

        It’s a shame that you were the recipient of racism in Australia. Do you see any irony, then, between your experience in Australia (“be like an Australian or shut up and leave”) and your own statements here (“be like a Japanese person or shut up and leave”)? You do realize that the same thing that caused you harm and suffering in Oz is the same exact thing that you are promoting now, right?

      • Murasaki

        There is a difference between Australia and Japan … Like I said the UK and Italy was not bashing Australia daily over WWII, unlike korea and china that bash Japan daily on the news and in their papers.

        If you look closely most of the Anti-Gaikokujin demos are directed at chinese and koreans. Not the rest of the gaikokujin population.

      • robertwgordonesq


        Because he/she (?) is articulate?

        I thought the same thing, but only because he/she (?) has mad jokes.

        Note: The word “mad” here is an English slang word from the Northeastern part of the United States meaning “clever”, “outstanding”, “powerful”, “noteworthy”. It has nothing to do with being angry or crazy.

      • robertwgordonesq

        Murasaki said: “When god was giving out brains you must of assumed he said trains and asked for a slow one, am I correct?”

        OH SNAP!

      • Harmel Guram

        What if Japanese people complain about how Japan works? Where should they go if Japan is their home, Murasaki san? Calling for the murder of human beings is criminal, whether or not the law technically acknowledges it as a criminal act. It is the responsibility of the government to maintain peace and to ensure that all law-abiding people within their jurisdiction are and feel safe.

      • Murasaki

        Can you READ? Do you understand simple English? Japanese have the right to complain about Japan, they are Japanese and it is their HOME, you as a Gaikokujin in Japan do not have the right to complain about Japan as you are NOT a citizen and like it or not this is not your home no matter how hard you stomp your feet and cry. If you become Japanese and renounce all other citizenships as the law requires then and only then do you have the rights to complain about Japan and call Japan your home, until them Japanese and the Government of Japan will look at you as nothing more then a foreigner here for a short time before taking flight back to your ‘Home Country’

        NOTE : Your Home Country is the Country you cannot be deported from, you not Japanese then Japan is not your home, because you can be deported at the drop of a hat.

      • Harmel Guram

        Murasaki, you do not represent the opinions of the majority. No country exists in a bubble (unless we’re talking about North Korea) and Japan is no exception. You have selectively ignored the gist of my previous post and you are free to ignore whatever you wish as that is your right. It’s not illegal to be ignorant and that is a very good thing for you. The path that Abe wants to lead Japan down will only be detrimental to Japan in the overall scheme of things. The UYOKU that like to pretend being patriotic are anything but patriotic as they speak their venomous words towards non-Japanese people. They are disgraceful at best. By saying this, I am in no way defending the actions of some that speak the same way about the Japanese in Korea and China.

      • Murasaki

        I can tell you know, most of the Japanese I know and deal with are anti-gaikokujin and it is because they have had bad dealings with gaikokujin, the only reason I am accepted is because I am now Japanese, I think Japanese and I am right wing.

      • Christopher-trier

        Or, you could analyse what is said and see if there is merit to the complaint, if the complaint is based on a misunderstanding, or if the complaint is unwarranted. Criticism and abuse should not be conflated.

      • Jeffrey

        Since the primary audience for this protest and many others like it are ethnic Koreans whose families have been in Japan, in some cases for about 100 years and in others forced here, people who do not speak any Korean and are otherwise as Japanese as you, how do you feel about these people?

        Or, to dig deeper, you do understand that there really is no such thing as a Japanese, but that the population is an historic amalgamation of SE and East Asian migrants? Remember, the Ainu were here first, Kimosabe.

      • Frank Thornton

        Unfortunately for you, Japan needs the gaikokujin more than the gaikokujin need Japan. Same as Japan needs the outside world more than the world needs Japan. This, is reality.

        I’ve lived in Japan for over half of my life. Does that mean that I have to be happy about everything? Am I not allowed to speak my mind because I’m gaijin? Truthfully, I think my opinon is more valuable than many narrow minded people that haven’t seen the world.
        Gaikokujin are here to stay and, the numbers are going to increase. Get used to it…

        And, as you are free to be ” sick and tired of Gaikokujin complaining” you too are free to leave the country and find a new home. No one has a gun to your skull forcing you to stay in Japan either. You should give it a try. It will open up your mind and give you a new view of the world. Get out of your back yard. Walk around…

      • Murasaki

        I have lived and worked in 8 countries around the world over the past 25 years .. I have seen the world first hand.

        Your opinion as a gaikokujin means nothing to the Japanese or the Japanese government and if you think it means something then you are serious mistaken.

