One in Three Foreigners in Japan Experience Racism: Survey

Placards racism Japan
An anti-racism protester displays placards before a march in Tokyo March 21, 2014, on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Over a hundred people participate the protest. Placards read "No Hate, Share the Love". REUTERS/Yuya Shin

Nearly a third of foreign residents in Japan have suffered racial discrimination in the past five years, according to a government survey published Friday. The country has experienced a record rise in the number of foreign residents and tourists—two percent of the population were born abroad, the Japan Times reports.

The majority of foreign-born residents in Japan are South Koreans, who came to Japan after the war—brought over by the Japanese as forced laborers. The survey was posted late last year to 18,500 people in 37 cities around Japan and around 5000 people responded.

Japan has experienced a rise in hate rallies and anti-Korean demonstrations by Japan’s far-right, the uyoku danta i, who call them criminals, cockroaches, and even call for the murder of foreigners, according to The Guardian . According to the survey results, four in 10 respondents said they had not been able to move into certain types of housing because they were foreigners.

Respondents to the survey said verbal abuse had come from all sections of society, from bosses to complete strangers. Verbal abuse from strangers contributed to half of all racist incidents, the survey found, while neighbors made racist comments to 19.3 percent of respondents, according to the Japan Times.

In 2016 24 million tourists visited Japan, up 22 percent from 2015 and this is set to increase i n 2019 when Japan will host the Rugby World Cup. Japan is keen to stamp out racism before it hosts the Olympics and Paralympics in 2020.

Hate rallies are also increasing in Japan, and the survey documented growing discomfort with cars that drive around with megaphones attached their roofs, drumming up support. According to other justice ministry data, 1,150 hate speech rallies were held in Japan between April 2012 and September 2015. People at the rallies have called for Koreans to “get the hell out of Japan” and that foreigners should “all be massacred,” according to video footage analysis of 72 rallies conducted by the Justice Ministry.