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Ibaraki health center warns people not to eat with foreigners to prevent spreading COVID

136 Comments
By SoraNews24

Japan has enacted a lot of strange measures to try and deal with the spread of the coronavirus, such as banning screaming on rollercoasters and giving out traditional fans at restaurants for customers to cover their mouths with.

But on May 19 and 20, the Itako Health Center in Ibaraki Prefecture sent out a document containing probably the most offensive COVID-prevention advice yet: to not eat with foreigners.

According to the health center, the document was aimed at foreigners working as farmers, and they sent it out to agricultural cooperatives and the city hall in the area.

The document said that: “There are many patients infected with COVID that likely caught it from foreigners.” In addition to warning people from eating with foreigners, they also recommended: “To please wear a mask when speaking with foreigners.”

Immediately after being sent out, the document was met with backlash calling it “inappropriate,” and on May 21 the document was retracted.

The health center claimed that they “had no intention of discriminating against foreigners” and apologized for the “wording that caused misunderstanding.”

Despite that apology and retraction, it’s still mind boggling where the original wording came from. All of this could’ve been easily avoided if the health center had just advocated for people to not eat out together in general, and to just wear a mask in general, not specifically pointing out foreigners.

Japanese netizens mostly had similar reactions:

“Discrimination.”

“Just tell everyone to wear a mask and not eat out. Doing otherwise is discrimination.”

“This just causes more discrimination against foreigners who lived in Japan before COVID, and Japanese people with foreign relatives.”

“I mean, by foreigners, they’re not including Westerners.”

“This is the country that’s going to be hosting the Olympics soon?”

In an age where ridiculous misinformation about foreigners can spread easily, and taking back that misinformation and replacing it with the truth can be incredibly difficult, it’s at least good to see a somewhat happy ending here. Let’s hope that unfortunate notices likes these won’t need to be retracted in the future, since they just won’t happen in the first place.

Source: NHK NEWS WEB via Hachima Kiko

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- No screaming allowed on Japanese roller coasters, and new video shows it can be done【Video】

-- Hyogo Prefecture to give 320,000 fans to restaurants for customers to cover mouths, dine “safely”

-- Japanese Red Cross releases important video on dealing with COVID-19 in a different way

© SoraNews24

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

136 Comments
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Yeah, from preventing spreading it to foreigners, since they do not frequent karaoke, izakaya and soaplands! You xenophobic ignorant **holes!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Don’t forget they don’t report/document MOST cases in Japan

People have repeated this claim thousands of times on this site over the past year, and not a single one of them provided even a single piece of evidence beyond their speculation.

It reminds me when a child tells a lie so much they forget it's a lie.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

For a while I knew as Japanese who has been diagnosed with. COVID as Americans. This changed drastically but not until 2021.

Don’t forget they don’t report/document MOST cases in Japan - this is getting lost in the Olympic hooplah.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

tamanegi May 23 04:13 pm JST

Racist lies.

Par for the course for this 30 year foreign resident of Japan. So glad to be leaving for good in September.

So I guess you're going somewhere where there is no racism. Where might that be?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

CognacToday  10:29 am JST

3 months ago I went in Ibaraki for work, going around without mask as usual I do in my prefecture, nobody told me anything.

People in Ibaraki are nice, most of the comments I'm reading here about Ibaraki people are not.

I'd say anyone smart enough to hold a conversation was keeping their distance if you were not wearing a mask.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

3 months ago I went in Ibaraki for work, going around without mask as usual I do in my prefecture, nobody told me anything.

People in Ibaraki are nice, most of the comments I'm reading here about Ibaraki people are not.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I was living in Ibaraki before, I would wager, anyone posting here was born...The people there are quite nice, and one grows fond of the sing-song dialect...And now someone there has done more than a few JT readers the enormous favour of giving them thing to feel indignant and morally superior about...There's been so much rubbish spouted about COVID, not a small amount of it advertised as "science," that one more idiotic remark shouldn't make that much difference. There are those who want very much to (a) believe that Japan is "racist" and "xenophobic" and (bI to go on living here--and complaining.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I somehow do not blame Ibaraki Health Centre for the advice. I watched my gaijin colleagues chatting whole day with no mask, briefly washed hands in toilet/lunchroom. I am relieved to be on remote working now.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Lara Flint ; Good idea!

I remember separate coaches for allied forces during the Occupation.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Dear Japanese spouses, Japanese adult relatives, of foreigners in Japan ---you should deluge this facility with emails and phone calls. Make your voice heard. This type of behavior is unacceptable.