        Like I said gaikokujin are not citizens, they do not vote so they have no say in how Japan operates or how Japanese should think and behave, it does not matter if you have lived her 50 years or 1 year you are not Japanese you are just gaikokujin and nothing more.

      • Frank Thornton

        You see, our opinions do make a difference here in Japan. One good recent example would be the Hague Treaty. A lot of gaijin here in Japan were involved in getting this into motion.
        The fact is, gaijin don’t only demonstrate in the street. Because many times the Japanese Gov doesn’t listen to us for reasons that you mentioned above, many of us complain to our own Gov. Then, our Gov sees that gaijins in the street mean business and talk to your Gov. Then slowly, Japanese Gov listens. Pretty cool how things can work isn’t it?

      • Murasaki

        Like you said, you cannot get your own way in Japan so you ‘CRY’ to your home country. This is what gets up the Japanese and myself .. You want Japan to be like the cesspool you left. … Why not just return home and stop trying to make Japan like your country.

      • Frank Thornton

        Ahhh.. Don’t worry. Every country has it’s own cesspool. Japan is no exception. And, I believe Japan is the one that is trying to be like my home country, but with its own rules. As we are finding out, the game isn’t played that way.
        I noticed you bypassed my “Japan needs the gaikokujin more than the gaikokujin need Japan. Same as Japan needs the outside world more than the world needs Japan. This, is reality. ” comment. I would like to hear your opinion.
        Please don’t misunderstand me. I live in Japan because I like it here. My mother is Japanese. My grandfather worked in the Atom Bomb Dome. My wife is Japanese and my two sons have dual citizenship. But, Japan is not perfect. Why is it such a problem for you if foreigners try to make Japan a better country? Do you actually believe that Japan can survive and prosper without the help and cooperation of the international community? Or are you just unhappy because you realize this is true?

      • Andrew Livingston

        Japan wouldn’t be as it is today without the (still massive I might add) incredibly unbalanced trade deficit with the USA. I wish the USA had a policy of reciprocity, there would be almost no Japanese food, no cars, almost no electronics, from Japan, and Japan would be a much, much, MUCH poorer country.
        Japanese people are actually incredibly spoiled by the USA. You should understand how the trade relationship works. For the record, I’m Canadian, not American. You want to talk about recognizing the economic realities of the world and your country, there’s a start. Now go and fly and be free in what I can only assume is the intellectually stimulating work of Close Protection and Securities, apparently a bodyguard agency.
        Lots of Phds in history, economics, and other social sciences there, I can only assume.

      • Steve

        These demonstrators are not the “average Japanese”. They are probably guys who have lost their jobs, couldnt get the girl they wanted, or got bullied when they were young and need an outlet. Nothing like a bit of racism to boost your broken ego and cover your own wounds.
        Just as, the fanatic Koreans outside the Japanese Embassy in Korea do not represent average Koreans. They are just as and equally stupid. I can say this, because I’m Korean (Hopefully “average”)
        Stop referring to these people as Japanese or Koreans. They should collectively be called “weirdos”, and weirdos are weirdos in any culture.
        Lets not let the bad apples spoil the name of the whole group.

      • Casper Steuperaert

        Do you think the korean residents in share that sentiment? Most of those so called korean ‘foreigners’ were born and raised in Japan.

  • Jeffrey


    Calling for violence does not meet any recognizable standards of “free speech,” but falls under the category of yelling “fire” in a crowded theater.

  • Thank you, M.H.! Excellently written!

    I share your sentiments, and appreciate that Japan Times published your letter.

    As Elie Wiesel put so eloquently, “No human race is superior; no religious faith is inferior. All collective judgments are wrong. Only racists make them.”

    Prime Minister Abe! — Lead with an assured voice from the front, not with apathetic murmurs from the rear!

    Japanese citizens, residents, visitors of every age, color, (dis)ability, marital status, national origin, race, religion or creed, sex or gender, sexual orientation, veteran status, or any other applicable basis in rule or law — Stand against hatred in peaceful solidarity!


    • Peaceful solidarity, yes. Calling in police and the government to suppress those whose speech you consider unworthy of protection, no.

      And where will you turn when the next target of suppression under the guise of “stamping out hate speech” is no longer one that *you* think should be targeted?

      • Justin Lindsay

        so, by your reasoning… it is okay for me to walk around japan screaming hate speech at the Japanese. Including asking, yelling in support of violent acts against them? Because, you know… It is freedom of speech?

        I wouldn’t wish to do that by the way. But you think that freedom of expression should extend this far?

      • “Okay” as in socially acceptable? No.

