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Japan's disaster becoming contagious abroad

34 Comments

There’s something about radiation that scares the reason out of otherwise sober, rational people. Fear of the unknown is what it boils down to. What, after all, does the average person know about radiation? Three things: it’s invisible, odorless and deadly.

The radiation horror unfolding in Fukushima Prefecture has claimed some unexpected victims, Shukan Asahi (April 8) finds. They are Japanese abroad – people who were, of course, as far away from the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s stricken reactor as were the locals now regarding them with suspicion sometimes bordering on terror.

A certain “A-ko,” for instance, is a 31-year-old woman teaching Japanese in Siem Reap. She’s engaged to marry a Cambodian – or was. Now, it seems, the marriage is off.

“There are all these wild rumors flying around,” she says. “Having sex with a Japanese can get you irradiated. Japanese women will give birth to deformed babies. Everyone believes them. I was here [when the March 11 tsunami devastated the nuclear power plant], but that doesn’t seem to make a difference to people. My boyfriend’s parents are insisting he break off with me.”

A Japanese woman living in Bangkok says the hospital where she works as an interpreter is overwhelmed by Japan-bound Thais asking for iodine pills. No, they’re not going to Fukushima – more likely to Kansai or Kyushu. No matter – they want protection anyway. To that extent has “Japan” become synonymous with “radiation.”

A Japanese tour group was enjoying a holiday in Scotland. At their hotel in Edinburgh they presented JCB credit cards. No dice, said the desk clerk; we don’t accept those. The guests were nonplussed, as was the travel agency guide with them. He had never had such a problem before. He demanded an explanation, and got one: With a swath of Japan reduced to radioactive wasteland, “We don’t know where the Japanese economy is going from here. We can’t afford to trust Japanese credit cards.”

Is this a global outbreak of “discrimination against Japanese?” asks Shukan Asahi. Probably not. Everybody sympathizes with disaster victims, and Japan’s in particular, with their much-admired “stoicism,” have won hearts, assistance and contributions from individuals, organizations and governments worldwide. But at the same time, there seems to be a natural tendency, impervious alike to reason and innate compassion, to fear that disaster is contagious. “You almost feel you have to apologize for being Japanese,” says the magazine.

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Having sex with a Japanese can get you irradiated.

Oh dear, better pass me a lot of iodine tablets!

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Agree = Aaack.

Taking iodine supplements at the wrong time without medical advise will result in serious health issues(can be worse too).

I am part of a hobby where the supplies come from japan, can't recall how many people said they will cancel their orders as they DON'T want "Glow in the Dark" parts, etc.

Also in contact with local suppliers and they all say overseas panic, etc causes them problems and loss than Fukushima.

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Oh look, yet another article that in some way bashes foreigners and make Japanese victims. All my business involves selling from Japan, i have had people ask if i am ok but have had no drop in sales at all.

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OK, now this becoming really stupid...

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stevecpfc - I suspect this article is true though... therefore not real bashing... Japanese are the victims here...

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"Is this a global outbreak of “discrimination against Japanese?” asks Shukan Asahi". PLEASE!!!! grow up. The woman in the story must have had a great relationship if the future hubby wants to break it off for that. Sounds more like urban myth type garbage than fact

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When will this magazine also write up an article showing the past discrimination of Japanese from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, that even to this day still suffer from radiation discrimination, to a certain degree even to this day, FROM OTHER JAPANESE. Then we will also need the other article because now Japanese are also worried about people from Fukushima moving into their neighborhoods and having radiation contamination.

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Let's be fair here - this is a summary of articles from Japanese weekly magazines - never knowingly unsensationalist. Think "The Sun", but with a more relaxed approach to the truth.

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I think elbudamexicano has a very valid point here. Japanese from Hiroshima and Nagasaki were certainly subject to discrimination after the war, from other Japanese.

