• Tokyo


Regarding the Jan. 6 article, “Otaru ruling beats ‘mob rule’ “: This article misrepresents much of what the author set out to respond to, and it labels as racist those people who are not. Were the owners of the onsen hotel trying to discriminate on the basis of race? The arguments offered at court by the owners sounded drastically different when read over. There is a difference between intentionally looking to exclude groups and not having the ability to differentiate between members of a group — which is what the onsen argued.

I see a very big difference between “racial discrimination” and “racial application of group accountability.” If you are a member of a specific group, is it not part of your responsibility as a member of that group to ensure the accountability of others?

Whether Debito Arudou likes it or not, he is a member of a “gaijin” group. The argument of this article focuses on a Western, individual perspective. Perhaps the author forgot that Japan is more group-oriented and that individual actions reflect on the whole. Perhaps it is time for people who immigrate to Japan to start considering Japanese values.

I would argue that Arudou sued the wrong people. He probably should have brought action against the drunken patrons who were the real cause of the onsen’s decision to deny entry to other “gaijin.” The onsen did not discriminate against a race, but against a type of behavior. To argue that a breathalyzer test would solve the problem of how to exclude unwanted patrons is way too simplistic. That would not address the unwanted behavior that might occur after one entered the onsen.

I, too, would find for the defendants, simply because race was not the motivating factor. The author argues for protecting individual rights. In this case, the onsen was trying to protect its own rights. What is the author’s response to that?

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