        “Okay” as in “legally protected”? Yes.

        “But you think that freedom of expression should extend this far?”

        I won’t answer for sublight, but speaking for myself, it is not that the guarantees of freedom of expression and conscience “should” extend that far, but rather that they *must* extend that far, for if they do not then that society is not truly free. While “hate speech” is repulsive, even more repulsive is the notion of giving the State and the Police the power to determine what speech is “acceptable” and what speech can get one arrested.

        I find it endlessly amusing to watch the mental gymnastics of those who on the one hand decry Abe’s and the LDP’s stated intentions to change the Constitution and limit free speech by making certain vaguely-defined kinds of speech “contrary to public order” as the signs of a coming police state, and yet on the other hand many of these same people demand Abe and the LDP take steps to outlaw “hate speech”.

        Do you not see that these are one and the same thing?

      • N. Yokoyama

        There are limits to what can be said in public or in private. Threatening a person’s life, body, freedom, reputation or property is illegal in Japan, under the Penal Code.

      • If we were talking about an individual, or group, specifically threatening the life, property or reputation of another individual you would be correct.

  • Franz Pichler

    Freedom if speech is exactly that! Abe is right on this. As much as it might hurt, people should be free to express their views, if you like it or not. Well done Abe!

    • Guillaume Vares

      The funny thing is that there are already existing laws against public threat in Japan. It is quite telling that none of these racist protesters were charged with anything, and that the government only called these acts “regrettable”. Imagine the reaction from Abe and his clique if groups of people were openly calling for the mass murder of Japanese abroad or in Japan. You wouldn’t be last 10 minutes on any Japanese street if you called for it. These politicians would react with furor.
      Don’t get me wrong, I am all in favor of full freedom of speech, including for morons. But don’t you see the double standard here?

    • MattH

      Freedom of speech and leadership are not mutually exclusive. I’m not for a second advocating the abolition of free speech. I’m advocating the introduction of leadership and human decency into the behaviour of the government. It’s an unfortunate fact that cynical governments often whip up nationalist sentiments in an effort to secure their own position and all I’m seeking to do is raise that possibility for discussion here. I’m not asking that the rallies themselves be made illegal.

    • montaigne1

      Hopefully no one will ever come to your home and demonstrate for your murder. If they did, you might have a different view of the situation.

      • Franz Pichler

        The demonstration were organised by a laughable number of morons, so, yes, if they would come to my home and incite I would let them do exactly that! Let them show how stupid they’re, I would also call the police and since I live in a residential area in Japan they’ll be forced to leave. The point I tried to make, is that “inciting racial/religious hatred” is a very serious one and will have to be dealt with strongly. I don’t doubt for a minute that Japan would and will protect its minorities in the case of real “inciting racial/religious hatred” – the same in Europe. I follow the news closely, weekly incitements by islamists in European cities are common, they do incite hatred and can get very violent, but a democracy must withstand this. BUT once those people cross the line they’ll be prosecuted, it might take years like with Abu Katada in the UK but it will be done. So think before you fire at Japan! 50 moronic nationalists pushing it far have been a) cordoned off and b) condemned by Japanese media as well as by the Japanese government. Only because we don’t agree with their (idiotic) demands we don’t have to use the sledgehammer and make martyrs out of them….

    • neuxreux

      Freedom of Speech is NOT that! Freedom, whatever form it may be, has its boundaries. One is free to think whatever they believe, but to put thoughts into action (speech is an action) is governed by common sense and law. When one harms another in the context of “freedom” then one does not fully understand what it means.

    • You are presuming the inaction is due to a belief in freedom of speech.

  • 思德

    Being able to tolerate loud people with with foul beliefs is the litmus test for whether you actually believe human rights are valuable or not. In America there is a similarly disgusting group of people called The Westboro Baptist Church” that says a lot of harmful and inflammatory things. The mark of a truly civilized country is to be able to keep basic rights of speech going, even when some choose to use those rights to promote terrible ideas. The moment you use government force to shut those people up, you are participating in fascism and censorship, which are just as bad, if not worse, than the isolated groups of racists because THOSE things are a slippery slope and far-reaching in their consequences.

    Stating that the racists making noise are akin to someone yelling “fire” in a crowded theatre implies that Japanese people hearing them could, at any moment, become suddenly violent and attack foreigners, and that is both insulting to Japanese people and absurd.

    If anything, these people give ordinary Japanese a chance to show how friendly and accepting they are of other peoples and cultures in their country, in contrast to some foolish people.