Not only will all Japanese now suffer from 'radiation' discrimination abroad, but now everyone from Fukushima Prefecture will be radically distanced from the rest of Japan.

It's a double whammy.

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Blame the writers in the media who have active imaginations and need sensational titles in order to be noticed and make money. Likewise for the newspapers and TV channels who lap it all up and sell it to their audiences.

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I don't know of a single place in Scotland that accepted the JCB card before March 11th. I know I could never use mine when I went back home.

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"With a swath of Japan reduced to radioactive wasteland, “We don’t know where the Japanese economy is going from here. We can’t afford to trust Japanese credit cards.”'

I want a source. This is slander of not true. If true, it's simply disgusting treatment, though JTB is not a world-renowned company.

Seriously... I want the source so that it can be known they are bigots.

"A Japanese tour group was enjoying a holiday in Scotland. At their hotel in Edinburgh they presented JCB credit cards."

Well, shouldn't be too hard to figure out from that, given we have the dates, company, and rough location.

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I took a ferry from Korea to Japan a year and more back and because of 'Swine flu' and my country of origin, despite not having been home for more than five years, I was put in a separate line, questioned about my goods, and they even took my beef jerky (they thought it was pork jerky, which was the funniest part, and when I pointed out the difference between a cow and pig that they got upset. Took an extra hour, and I never got the jerky back). Point is, people will do this; doesn't matter if Romeo and/or Juliet lament over the fact that a name has no meaning, it still has meaning in the eyes of the public. Japan is not on the short end of the stick, so they are upset and demanding others be 'rational', but as posters have said above, and as I demonstrated, fear and paranoia are not limited to culture/nationality. Sadly, people have a right to fear what's going on with Japanese goods.

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@Smith

Sadly, people have a right to fear what's going on with Japanese goods.

Well, not scientifically or objectively they don't. But people do worry and can't really be blamed for it. I'd certainly not be lining up to buy Fukushima cabbage if I were still living in England.

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This reminds me of China in 03 during SARS. Beijing and Guangzhou were hit hard. Those who made it out to south and west were shunned when they presented their id's at guesthouses and some hotels. We had a few month old baby at the time, we took in some friends from Beijing cause they had nowhere else to go and we had room and everybody was asking us if we weren't afraid to catch SARS. And SARS is almost undetectable unless you're sick and running a fever(that's why all the airports/train stations/bus stations put in digital thermometers afterwards), yet we took the risk. And radiation is detectable if you got a Geiger counter, so I don't see why people are freaking out. Ask for that hotel staff who refused the JCB cards, I don't even think it's true, and above all the comment that Japan has been reduced to radioactive wasteland and it's economy is in shambles, I couldn't even imagine a level headed person uttering those words if they've actually seen footage of what happened on Mar 11. Totally sensationalist article aimed at readers who look to expand their world view alongside their National Enquirer, FOX news or the Sun.

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I don't think it was hard for the reporter who wrote this story to find people to supply "newsworthy" quotes for this article. Travel to any city in any country and you can easily find a few idiots to say something ignorant about something they know anything about. It's as if the person who wrote this story had to submit something - anything - to their editor and just pulled this idea out of thin air to write about.

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Not buying it smith.

Even "beef jerkey" is restricted unless it's accompanied by a inspection certificate from the country of origin. Hence, no need for the custom official to claim your precious jerkey to be that of pork.

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Hmm, I take this story with a grain of salt. It really sounds like Japanese tabloid authors projecting Japanese prejudices and fears onto other people. I've heard about discrimination toward Fukushima people within Japan already. Or look back to how people from Hiroshima were treated after the atomic bombing. It could be true though, but just a couple of isolated incidents rather than a trend.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I've noticed that just about every medium and large city I've traveled to(and I travel a lot)in the US accepts JCB. Japanese tourists show up in some surprising places.

