Half of foreigners in Tokyo have experienced discrimination: survey

Nearly half of the foreigners living in Tokyo have experienced racial discrimination, according to a survey released Tuesday by a civic group.
In the survey conducted by the Anti Racism Information Center, a group organized by scholars, activists and university students, 167 of 340 respondents including students said that they have suffered discriminatory treatment such as being told not to talk in a language other than Japanese.
Some working as retail shop cashiers said customers asked for Japanese cashiers, according to the face-to-face questionnaire survey conducted in February and March in Tokyo's Shinjuku Ward.
Among them, a Nepalese man who works at a drugstore said one customer told him that he or she does not like to see a foreigner working as a cashier and asked for someone else.
A Chinese respondent who works at a convenience store said that a colleague told the respondent not to speak Chinese when the respondent was asked for directions by a Chinese-speaking customer.
There were also cases where foreigners had apartment rental applications rejected. Some said they were denied entry into stores, but none of the respondents took their case to a public office dealing with such issues.
Ryang Yong Song, a representative of the civic group, told a press conference that foreigners living in Japan tend to "end up letting (their discriminatory experiences) drop."
"The government should conduct a survey to show what kind of discrimination foreigners face," Ryang said, calling on schools and employers to deal more proactively with discrimination and establish a mechanism to involve public officials in addressing the problems.
With the country's new visa system having started this month to bring in more foreign workers to address the deepening labor crunch, there have been criticisms about the government's ability to offer consultation to foreign residents.

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