    • Mark Makino

      I agree that the “fire” analogy is inappropriate, and has often been used to suppress speech that is not actually dangerous, just unpopular. However, even constitutionally protected free speech doesn’t permit certain types of speech such as slander, libel, and death threats. Protests against non-citizens’ voting rights should naturally be protected, but not marches calling for their extermination.

      • 思德

        I’m glad we agree on the theatre metaphor. People are not inanimate objects, they are actors with choices. Most people choose to be sane and pragmatic.

        Since we are talking specifically about a statesman not making efforts to intervene and shut up an unpleasant group of people, libel, slander and death threats have nothing to do with the matter, because they are not, and should not be, criminal offenses- if you are going to take freedom of speech seriously.

        There might be redress for damages to local business, though, as a result of their ongoing protests. I’m not sure of the legality of all that or even if it would be worth it. I know little of tort law in America, let alone Japan.

      • Mark Makino

        It seems like we agree but for different reasons. I agree in principle that yelling “fire” in a crowded theater should be illegal, but disagree with most instances of politicians using that as a metaphor for outlawing other types of speech. If I recall correctly, the original application of the metaphor was for a law preventing anti-WW1 protests.
        I do not believe people are rational actors or have the ability to rise above their own psychology or instinct. A speech act at least partly entails putting your own thoughts into other people’s minds, and if the intention and foreseeable result of that act is that people are killed, then the speaker should be held partly responsible for that.

      • 思德

        Seriously, what psychology says that me hearing “Slay the Koreans!” when I’m going into Korean Town to get some bibinba means that I’m going to set aside my dinner plans and murder someone instead? That same kind of logic is behind religious scare stories of back masked satanic prayers in my Led Zeppelin albums. “Oh no! If you hear something bad, you’ll be helplessly brainwashed and corrupted!” One thing is for sure- if I become a satanist, it’s all Jimmy Page’s fault!

  • Iain Macpherson

    Abe should mensch up and denounce this hatred in much clearer terms. But, although direct incitations to violence should perhaps be penalized, Japan is right to leave such demonstrations, however hateful and horrible, decriminalized. Japan is one of the very few countries where freedom of speech and opinion is not merely paid lip service to, at least for the most part, and *it should stay that way.* To think otherwise is to side shamefully with thought-policing, and against individual freedom and responsibility.

  • +observer+

    Abe is useless. you watch in 2 year time.

  • JS

    I find it ironic that some commenters are defending hate speech under the guise of free speech.

    I think it is fair to say that there is less freedom of speech in Japan than almost any other developed country. There are a multitude of reasons for this, including cultural ones.

    One sees suppression of free speech all the time in Japan (outright censorship, self-censorship, and coercion included). Did no one see the recent YouTube video of a rally for the Upper House elections where Mr. Abe spoke, and the way his security people treated a nice woman who wanted to hold up a sign about her opposition to nuclear power. I didn’t see anyone there defending her freedom of speech.

    It is sad and hypocritical when people only want to defend free speech when such free speech is spreading hate and advocating violence against the less powerful in society.

    • 思德

      Although I fall squarely into the camp of defending these people’s right to be complete jerks, I completely agree that you can’t be hypocritical in defense of free speech. All countries engage in this hypocrisy in one way or the other.

      • JS

        However, there is a big difference in the degree to which various countries suppress, muzzle and discourage free speech.

        A totalitarian and authoritarian country like North Korea or Saudi Arabia has much more restricted freedom of speech, as compared to free democracies like the US or the UK.

        Japan has a long way to go before it can be at par with other advanced and developed countries, when it comes to freedom of speech. This is why I find it ironic that some people want to defend hate speech in Japan under the guise of free speech.

      • Iain Macpherson

        Actually, in a lot of ways Japan’s free speech laws are as robust as those in America. Yes, there are hypocrisies involved, as with that lady at the Abe rally. But there is a good deal less censorship in Japan, at least in many respects, than in many other liberal democracies. Hence the proliferation of Japan’s ‘extreme’ pornographics. You mentioned self-censorship – but that is no violation of free speech.

  • Franz Pichler

    Of course they’re fascists but as long as they’re protesting peacefully a democracy cannot and should not ban them to do that. In Europe we have vey violent demonstrations of salafists inciting much more hatred than that bunch of morons in Korea town and we still don’t ban them. If a democracy can’t live with such a minor issue than it would be a weak democracy. Abe regretted it, that’s all he needs to do, and I believe him, he’s not a fascist. Stop banging about those small issues and look to Syria, Egypt, teh salafists taking over in Europe

    • Minju Kim

      No way. Tolerant include not intolerant ideal. You have to think about this. How can you protect intolerant and racism ideal with speech right? Please try to do that even in Berlin. Officer will arrest you quickly. We people say no tolerant for any kind of discrimination as racism.