Not willing to speak up? You should be ashamed of yourself.

Just a wild guess, but if the situation were the reverse, and took place in the US for example, and a memo went out telling Americans not to eat with Japanese exchange students, workers or whatever, your American husbands, wives, uncles, aunts---they would have their pitchforks and torches loaded up in a second, with multiple lawsuits being filed.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Unbelievable.

It just shows how shallow minded people can be.

Maybe when the pandemic began , Japan should have been saying avoid all chinese and wear masks if you see them, but no, they were over in their droves spending their money.

Priorities and racism totally wrong I'm afraid Japan.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Bah hahahahaha what a tool

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Time to leave...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Don’t eat with foreigners. What foreigners are they talking about? The ones who have been unable to leave Japan since this pandemic started? If any of these foreigners have covid they have caught from a Japanese person, who probably got infected from still a another Japanese person. If Japan is so afraid of associating with foreigners why are they holding the Olympic with thousands of foreigners. You can live in this country for decades and never be surprised on the prevalent xenophobia that is ingrained in the psychic of Japanese.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Interesting that it's only foreigners in Ibaraki that spread the virus... naughty foreigners

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Is this the country who is going to host the Olimpic Games??

4 ( +4 / -0 )

What do Ibaraki Health Center people mean by ''foreigners'',

Chinese and Koreans?

Jacobo

6 ( +6 / -0 )

https://ibarakinews.jp/news/newsdetail.php?f_jun=16216055788393

Here's a link, to the Ibaraki Shimbun of May 22.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Meanwhile, all the fully vaccinated "foreigners" on the U.S. bases have been ordered to leave their masks on as a show of solidarity with the Japanese people who have been wholeheartedly let down by their own government.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

@Antiquesaving

@Cat Stevens

No one says thing like this don't happen in other countries but there is a very big difference.

I to am from Canada and I know what would have happened if a government employee did the same thing in Canada.

Disciplinary action ranging from suspension, having to attend classes on discrimination or fired.

No such thing will happen here.

In Canada my nieces teacher is not a Canadian citizen and is a permanent employees of the public school system, which is not possible in Japan as the laws prohibit hiring non Japanese.

30 year here raised 2 mixed children as a single father.

If even one tenth of what was said or done by public school teachers here and then shrug off by the school and school board, had happened in Canada, people would have been fired.

Unlike Canada discrimination is legal here even enshrined in the law.

Please don't act as if they are the same.

I'm not acting like they are the same. I actually don't like some of the discriminatory rules here. But I am also realistic. Comparing western countries, who historically accept many immigrants. to Japan, which doesn't, is comparing apples and oranges. Of course, attitudes and laws will be different. That's just reality. I think permanent residents should be able to teach in schools here, but change takes time and I am optimistic it will. I look back to my elementary and high school experience and not a single one of my teachers was an immigrant. Yet now, it is more common in Canada. This is a good thing. As time progresses, hopefully attitudes and laws will change here as well. I just think that if you want to affect change, you must start in your own sphere.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Hateful and despiteful message! Not only expats deal with this pandemic now have to face and deal with such insipid remark. When will Japan learn that the very reason they exist and are a liberated nation because of a foreigner!

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Shut the doors, bad people fully vaccinated Foreigners are coming, it's the Olympics. lol

4 ( +8 / -4 )

@Objective

They apologized and retracted it. Likely they learned a lesson too. How come apologies no longer mean anything?

It is more about what it says about the people who wrote it and approved it for publishing, and the wider society that allows this kind of thing to arise, rather than the one specific instance.

The fat that this could even have got to publication is remarkable and shows that this unconscious xenophobia is able to slip through so easily. After all the attempts at internationalisation, we are in a situation where a local government is telling its citizens not to mix with foreigners.

Of course they apologised - I hardly expected them to double down on it.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Did this include Chinese people?

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

I don't know if Ibaraki is back tracking, but the article reads "foreigners who work on farms." It's the same in the U.S. Because citizens don't want to do hard labor, foreign workers are brought into the country. If you fear foreigners so much, Ibaraki, go pick your own lettuce and daikon. See if pure nihonjin will work as farm laborers.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

And all you gaijin are betting your future on this country?? Who are dumb ones? .. pay high taxes while they take a crap in your mouth if you speak out.. you guys dont see all the signs on the proverbial wall!!!! Dont be Gaijin be Flyjin.. left Tokyo for good in 2020.. fully reintegrated back home.. lovin it!!!!

