• Tokyo


I am an American who has lived in Japan for the past eight years — five years in Osaka and three years in Tokyo. For the most part it has been a positive experience, but recent events have shown me Japan’s underlying legalized racism toward foreigners living in Japan.

It’s an old story that every foreigner living here has experienced: trying to find an apartment.

I started my own company three years ago and since then have paid millions and millions of yen in corporate taxes — not including personal taxes — tried to have a socially responsible company, volunteered to help out in the community, and done business with other Japanese businesses.

I started looking for an apartment a month or so ago and have been turned down twice because I am a “gaijin.” My track record with apartments in the past eight years is perfect; in fact, I will put my track record with apartments and the amount of taxes paid against ANY Japanese citizen.

The unbelievable part is that it is 100 percent legal to discriminate in Japan. The most disappointing fact is the attitude of my Japanese “friends.” They listen then give me advice on how to get around the problem; not one sees the big picture of how wrong this is. Even my own lawyer to whom I pay a monthly retainer just shrugs it off.

This is the country that wants to host the 2016 Olympics? Yeah, right, as long as all the athletes are Japanese. Japan has shown her true colors and spit in my face, showing that I was, am and will always be considered no better than second class.

robert d. frazier jr.

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