  • So the answer to a fascist mentality is to become even more fascist by censoring the wannabe fascists.

    Interesting. That is sure not to embolden hatred.

    It’s their right to protest.
    It should not be their right to utter threats.
    But, they are only taken as seriously as you take them.
    Laughter followed by scorn is the appropriate response.
    But I guess M.H has such a low view of the rest of us that he thinks we’ll be affected by these demonstrations, instead of the demonstrations serving to embarrass the protesters.

    The protesters are exactly where they should be, out where we can see them, making themselves look ridiculous. You can take their photos. Post them to mixi, let it be known who is a bigot, identify them and their places of work. Shame their employer for employing a bigot, then see what happens: let these individuals feel the real consequences of their opinions and beliefs. Why drive them underground where they are harder to identify and punish while their anger grows?

    At the end of the day, their own actions are the best argument against them. In my opinion, there’s really no need to do anything, as it’s all very self-defeating.

  • JS

    Hate speech against specific groups of people is not protected as free speech in most of the civilized world. Most developed countries have laws against hate speech. Below are a few examples:

    Belgium: The Belgian Anti-Racism Law is a law against hate speech and discrimination passed by the Federal Parliament of Belgium in 1981 which made certain acts motivated by racism or xenophobia illegal. It is also known as the Moureaux Law.

    Canada: In Canada, advocating genocide or inciting hatred against any ‘identifiable group’ is an indictable offence under the Criminal Code of Canada with maximum prison terms of two to fourteen years.

    Denmark: Denmark prohibits hate speech, and defines it as publicly making statements by which a group is threatened (trues), insulted (forhånes) or degraded (nedværdiges) due to race, skin colour, national or ethnic origin, faith or sexual orientation.

    France: France prohibits by its penal code and by its press laws public and private communication which is defamatory or insulting, or which incites discrimination, hatred, or violence against a person or a group of persons on account of place of origin, ethnicity or lack thereof, nationality, race, specific religion, sex, sexual orientation, or handicap.

    Germany: In Germany, Volksverhetzung (“incitement of popular hatred”) is a punishable offense under Section 130 of the Strafgesetzbuch (Germany’s criminal code) and can lead to up to five years imprisonment. Section 130 makes it a crime to publicly incite hatred against parts of the population or to call for violent or arbitrary measures against them or to insult, maliciously slur or defame them in a manner violating their (constitutionally protected) human dignity. Thus for instance it is illegal to publicly call certain ethnic groups “maggots” or “freeloaders”.

    Netherlands: The Dutch penal code prohibits both insulting a group (article 137c) and inciting hatred, discrimination or violence (article 137d).

    New Zealand: New Zealand prohibits hate speech under the Human Rights Act 1993. Section 61 (Racial Disharmony) makes it unlawful to publish or distribute “threatening, abusive, or insulting…matter or words likely to excite hostility against or bring into contempt any group of persons…on the ground of the colour, race, or ethnic or national or ethnic origins of that group of persons.”

    Sweden: Sweden prohibits hate speech, and defines it as publicly making statements that threaten or express disrespect for an ethnic group or similar group regarding their race, skin colour, national or ethnic origin, faith or sexual orientation.

    Switzerland: In Switzerland public discrimination or invoking to rancor against persons or a group of people because of their race, ethnicity, is getting penalized with a term of imprisonment until 3 years or a mulct.

    United Kingdom: In the United Kingdom, several statutes criminalize hate speech against several categories of persons. The statutes forbid communication which is hateful, threatening, abusive, or insulting and which targets a person on account of skin colour, race, disability, nationality (including citizenship), ethnic or national origin, religion, or sexual orientation.

    What about Japan?

    • robertwgordonesq

      The idea of Free Speech, at least in the United States always implied those limits normally covered by so-called “hate speech” laws.

      However, with this separate designation of speech called “hate
      speech” there is some evidence to suggest that such laws have hidden, ulterior, political motivations that seek to censor all discussion on certain “taboo” topics.

      I am not in favor of calling for anyone’s murder. However I have not seen any “rational” discussion on why this particular group of
      Japanese do not like Koreans in Japan.

      When people allegedly call for the murder of another it usually means there is some serious anger behind that.

      The solution is not to censor the speech, but rather take it as an opportunity to delve into the alleged grievances of the protestors, be they real or imagined.

      Can anyone here articulate the exact reasons for this particular group’s animosity towards Koreans? And in return, can anyone here then give an intelligent response as to why those sentiments are illegitimate, mistaken, or unfounded?