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Keep saying "not my problem" and the problem will continue to be allowed to flourish

6 ( +7 / -1 )

AntiquesavingToday 03:00 am JST

You should have a conversation with my 2 adult 20s children.

Let them tell you what it is like being mixed in Japan.

And how it is still not as bad as being a full Gaijin.

Then you can tell them how it is not such a big deal.

They are Japanese citizens and have been stopped, searched, asked to prove they are Japanese more times than I like to remember.

I really wonder in which city you are living in Japan and in which area. Our two daughters, Japanese citizens, mixed 50/50 European/Japanese, 40s never had such an experience so far.

There is no way to mistaken me, an European man, for a Japanese either, living in Tokyo and Okayama since more than 40 years and I have no such bad experience either, I was sometimes stopped by police during a routine traffic check, but those police officers could not know that it is a foreigner riding a motorcycle, especially not during nighttime.

My documents are in order, my motorcycle too is in top condition, I had a friendly talk with them for a few minutes during those checks and continued...

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

My son lives in tokio since 4 years, he speak very very good japanese.

I am from Germany/Munic, and I don´t like to read such of things !!!

Japanese people come each year to Germany too . I hope it was a missunderstanding form Ibaraki.

I enjoy each year to visit tokio and.....

I love all in japan, the people and towns, nature...!!!

My husband is professor of neuro science , in his institute are people from all countries of the world.

Also he works with university of tokio and sapporo!!!

My son don´t left tokio since 2 years, because corona!

I hope the ibaraki health center read my comment. I hope it was a missunderstanding!

Greetings from Germany!!! I hope I can visit my son and the amaising town tokio!!!! soon.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

who says foreigners though? Proof that enabling this behaviour doesn't stop it and those that live there who don't complain allow it to continue.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Cat StevensMay 23 10:31 pm JST

Japan Today commentators are always in top outrage form....

... The things is, if you read the comments on this site, which I unfortunately do, you would think we live in a dictatorship. I'm all for complaining about injustice, but the comments here reek of manufactured outrage.

---

I cannot not say it better, of course Japan is not the perfect paradise - not even for many Japanese people, but it is by far not the worst country worldwide to live here as a foreigner.

Compare Japan with other countries and their problems here in Asia ...

About this stupid warning from a health center which anyway was recalled quickly, I can sleep with that, no nightmare for sure.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Blame it to the foreigners with the borders closed.

How backwards is Japan?

8 ( +11 / -3 )

I'm a foreigner who just got out of a mandatory hospital stay last week after having caught COVID-19 in Japan. Since I haven't met another foreigner in 6 months, that means I got it from a Japanese person. I so wanted a vaccine but unfortunately it wasn't (and still isn't) available in this backward country. So from my point of view, Japan is way more dangerous for foreigners who associate with Japanese than vice versa.

13 ( +17 / -4 )

@Wolfpack

You should have a conversation with my 2 adult 20s children.

Let them tell you what it is like being mixed in Japan.

And how it is still not as bad as being a full Gaijin.

Then you can tell them how it is not such a big deal.

They are Japanese citizens and have been stopped, searched, asked to prove they are Japanese more times than I like to remember.

They in theory have legal recourse but even that goes nowhere.

This constant making excuses for xenophobia by says "

We don’t know if the motivation behind the statement was discriminatory in intent.

Is the typical thing said when trying to ignore facts about the dark side of Japan.

Again this is not what all Japan is like but it is often what certain people in powerful position are like.

This was not the first it will not be the last and the next one will again be some government officials or agency and again the apologist will come here and say just like the above quote!

5 ( +10 / -5 )

"2021 for god sake! When is Japan going to get over this racist BS???"

Good question. Maybe not for a long time. Certainly one of the more frustrating things one notices in Japan is how much a large number of people apparently subscribe to garbage pseudoscience. Why? If you're an educated and literate person who readily accepts that the earth revolves around the sun and that humans are descended from non-human primates who first evolved in Africa, why believe in other stuff that's utter nonsense? For example, thinking that blood type plays some role in determining personality traits. I never heard about or came across this ridiculous idea about blood type until I became familiar with things that many people in Japan believe with all their heart.

Pseudoscience connecting ethnic Japanese to X and other people to Y (and the latter group most certainly includes naturalised Japanese citizens who are of non-Japanese ethnic background) will likely never die out completely in the country.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Don't know if I should Laugh Or Cry, LOL

4 ( +6 / -2 )

If this were an isolated incident then I would not even pass a comment here, but it isn’t.

