• Chikushino, Fukuoka

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The
main reason Gregory Clark’s opinion has caused such a stir is the title, which is not an accurate indication of all that he has written. In addition, the particular example (Otaru bathhouse case) on which Clark has based his entire premise has little to do with the general nature of discrimination in Japan, or for that matter in any other country. The result is inevitable disappointment for and anger from anyone hoping to learn something important about the causes of or cures for prejudice.

The headline invites the corollary — if discrimination is a right for Japanese, then it is also a right for non-Japanese — which makes everything that follows all the more untenable. Obviously, nobody has a right to discriminate against anybody else regardless of how specious one’s concocted examples may be.

Let’s look at another example. The Tokyo fish market is said to have been closed to visitors after some drunk British tourists behaved unacceptably. According to Clark’s logic, all foreigners should therefore be barred from that market. Yet the market has reopened with the appropriate security to counter rowdiness. Of course, the bathhouse in Clark’s example may not have the budget to counter bad Russian behavior, but that again points to the weakness of Clark’s example and purport.

Was Clark able to publish such an ill-conceived piece only because he has a franchised column? If so, then we are back to square one, because the same is probably true for his arch rival Debito Arudou, several of whose articles about discrimination should never have been printed either!

david wood

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