      The answer to “hate speech” is more speech and open discussion, not censorship.

      “You have not converted a man [just] because you have silenced him.” -John Morley

      • JS

        I think your argument implying that hatred and violence need to have a rational basis is not a valid argument.

        As an example, a rapist cannot defend his actions on the rationale that the victim was wearing a short skirt, so she deserved to be raped. The rapist may try to rationalize his actions by saying that his violence was justified since in his mind he felt that the victim was asking for it by being dressed provocotively. However, his rape can never be rationalized or justified.

        As another example, the actions of the Nazis against the Jews can never be defended, no matter what rationale a Nazi may feel he has to hate the Jews. Would you justify the actions of the Nazis against the Jews based on the “grievances” and “animosity” they may harbor towards the Jews?

        The premise of your argument is wrong, since there is no justification or rationale for this type of hatred and incitement of violence.

      • robertwgordonesq

        Good try, but I think you misunderstood my point.

        I’m not saying the actions or threats are “justified”.

        Nor did I say that hatred and violence “need” to have a rational basis.

        In fact I said the exact opposite when I said “…the alleged grievances…[can be purely]… imagined.” (see my post above)

        What I did say is that the grievances have a “basis”. Meaning there is some reason for them.

        And just for clarity, let me repeat: that basis can be real or IMAGINED (meaning pure fantasy with nothing rational behind it).

        And for good measure let’s say it again, but in a different way…

        The reason might be grounded in fact. Or the reason might be grounded in pure fantasy. None the less, there usually is a reason.

        My point is, if you merely censor the speech without addressing the underlying “reason”, you become no better than the people you censor…i.e., you exhibit the same inability to understand others and inability to consider another person’s point of view as the people you are trying to censor.

        (Note, when I say “you” I do not mean you personally…I mean “a person” in the abstract).

        Using your Rape and Nazi examples…

        If a woman dresses extremely provocatively, and garners attention, are you saying it is perfectly fine for her to dress however she wants and no one should react to her manner of expression? Or even call attention to her actions and dress as a contributing basis for the attention? Is discussion of her dress totally off limits for consideration?

        Her manner of dress does not justify rape. However it could explain her getting sexual attention. Note, I don’t think most rapes are based on how a woman is dressed anyway…I don’t have any statistics or experience on this…just a gut feeling.

        The Nazi example is a little more complicated. Threats of anti-semitic charges have made it virtually impossible to discuss intelligently any of the grievances the Nazis had against the Jews so as to totally mute open discussion of the topic.

        In grade school, we were bombarded with messages of how the Jews suffered in the Holocaust, etc, etc.

        But I never heard any discussion on why exactly Hitler hated the Jews.

        I always found that odd.

        If we supposedly did not want to repeat history, we should fully examine what were the arguments that led up to the persecution of the Jews in Germany and discredit those core arguments.

        But such never occurred in school.

        So I decided to read Mein Kampf on my own…just to take a look at what made this Hitler guy tick.

        I read his arguments. Some of them seemed perfectly understandable (hold your opprobrium) and some of them were just pure crazy or self-contradictory.

        For the understandable arguments, did that justify genocide? Honestly, I don’t know. The point is *something* motivated the Nazis and you need to address the source of that motivation rather than trying to simply cover it up.

        When you fail to address the alleged underlying grievances, it makes me think you are trying to hide something.

        Note again, when I say “you”, I don’t mean you personally. I mean “people” in the abstract.

        (and without saying too much, Hitler would have probably put me in a concentration camp as well…that doesn’t mean that I can’t have the intellectual courage to examine his justifications)

        Finally, when you say “… there is no justification or rationale for this type of hatred and incitement of violence.”

        There is ALWAYS a justification (i.e., reason) that is exactly why violence and incitement to violence takes place and continues to take place to this very day (See Egypt and Syria August 2013).

        Without examining those “justifications” and neutralizing them at their intellectual and psychological root….the violence will continue unabated.

        Censoring “hate” speech will not eliminate the sentiments that originally gave birth to the speech.

        Censorship only allows the sentiment to hide and fester, uncured and unaddressed, waiting for the right opportunity to manifest itself again…and…again.

      • Iain Macpherson

        I’m with you on the futility and perfidy of censorship. But you realize that you just said you “honestly don’t know” whether Hitler’s genocide was justified?

      • robertwgordonesq

        Yes. I said that. So I should probably explain what I meant.

        “Was it justified?” is the wrong question. Therefore I can not answer such question.

        Some people may say “How could you ever say the Holocaust was justified…that is beyond question. Of course it was NOT justified.”

        However, I don’t accept common consensuses at face value.