When I have seen innocent foreigners surrounded and grabbed by police for the simple reason that they are foreign then I have to wonder ‘why’ these prejudicial attitudes are allowed to continue as they do?

4 ( +7 / -3 )

The document said that: “There are many patients infected with COVID that likely caught it from foreigners.” In addition to warning people from eating with foreigners, they also recommended: “To please wear a mask when speaking with foreigners.”

Funny thing about this is that I'm a foreigner here in Japan, but I'm fully vaccinated. Most of the people working around the various military bases are including Military, civilian workers, and for some like me their Japanese spouses while her native country can't seem to get their act together.

What's even more amazing is that even though many Americans like myself have been fully vaccinated and thus really no need for a mask, we are told by our commanders here that in order to put any fears aside for the local community, we must still wear a mask when we are outside off base (on base it's optional) and if we work around Japanese citizens we must wear mask at all times (in other words, if there were 3 vaccinated workers (foreign) in one office space and one Japanese national who has not been vaccinated, masks still must be worn by all workers in the work space)

Maybe someone in the Japanese Central government may need to put out some clear guidance and quell some of these fears. It's most likely that if I were to still come down with COVID, I would most likely get it from a Japanese national than a foreigner since most of the ones I work with have been vaccinated.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

@Wolfpack,

You make some good points.

The Itako Health Center put out a document telling citizens not to eat with foreigners.

On this point, I understand the document was specifically aimed at farmers employing foreign workers. I'm not up-to-date on the use of foreign farm workers, but if they arrive in groups for a temporary period, I can understand that there might be some concern that some may carry the virus. If the wording were more along the lines of "ensure your workers are Covid free" rather than "don't eat with your foreign workers", it might have stirred less reaction.

The Japanese will learn more by your example than your brow beating and self-professed moral superiority.

Thinking of times at the immigration office when some irate Westerners would let off steam about their treatment. Meanwhile, by nodding and going along with things, I think I got treated very well.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Ibaraki health center warns people not to eat with foreigners to prevent spreading COVID

Some things in Japan just never change.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

I know all is well and done, but I keep running into this article and it keeps bugging me.

I was going to write that Japanese people don't to put up with this sort of nonsense, but in fact they do.

There are prefectures where conoid-19 cases are flooding the hospitals and sending seriously ill patients home to die. Then there are the prefectures with relatively few cases. There have been instances when the locals bullied the outsiders from the flooded prefectures. So, yeah, this happens among the Japanese.

Plagues are not friendly occurrences.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I to am from Canada and I know what would have happened if a government employee did the same thing in Canada.

Disciplinary action ranging from suspension, having to attend classes on discrimination or fired.

Most are all too aware that countries like Canada and America tend to reduce a person’s entire career and character down to a single incident and use said incident as an opportunity to purge them or put them through re-education training. The Itako Health Center put out a document telling citizens not to eat with foreigners. We don’t know if the motivation behind the statement was discriminatory in intent. It ended up being quickly withdrawn and therefore people were made aware that the sentiment was without merit. The episode seems to have done more good than harm given the reaction from Japanese people. against as demonstrated in the article. This one individuals mistake should not be interpreted as a metaphor for all of Japanese society.

I feel comfortable saying that most expats face some sort of discrimination in Japan. I get frustrated by it - and it takes time and maturity to understand your place as a foreigner. Ultimately you have to remember- Japan isn’t your country. If it were like your country there is a good chance you would not have chosen to live there. The Japanese will learn more by your example than your brow beating and self-professed moral superiority.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Japan Today commentators are always in top outrage form. It was one health centre issuing some ill thought out bs. They retracted and apologized. I guess that doesn't count anymore. Should that person be fired? Maybe. But extrapolating this to the populace is nonsense.

I've been here for 16 years, and while it is not perfect, like any country, it has it's good and bad points. I have made a place for myself in my community and I am happy with my life here. If you don't like the haters, ignore them. The most successful foreigners I know are the ones who don't moan and complain about their lot, but instead get out and make things happen. My mother and father, both immigrants to my country of origin, Canada, have been here three times. Both have traveled around the world. They were both discriminated against when they moved to Canada. My mother is darker skinned and I saw discrimination in person. Yet, they didn't moan and complain, because there will always be jerks in life. They did their thing. My father said that Japan is one of the only countries in the world he would consider moving to, and this is coming from a man who scraped for everything he had. The things is, if you read the comments on this site, which I unfortunately do, you would think we live in a dictatorship. I'm all for complaining about injustice, but the comments here reek of manufactured outrage.

