• Kyodo

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The Saitama District Court has ordered a Toda real estate agency and one of its employees to pay 500,000 yen in damages to an Indian man for asking him the color of his skin when he phoned to rent a home, court officials said Wednesday.

“It is quite illegal for the employee to have persistently asked about the color of this person’s skin,” Judge Sota Tanaka said in a statement read out by Judge Tateo Toyoda.

The 28-year-old man, a computer company employee in Warabi, Saitama Prefecture, demanded 1.2 million yen in redress from the company, Nikken Juhan, from the employee and from the Saitama Prefectural Government, under whose jurisdiction local real estate agents operate.

The judge dismissed the plaintiff’s claim against the prefecture, ruling there was no basis for it.

The plaintiff telephoned in Japanese on April 29, 2001, to find a home to rent, and told the female employee who took the call that he is an Indian national.

The employee asked him, “What color is your skin?” and “Is your skin a normal color?”

When the plaintiff asked what a “normal color” was, she responded, “It is a color like Japanese,” according to the court.

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