Japan being one of the least racially diverse countries around the world, it is no surprise that our approach toward foreigners is often seen as cynical (“Firms confront reality of racism in workplace” in the Feb. 8 edition).
The article describes how, as Japan opens its doors, more foreign workers are facing many challenges triggered by racial discrimination.
Despite the disturbing reality of racial harassment in Japanese society, the government has continued to overlook this prevalent issue. It is crucial for citizens and organizations such as Taminzoku Kyosei Jinken Kyoiku Center, which was mentioned in the article, to continue to urge the government to add racial harassment policy guidelines in addition to other harassment regulations.
However, I highly doubt this alone can tackle the problem at its core. Although harassment regulations may prevent people from verbally executing their hatred and misconceptions toward foreigners, it doesn’t necessarily follow that the biased mindset of such people will be changed.
Considering Japan’s mono-racial society, it is natural that many Japanese are reluctant to accept and interact with foreigners. It’s not so much a matter of racism, but more the mindset that is built from a lack of knowledge about other cultures, and a hesitant government that is doing very little to promote multiculturalism.
Many Japanese do not express racism verbally or physically, like many incidents in the U.S., and it seems to me racism in Japan is much more severe than it appears, as not much of it is demonstrated above the surface. To fundamentally combat racism in Japan, the government may need to revise the education system to be more diverse and induce inclusiveness, rather than simply addressing it at the surface level.
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.