Its all very easy to just dismiss this stuff with an “I can ignore it and I’m fine so why can’t you” attitude when you aren’t raising kids in this environment. But if you have kids who are being exposed to and harmed by these types of attitudes - in their own country at that - this isn’t manufactured outrage, I take this seriously and personally. If I’m not speaking out against it, I’m not doing my job as a parent correctly.

And this isn’t an isolated incident. Its true that there are lots of great people here and I like Japan a lot, but this BS mentality about foreigners is way more commonplace and accepted than it should be.

9 ( +13 / -4 )

THIS is the country that's desperately trying to let the Olympics happen? The OLYMPICS, which is an event meant to promote international unity and community and celebrate diversity. They want a highly publicized event like the Olympics to take off and succeed and yet still allow prefectures like Ibaraki to spout ignorant, racist, xenophobic nonsense that have absolutely no scientific weight? Unbelievable. Covid continues to shed light on all of Japan's ugly layers. By the time the pandemic is over, I doubt many people will continue to see Japan as a "forward thinking, advanced country". It was all a sham anyway.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

There's no vaccine for stupid.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

You buried the lede, again - it's a non-story at this point: "...on May 21 the document was retracted...."

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Too silly and ignorant.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Despite that apology and retraction, it’s still mind boggling where the original wording came from.

Probably some dopey old boy promoted way beyond his level of competence and well past retirement age who "doesn't remember" drafting it.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

@Cat Stevens

No one says thing like this don't happen in other countries but there is a very big difference.

I to am from Canada and I know what would have happened if a government employee did the same thing in Canada.

Disciplinary action ranging from suspension, having to attend classes on discrimination or fired.

No such thing will happen here.

In Canada my nieces teacher is not a Canadian citizen and is a permanent employees of the public school system, which is not possible in Japan as the laws prohibit hiring non Japanese.

30 year here raised 2 mixed children as a single father.

If even one tenth of what was said or done by public school teachers here and then shrug off by the school and school board, had happened in Canada, people would have been fired.

Unlike Canada discrimination is legal here even enshrined in the law.

Please don't act as if they are the same.

7 ( +12 / -5 )

anon999: "This story should be sent to all Olympic athletes and organisations starting with Bach for his coming visit so he can understand why none of the Japanese Olympic offical can eat with his during his visit."

Oh, geez, man, Bach wouldn't care! And they wouldn't care about Bach, because both are giving each other a MASSIVE pay day. It SHOULD, however, be sent to the delegates who are coming, and the officials bringing them over (those that aren't barred, of course). Also to athletes in particular like Naomi Osaka, who often has a few things to say about racism -- and I think we all know they'd just LOVE to eat with her, hug her, squeal about her "cute Japanese", and what not.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Well-said @Cat Stevens.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

Can somebody please post the source of this article in Japanese?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Japan Today commentators are always in top outrage form. It was one health centre issuing some ill thought out bs. They retracted and apologized. I guess that doesn't count anymore. Should that person be fired? Maybe. But extrapolating this to the populace is nonsense.

I've been here for 16 years, and while it is not perfect, like any country, it has it's good and bad points. I have made a place for myself in my community and I am happy with my life here. If you don't like the haters, ignore them. The most successful foreigners I know are the ones who don't moan and complain about their lot, but instead get out and make things happen. My mother and father, both immigrants to my country of origin, Canada, have been here three times. Both have traveled around the world. They were both discriminated against when they moved to Canada. My mother is darker skinned and I saw discrimination in person. Yet, they didn't moan and complain, because there will always be jerks in life. They did their thing. My father said that Japan is one of the only countries in the world he would consider moving to, and this is coming from a man who scraped for everything he had. The things is, if you read the comments on this site, which I unfortunately do, you would think we live in a dictatorship. I'm all for complaining about injustice, but the comments here reek of manufactured outrage.

-7 ( +12 / -19 )

Well, my first thought was stay away from Ibaraki when I revisit Japan. But in every place I've travelled, there's at least one idiot, so I won't hold that idiot's comment against the people in the prefecture (and I've already met many who were very, very nice to this Canadian).

7 ( +7 / -0 )

"This is only a small health clinic in Ibaraki, and not Ibaraki itself.."

Even if it is small clinic run by some idiotic old provincial bigot, his (removed) little notice went long way in spreading hatred.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

But let’s get loads of foreign athletes over here for the most unwanted Olympics ever and talk to them on TV!

