Philip Brasor’s March 11 article, “Female foreigners are OK in Japan, so long as they’re not Asian,” criticizes Japan for not yielding to pressure from the United Nations to conduct a survey of its minority women. He then refers to a nongovernment organization survey that “did not target foreigners, but rather Ainu, Burakumin and Koreans who were born here.”
First, “Burakumin” do not exist. There is no such legal entity, and organizations that fight discrimination based on residence in former outcaste areas do not endorse the term. Second, “Ainu” do not exist as a subcategory of Japanese nationality. The state is not empowered to differentiate Japanese of putative “Ainu” descent from other Japanese. Third, Koreans born in Japan are foreigners because they are not Japanese. The law is concerned only with their nationality, not their race or ethnicity — unlike in the United States, where race and ethnicity have never been private matters.
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