Notorious hate-speech demonstrations outside a Kyoto school run by pro-Pyongyang Koreans have prompted a group of lawyers and others to set about trying to ease the distrust the pupils may feel toward Japanese society.
They are distributing illustrated booklets that explain in pictures and clear language a July 2014 high court ruling which penalized the anti-Korean activists responsible.
The Osaka High Court upheld a lower court ruling that had branded as “discriminatory” demonstrations staged near the school by the Zaitokukai group and ordered them to pay ¥12 million in damages to the school’s operator.
It also banned them from staging demonstrations near the school in future.
“The ruling acknowledged the benefits of ethnic education,” said Shiki Tomimasu, a 38-year-old lawyer for the plaintiffs. “We hope that by reading the booklet, (the children) can dispel any distrust of Japanese society and be proud of their own ethnicity and culture.”
The four-page booklets, available in both Japanese and Korean, use simple language to discuss the court’s judgment on ethnic education. They also includes descriptions of the legal support provided for the case as well as illustrations drawn by parents and supporters.
Tomimasu told The Japan Times the group has produced four separate editions of the booklet so far and expects to write another eight to 10. The booklets are available online via the official blog of the Kopponori citizens’ group (blog.goo.ne.jp/kopponori), and are being considered for use in classes at pro-Pyongyang Korean schools in Japan.
The high court ruling found that Zaitokukai activists staged anti-Korean demonstrations near Kyoto Chosen Daiichi Elementary School in Kyoto on three occasions between 2009 and 2010, using loudspeakers to denounce ethnic Koreans and calling for the closure of Korean schools in Japan.
In October 2013, the Kyoto District Court ruled that the behavior constituted racial discrimination and was illegal. The Osaka High Court also said it obstructed the school’s provision of ethnic education. In December, the Supreme Court turned down an appeal by Zaitokukai members, thus finalizing the high court ruling.
Zaitokukai’s website says the organization has over 15,000 members. The group argues it was protesting against what it says are privileges enjoyed by Korean residents in Japan.
Some Korean residents are allowed to stay in Japan permanently as they or their parents and grandparents were forcibly brought to Japan before and during World War II. The Korean Peninsula was under Japanese colonial rule between 1910 and 1945.
Japan ratified the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination in 1995.
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