9 ( +11 / -2 )

So this kind of careless words from J-Gov made whole Japan racist? Nah! Don't be stereotype, it's just common all over the world. Actually the locals discriminating the foreigners are more scarier than the announcement from Gov. And this happens all the time everywhere, even in your country.

This is not actually true.

Sure it happens, but if this was a Canadian, French, German, UK, USA, etc... Government official, there would be consequences from suspension to being fired.

Here they run no such risk.

The things teachers said to me and my children infront of school directors only ever got a shrug of the shoulders the end.

Please don't try a compare places where saying things happen but there are laws against those things and Japan where it is permitted and accepted.

Never in any place in Canada, the USA or Europe have I seen a real estate agency has "no foreigners" etc.... But the the no Gaijin is very common.

Japanese laws prohibits all governments in Japan from hiring foreigners including PR so now you know why ALT will never be permanent employees.

Imagine a law like that in the EU, UK Canada, Australia, NZ, USA.

Are there a lot of nice people in Japan yes far more than not nice, but the not nice part is legally protected and often by those in power.

15 ( +17 / -2 )

So this kind of careless words from J-Gov made whole Japan racist? Nah! Don't be stereotype, it's just common all over the world. Actually the locals discriminating the foreigners are more scarier than the announcement from Gov. And this happens all the time everywhere, even in your country.

-10 ( +4 / -14 )

It reminds me of a mail I received from a customer in my early days in Japan.

He said that he was once cheated by a foreigner so he doesn’t trust foreigners anymore and that I should be thankful that he is talking to me.

Funny thing is the sender did not think it was an offensive mail.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

@John Kennedy

Whenever I have been in some difficult situation, there has always been some Japanese person/people to help me.

I was in a slightly "difficult situation" just today. I wanted to use the bicycle parking lot at Koenji station. But I couldn't find its entrance/exit. So I entered the lot on foot from a side entrance, and as i walked toward to the exit to see how to access it from the street, I was confronted by an old geezer in a municipal uniform who said, "You didn't use this parking lot." I said, "Yes, because I didnt know where the entrance is from the street and wanted to locate it." He said, sternly, "You're not supposed to be in here if you didnt park your bike here." I said, "Yes, but I need to find the entrance first to use it. He said, "It's prohibited to just pass through here," as if any rationale I had didn't count and my explanation wasnt't worth listening to.

I wanted to punch him. Instead, I laughed and walked away. Some foreign friends tell me theyre dealing with elevated tension and friction with the locals these days.

Yeah, I have met with Japanese kindness in the past. But now, with the Olympics disaster approaching and COVID getting out of control, it seems local chip-on the shoulder resentment is rising, and the Japanese feel that the gaijin need to be monitored ever more strictly and kept firmly under their thumb.

2 ( +10 / -8 )

The I've been here ..... and the in XYZ country where I from there are problems also......

Let's be honest.

Yes in over 30 years in Japan having raised 2 mixed children as a a single father. More good than bad and that is no different than Canada, the UK, EU, USA.

But here is the difference.

In those other places there are laws protecting minorities, the bad things that happen here are from teachers, government officials, businesses that can say openly No Gaijin, etc...

These things would not be legal or tolerated in other civilized countries.

9 ( +14 / -5 )

Calm down a little bit and don’t always intentionally misunderstand everything. Isn’t it obvious, that foreigners living here already before corona and didn’t go anywhere and returned during the pandemic are not subject to that or included in what you immediately consider a bullying or discrimination? But of course, not everyone knows that or can see that from your face or manners, so there can be sometimes restrictions or a more cold welcome. It’s just about minimizing some of the obvious risks, not more not less. You would surely react similarly if you were in your country and for example someone from UK or India sit at the neighboring restaurant table and you hear how they talk about just having arrived. In fact, considering the now very thin nerve costume and quite distorted mental state of most Westerners you would probably even panic much more than the Japanese with there public advice like that in Ibaraki. That’s quite another escalation stage when they put all corona viruses guilt and even beat or kill anyone looking Asian like in the U.S. It’s therefore still by far less dangerous if they only don’t want to eat together with you in some cases.

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

Expect the official to issue a hastily composed qualified retraction ("Our advisory was misunderstood") but no apology.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Meh.. nothing new here....

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Well I hope same outrage will result whenever any racist comment is deliberately mentioned in this forum.

Not that this one is deliberate as I seem to gather from the comments.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Perhaps they were referring to one specific group of foreigners? But didn't want to discriminate against that group. For example there have been at least two large clusters in Saitama involving people from the Philippines. One at a church group, the other from a BBQ. Maybe this part of Ibaraki has a similar situation?