        As an attorney, I tend to think differently than most folk. Life is much more complex than it appears on the surface.

        First, let’s look at the definition of “justified”.

        It is actually a very loose term.

        Most people think “justified” means “right”, “correct”, or “morally acceptable”.

        To a large part they are “correct”.

        However, “justified” only means “in line or in accord with a particular standard”.

        The problem is, people can make up any standard they want.

        In a world based on Darwinian Evolutionary thinking, there is no reason to believe absolute moral standards exist.

        Darwinian Evolutionism implies “survival of the fittest” and “only the best survive”. Under that standard, some might think the European Jewish genocide was correct and in line with Evolutionary thinking.

        In fact, some Nazis who believed in reincarnation thought they were doing Jews a favor by ending their lives since they would then have the opportunity to be re-born as Germans.

        I’m NOT saying that is right. I am NOT saying that is good. I am NOT saying that is correct.

        I’m just saying, these are some of the things people believe.

        For me to say that I do not know if the the Nazi campaign of genocide against European Jews was “justified” simply means that in a world were moral standards change with the wind, we can’t really use the term “justified”.

        We can only say if the event was “desirable” or “undesirable” based on our emotional and psychological disposition and based on who stands to benefit from the action.

        For example, the “United States” says it wants to “spread democracy around the world”.


        The Egyptian people elected Mohammed Morsi DEMOCRATICALLY. No question about that.

        He was then deposed in a coup by the Egyptian military and hundreds of civilians killed in the streets.

        The “official” American response? “Uh…well we really don’t know if this was a ‘coup’ per se, its regrettable that some people died and all…but let’s just ride this thing out and see where it takes us.”

        Or words to that effect.

        Where was the outrage that democracy was thwarted and civilians killed?

        Really, there was none. Why? Because the principle or standard of “democracy” is not meant to be taken seriously. It is only revered as long as it accomplishes hidden political agendas.

        That’s the reality of it.

        There is no fealty to principle.

        Hugo Chavez was democratically elected in Venezuela. But since he was not admired by U.S. business interests, there was open talk about deposing him in a coup or even assassinating him.

        Democracy out the window.

        My point is, one man’s principle is another man’s pariah. People can justify just about anything they want.

        Hence the question isn’t to ask “is this justified”, as that question can not be answered.

        Rather we should ask…”Who benefits and why?”

        Hence, I can’t answer the question of if the attempted genocide of European Jews was “justified” (since it obviously was to some people and obviously not to others).

        The real question is: “Why did the Germans do it and who benefited from it?”

        When you ask that question, you are more likely to get closer to the truth of why things happen the way they do.

        Some people say that Zionists benefited from the Nazi persecution and genocide since they then used it as leverage to force Britain to give them Palestine and as “justification” for their own occupation and persecution of others.

        Some say President Roosevelt benefited from the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, since it then “justified” America entering the war and “justified” dropping the atomic bombs on Japan.

        Therefore don’t ask was it justified.

        Ask who benefits.

    • zer0_0zor0

      robertwgordonesq is basically correct.

      Your rationale seems to indicate support for suppression of the expression that reveals symptoms of underlying problems in society that can result in greater conflict if not resolved.

      That is to say, if the parameters of the conflict cannot be defined, then the conflict cannot be resolved.

      Presumably you are not in denial that there is a conflict, and that the conflict should be resolved, correct?

      If so, then your other assertions would seem to indicate that the protesters are simply irrational, or basically criminal.

      It seems that the criminalization of non-violent protests, which would seem to be what you advocate, would cut off all possibility of facilitating conflict resolution based on reasoned examination of the underlying issues, and causing those engaged in the dispute to engage on the basis of reason.

  • Deuce

    So because a few riled up hoodlums are making hate speeches against foreigners. I don’t find it ridiculous that the government hasn’t stepped in, the policy of freedom of speech and of being allowed to demonstrate your beliefs is so hindered by the process of an overbearing government then why bother having this freedom at all we may as well be subject to a life of servitude but it is because we have these freedoms that we may do so in calling a government callous for not acting when clearly the political condition is not only delicate but dangerous. Let us just say for instance. There is a public denouncement of this type of activity are the people who called for this rally any better? they are demonizing people for speech not action.

  • Voice of reason

    Oh how tragic!!!! Why are we as human race so foolish. We are but a fool. We never learn from history. We blame our problems to “foreigners”. In the US, we blame things on Illegal immigration in a country built by immigrants. In Europe, we blame it on Muslims. In Japan, they blame it on other Asians especially Koreans. When are we ever going to stop?

