The death of a black man, George Floyd, by a Minneapolis police officer brought the world to rally and to speak against American police brutality, systemic racism and inequity. We are so moved by the people’s solidarity shown in London, Paris and on streets of Osaka and Tokyo.

Why in Japan? Is it the globalization of news media and social media coverage? Is it about the foreigners in Japan and people sympathetic to what is going on in America? It feels like the issues are so out of context to the most minds of Japanese, and they are. But the core issues strike right in the heart of Japan’s own systemic racism and exclusionary practice against Korean Japanese, Chinese Japanese, Afro Japanese, Filipino Japanese, Brazilian Japanese, LGBTQ communities, Burakumin, Ainu and many more. When, how and why did Japanese legitimize this racist idea and refusal of diversity? Intolerance turns to hate and violence, violence in segregation and violence in denial of basic human rights. Hear George Floyd gasp for air. Hear the up-welling of rage from the silence of the oppressed in the society.

This is time to reflect; why diversity is not accepted; why foreign workers are treated poorly; and why refuges are not welcomed. If there is a desire to be one of the leading countries in the world, why can’t it be the compassion for people? Why the military and intervention of violence? For peace and happiness, notice the rage and hear the silence.

Keiji Asakura

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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