Doesn't make it alright but may explain their blunt approach.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

@Oldman

Yes, it was an absolutely stupid thing to say.

But lost on many people's thoughts as usual are the Japanese netizens who themselves thought this to be offensive.

Oldman that was not lost on me. I saw this last night yesterday actually and shared it with the wife, in-laws, and Japanese people I know and work and nearly all were embarrassed, apologized (I said they did not have to at all - but this is Japan), and said the statement was ridiculous.

It is quite obvious that the statement does not represent the feeling of most of the Japanese people.

What does concern me is that someone in the Ibaraki Health Center could make such a ridiculous and unscientificly sound statement (they are supposed to be medical professionals, right?)

They need to fire whoever approved this and find someone who is medically competent to replace them.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Terrible, hateful and ignorant. Good this is getting picked up by the media (by J language media as well).

It's depressing, however, that you get the usual local thinking it's perfectly fine to tell me (a "foreigner") that Japanese people have better hygiene and are better behaved, which is why the numbers are lower than in the rest of the world. Overt bigotry grows from subtle nationalist misinformation.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

2 ( +6 / -4 )

What irony that my JAPANESE husband brought the corona virus into our home, because he continues going out, meeting friends and business partners in izakayas as if the virus didn't exist. Whereas I have not met friends and family for more than one year. Luckily I did not get infected last time but it has been 6 months since his infection and now he is probably not immune anymore. Will I get infected next time? Nobody knows.

So, the government should warn FOREIGNERS of JAPANESE people!

24 ( +27 / -3 )

John KennedyToday 06:23 pm JST

I have lived in Japan for 30 years. I know that discrimination exists in Japan, but in my experience, I have often been amazed by the kindness of the Japanese people. Whenever I have been in some difficult situation, there has always been some Japanese person/people to help me.

I don’t think this story is very representative of Japan. The vast majority of Japanese are kind helpful people.

-----

I am from Europe, living in Japan since more than 40 years, I can only agree with this comment above.

Compared to many Japanese people who have been friendly and helpful to me, the number of discriminating unfriendly Japanese towards me so far has been minimal. Not worth even to talk about it.

-9 ( +11 / -20 )

And, of course, incidents like these will be eagerly embraced by the usual crowd that loves to claim that it's 'proof' that Japanese society and people are all 'racist' and 'ignorant xenophobic hate mongers.'

Yes, it was an absolutely stupid thing to say.

But lost on many people's thoughts as usual are the Japanese netizens who themselves thought this to be offensive. To these people, these outspoken Japanese are 'outliers' and far outnumbered by the bigots. Gotta always generalize the entire nation and people for the idiocy of a few, will never change here.

Let me also remind people also that the concept of segregating those thought to be carriers and spreaders of COVID-19 is hardly unique to any one country. In one particular Southeast Asian country, the source of super spreaders is thought to be migrant workers from neighboring countries and correspondingly that group has been isolated and treated unfairly. And several nations have banned outright foreigners from other countries from even visiting due to COVID-19.

Valid concept of being cognizant of who might be spreading COVID-19, absolutely terrible and idiotic execution that only offends.

-7 ( +6 / -13 )

These are the type of people in charge of public health? No wonder we still aren't vaccinated.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

Unfortunately, these types of comments just seem to repeat and repeat and repeat. It might be possible to retract a comment or to even apologise but the harm has already been done. When foreigners meet prejudice and discrimination in Japan, it is the fault of ill worded and ill thought out proclamations such as this one. There has to be a law in Japan which carries a penalty for such edicts-only then will Japan start to enter the 21st century

11 ( +16 / -5 )

As soon as they get rid of the over 70s in the LDP it will at least be a start..

8 ( +11 / -3 )

2021 for god sake! When is Japan going to get over this racist BS???

12 ( +16 / -4 )

This story should be sent to all Olympic athletes and organisations starting with Bach for his coming visit so he can understand why none of the Japanese Olympic offical can eat with his during his visit.

Why does the international media never choose to pick up stories like this?

16 ( +18 / -2 )

I have lived in Japan for 30 years. I know that discrimination exists in Japan, but in my experience, I have often been amazed by the kindness of the Japanese people. Whenever I have been in some difficult situation, there has always been some Japanese person/people to help me. 

I don’t think this story is very representative of Japan. The vast majority of Japanese are kind helpful people.

Its true that people are generally quite helpful here, but I would say that despite that observation this story really is representative of Japan (or at least a significant part of it).

