In the run-up to Sunday's Tokyo gubernatorial election, one candidate's xenophobic speeches have fanned the flames of an ongoing debate over hate speech.

Makoto Sakurai, the former leader of anti-foreigner group Zaitokukai, urged voters to expel foreign residents from Japan to defend the rights of Japanese nationals.

Speaking to a crowd in Tokyo's Sugamo district, he claimed that foreign residents — particularly Koreans, Chinese, and Filipinos — are exploiting Japan's welfare system.