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I believe this story. Sure, it is anecdotal evidence and not everybody is that hysterical. But talking to my relatives in Europe, I hear similar things, and just listen to our TJ nuclear experts and their daily gloom and doom conspiracy stories right in this forum.

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I mentioned this a while back that it could herald the end of the kokusai kekkon and guess what? My comment was deleted for being 'off topic'! I wonder if the moderators read the articles that are posted and can understand the pros and cons of an arguement?

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And a Greenpeace study ranks Fukushima as the same as a Chernobyl Level 7 incident...

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“There are all these wild rumors flying around,” she says. “Having sex with a Japanese can get you irradiated.

Maybe there was other reasons? The rumors she mentioned make her sound "easy" to say the least...

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"Is this a global outbreak of “discrimination against Japanese?” asks Shukan Asahi". PLEASE!!!! grow up. The woman in the story must have had a great relationship if the future hubby wants to break it off for that. Sounds more like urban myth type garbage than fact

Good point. The rumor "Having sex with a Japanese can get you irradiated" just makes her sound like everyone thinks she's "easy" too.

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Not another one of these 'shoe on the other foot' stories again?

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well, maybe they`ll all come back and the charisma men will just have to deal with even more lovely ladies here in Tokyo

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Human beings can be profoundly stupid as this article demonstrates. Losing rational thinking because of fear. We have seen this again and again.

Today it is radiation and so Japan and all things Japanease are suspect. Ten years ago it was terror and all things Middle Eastern were terrifying people.

Sometimes we just have to accept that the same social mechanisms that made people burn witches in Salem remain a part of human nature today. They just manifest in different ways. Instead of burning people we fear, we stop buying their goods, unnecessarily, and destroy their livelihoods.

Sad!

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Ignorant and stupid people in all kinds of places, some people are even too stupid to research subjects they know nothing about to get relevant information.

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We can’t afford to trust Japanese credit cards.

My Citicorp travelers cheques weren't accepted in Thailand after the 2008 financial crisis. Big deal. I didn't cry about it and whine about "discrimination" in the tabloid press. Get over it.

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Smith - Shame on you for trying to take meat from one country to another. It's illegal and will be confiscated unless you smuggle it in, and lie at the customs check when they ask you if you have any meat, dairy, seeds, drugs, etc. (I make sure to eat all of mine before I get to the customs check people).

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And a Greenpeace study ranks Fukushima as the same as a Chernobyl Level 7 incident...

Would you expect anything different from a group that wants nuclear energy banned?

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This is typical sensationalist and stupid weeklies fare. You get a lot of questionable little tales from which you get sweeping generalizations. Oh yeah, the foreigners think the Japanese are all polluted with radiation. Yeah.

All this article proves is what we have known all along. You have to take the weeklies with a huge grain of salt. (I am being delicate for the sake of the children who might be reading this.)

Recently the Japanese government berated the foreign press not to be "sensational" but to be "objective" (code for refrain for reporting our obfuscations and evasions). But nothing has been official has been said, as far as I know, about rubbish like this.

The chief bearers of rumors and paranoia about evacuees from Fukushima have been the Japanese themselves. As one Japan Today article has pointed out the most outrageous rumors have been spread by Japanese through the Internet, including the lie about widespread looting in a disaster zone.

Frankly, your health is far more endangered by proximity to a typical sloppy Japanese cigarette smoker than a Japanese, or anyone, evacuating from Fukushima who is a nonsmoker.

I must say the timing of this stupid piece of writing is really great, coming as it does when millions of non-Japanese around the world as pouring out their hearts and wallets for Japan.

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"Made in Japan" label is now worse than "Made in China" label.

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People are going nuts over this radiation scafre in Japan,fed by the mass medias sensationalist journalism. They thik we who live here are all radiated and dying slowly. The fact is, there is a far higher level of radiation in places like Paris and Rome than there is in Tokyo. Im really sorry that innocent Japanese tourists and people living abroad are haveing these problems, due to the crass stupidity of their hosts.

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