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I’m shocked by the title of Gregory Clark’s article. Am I the only one to think that the vice president of Akita International University should be advocating mutual understanding, and promoting cultural exchanges, instead of a “right to discriminate”? I cannot but share my sympathy in the Otaru bathhouse case that Clark raises, but I feel more than uncomfortable with his rhetorical arguments.

For instance, the few activists he is not very fond of become the undefined group of “Japan girai” foreigners in their “gaijin ghettoes.” Sorry, but who are these people? And how do you jump from one group to the other?

I also feel uncomfortable with some logic flaws. Whatever one may think about fingerprinting, there is no relation between this new procedure and the protection of Japanese from foreign “criminals” because the Japanese are already protected: Somebody who has been accused and judged as a foreign “criminal” is already blacklisted so he or she will not come back.

Japan is not a perfect country — no country is — but it is a state of law. To claim a right to discriminate against “some foreigners” is weak and very dangerous. If a person — foreigner or not — has broken the law, there is a legal procedure, via the police or the courts, against his actions. There is no need to argue about a right to discriminate.

If it is the right, or power, of the state, shop owner or anybody to punish people not for their actions but for their “alleged” intention or thoughts as members of a group, this is not just discrimination; it is anarchy.

david-antoine malinas

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