Starting from 1993 in Otaru, Hokkaid?, and now running unchecked throughout Japan, signs saying 'Japanese Only' have gone up, making an unspoken undercurrent of fear of the outsider into clear, present, and brazen exclusionism — following the best traditions of segregation and apartheid.
"The Rogues' Gallery: Photos of Places in Japan which Exclude or Restrict non-Japanese Customers," Debito.Org (last revised November 2007)
I guess the clarification I should make here is that Japan is as potentially racist as anywhere else, but for a developed country, the legal and social protections and recourses afforded to people of differences are lacking comparatively. Racial discrimination is still not illegal in Japan, and this is something the Japanese government promised to fix when it signed the UN Convention on it in 1995. In short, Japan is not an outlier in terms of racism, but it is in terms of protections against it.Debito Arudou
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