    I admire the Japanese people for overcoming the poverty of post World War II. I certainly like to believe that the vast majority of Japanese people are more enlightened than people in the article and certainly more enlightened than some of their leaders.

    Japan is a powerful country. With its power should come with great humility. Please don’t for God sakes walk the path of the United States whose power is not accompanied

    • Andrew Livingston

      You’re absolutely right. If we look all over the world, we can see all sorts of groups blaming all their problems on foreigners.

      There are even international conferences for these people who get together and agree that having each other in their countries is problematic. I find those conferences to be a great source of comedy.

  • phil

    Looking at the photo of the japanese haters:The irony of the fabricated swastika korean flag with their own use of the imperial jap flag used in wwII…..wrong and idiotic on so many grounds.

    • echykr

      Indeed, I was thinking “Pot, meet kettle” when I saw the hilarious juxtaposition of these two flags.

  • Glen Douglas Brügge

    I honestly don’t have an issue with Abe’s remarks. Hate speech, although repugnant, is protected. I may be misinterpreting his words, but they essentially say, “While hate speech is certainly not pretty, the populace ultimately decides whether to listen or not.” And this is essentially how it is all over the world, in any democratic society. In the US we have the Westboro picketers, the KKK etc. No one approves of them, but we cannot forcefully silence them. Maybe Abe’s words of condemnation were not strong enough, but I believe his message was meant to reflect the fact that they do indeed have the right to spew their vitriol.

    • Hi, you might be…ignorant, sorry, specifically about us.
      Why couldn’t Abe be hard with the racists, because they do support him.
      The racists are, very people who’re strongly loving and supporting Abe, and he knows it well.
      He doesn’t depress his own supporters, since which means he’d got lost his votes.
      Foreign people don’t have to defend or affirm Abe, there’s no reason for him to get it.

      • Glen Douglas Brügge

        No, I lived in Japan for many years and am fluent in the language (I teach it in fact) and have many Japanese friends of all age groups. And you, obviously, have misunderstood what I was saying. Is he openly supporting racism, or merely saying “Racism is unfortunate, but the public must make up their minds whether or not to accept their message of hate?” We have the same in the US, and they are allowed a platform, although we are stronger in condemning it, but regardless, if you want to buy into a message of hate, you are free to do so in any democracy (and I was not implying that there aren’t those Japanese who oppose racism). This is what I get from this statement. If it is a veiled attempt to gain further support, then that does not speak well of the Japanese leadership. But do we know for sure? Now if Abe starts suppressing the freedom of speech of those who oppose the government, as seems to be hinted at in his desire to “revamp” the constitution (like the Nazis), then yes, he needs to be treated with ire. But until then, I do not see his remark as being terribly undemocratic or offensive (if taken in context). I dislike the man, and the Japanese nationalists (because they are the ones that make Japan look backwards, and bring shame upon the nation (like Tōru Hashimoto and Ishihara Shintaro), but his remark is not out of line.

      • Sasori

        And, what Michiko is saying is that you are giving Abe too much credit.

  • Mijumaru

    Although I don’t object to Japanese holding anti-foreigners demonstrations, I think to speak of murdering foreigners is wrong.

    In Buddhism, speaking of murdering someone results in bad karma. I really wish that the demonstrators will not go to the extreme.

    • Hi, they never be silent since they can’t, there’ll be no such “anti-foreign demo quiet” as you suppose.
      They claim that “We can rape any of Korean girls””Let them raped”, on the mike.
      That is them, anyone has no need to tolerate them, please just accuse them, criticize them.

  • Sasori

    The writer seems to think that Abe’s wording is anything other than pure ‘being Japanese’. He simply does not want to be bothered with such things.
    And, as far as Japanese, primarily men, having a sort of concience: Ignorance is bliss, eh?

  • Don Largo


    In point of fact, my understanding of US law would indicate that fomenting violence is not tolerated under the concept of “free speech.” Furthermore the incitement of violence through public media would probably also result in charges of conspiracy were any actual violence to occur.

    About the fire analogy. The Japanese have a history of doing exactly what you say is absurd to suggest: “…that Japanese people hearing them could, at any moment, become suddenly violent and attack foreigners….” It happened once before, and it could certainly happen again.

    As for the fascism and censorship scenario. Fascism usually involves the use or threat of violence as a means of achieving, among other things, censorship, and invoking threats of murder would certainly seem more in keeping with this than disallowing its advocacy would. Fomenting murder and saying “harmful and inflammatory things” are not the same thing at all. Names are one thing; sticks and stones quite another.

    Why so intent upon wrapping up legitimate issues in a package of rhetoric that isn’t even believable to yourself?