Another word for xenophobia, of course, is racism. (Just look at the photo for the March 9 article.) What’s so “normal” about anti-foreigner rhetoric and hate speech in an island nation dependent on international trade for its economic well-being, even for its daily bread?

In many countries today, hate speech is illegal. It’s beyond absurd that the Japanese government should consider hate speech to be protected by constitutional law and that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has made no attempt to curb offensive and highly inflammatory hate-filled rhetoric in recent months. Will the rising level of xenophobia grow even worse in the coming decade? Will all outsiders in Japan be looked upon as intruders or “evil” in nature? It’s troubling to learn that Japan’s media views such xenophobia in terms of greater profitability.

Xenophobic attacks on China or South Korea won’t do much to endear increasingly affluent consumers in those countries to buy Japanese products. As the attacks will make European, Australian and U.S. products more attractive, there are some in the Western world who appreciate Japan’s raging xenophobia.

Whatever became of the somewhat humble Japan of the 1950s and 1960s, when the media was all about international friendship, pacifism, peace and goodwill toward men? Have the bitter lessons of World War II been forgotten so soon? South Korea and China are winning the war of words. Abe really needs to muzzle the hate speech, and soon. How ironic it would be if the U.S. military stationed in Japan found itself “defending” Japanese xenophobic, right-wing extremists in a war with China. Let’s all hope and pray it doesn’t come to that.

What a nightmare!

robert mckinney
otaru, hokkaido

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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