Its representative of the kind of racism that exists in the mainstream here, which is different from a lot of other places. Its not violent (you don’t have to worry about mobs attacking you), and it’s usually not even driven by any malice (I doubt the authors of this were deliberately trying to be offensive).

Rather, its just all the assumptions that everyone has ingrained in their head from an early age which make people say crap like this. Foreigners are just a curiosity, not real people who live here and are part of this society.

Not everyone is like that of course, but you get exposed to that assumption people have quite often. Like my Japanese wife was in the super market the other day with our daughter and a neighborhood mom came up to her and just started asking all these personal questions about how rare it is to see foreigners in our area and what it’s like being married to one and having kids who look like foreigners and how long we are going to live here before taking them back to their “real” country (my kids are Japanese nationals, born and raised here but look different). All in front of my daughter and every racist, exclusionary word said with a huge smile on her stupid face, totally oblivious to how offensive and hurtful it was.

19 ( +23 / -4 )

@Meiyouwenti - There was a segment on the news tonight how a Japanese man infected 5 or 6 people when they went to karaoke together and those people then infected several other people.

It is unread that this came from a health center and not some stupid politician. This would indicate that an assumed "educated" person with some health background put this out or approved this.

Showed this to the wife: she was shocked, embarrassed, we laughed, and then I offered to eat first or after her if she would be more comfortable.

Actually there may be a positive use for this: Certainly it would really be foolish to hold the Olympics as 70,000 or so foreigners from all over the world will be coming to Japan.

I think we have some new members of the Cancel the Olympics push!

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Just another example on the never ending list of social ineptitude.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

By all means, avoid the foreigners. It'll save the foreigners from getting god knows what.

Out of all the people who have been infected in this country, I wonder how many are foreigners?

Ishihara Shintaro would be proud of this.

17 ( +19 / -2 )

This is one of the reasons that Japan is having trouble with covid. The majority of Japanese believe that covid is a foreign disease and that they do not need to take precautions as long as they are only around Japanese. This kind of false information have been in the media for well over a year now.

24 ( +27 / -3 )

I agree with John Kennedy and have received so much kindness from people, especially last year when I was recovering from cancer.

This is only a small health clinic in  Ibaraki, and not  Ibaraki itself.

Maybe a hundred local foreigners could all turn up at once to visit the clinic.

9 ( +14 / -5 )

If this were just some LDP curmudgeon, I would kind of understand it, but this is an official health center.

Managed by a politically-appointed LDP curmudgeon, quite likely.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Oh no. I'm surrounded by foreigners all day and night!!!

Well, foreign to me, anyway.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

Send it to the IOC - they need to know how welcome they are here!

20 ( +21 / -1 )

Itako Health Center in Ibaraki Prefecture

I think I’ll drop in wearing a curly blond wig and a giant false nose asking if they’ve got any vaccines on the go.

14 ( +17 / -3 )

I don’t think this story is very representative of Japan. The vast majority of Japanese are kind helpful people.

That's true basically everywhere. Even in New York City, individual people are very helpful even if has a reputation of the opposite.

16 ( +19 / -3 )

@ john Kennedy

I have to agree with you. My daughter had two student exchange homes in Japan. They are the most wonderful helpful people and all the friends she's made there are exceptional. On my two holidays I've met these people and they've been the most hospitable and friendly. I don't think any country has a perfect society free from racism but the best way to overcome it is to talk to individuals.

3 ( +13 / -10 )

Of course I agree with John Kennedy

7 ( +11 / -4 )

watashi wa gaijin desu dakara watashi no iken wa juuyou dewa arimasen. 

But unfortunately I have a brain, I can think for myself and I don’t believe something without checking it out first. It is sad that there are some Japanese who will believe anything they are told.

15 ( +16 / -1 )

No intention to discriminate, but they did!

25 ( +28 / -3 )

They apologized and retracted it. Likely they learned a lesson too. How come apologies no longer mean anything?

-19 ( +8 / -27 )

I have lived in Japan for 30 years. I know that discrimination exists in Japan, but in my experience, I have often been amazed by the kindness of the Japanese people. Whenever I have been in some difficult situation, there has always been some Japanese person/people to help me.

I don’t think this story is very representative of Japan. The vast majority of Japanese are kind helpful people.

-8 ( +22 / -30 )

The Japanese were the only ones allowed to travel last year bringing the covid back with them. Most of the people on the cruise ship were Japanese allowed home.

30 ( +34 / -4 )

Soon the foreigners will be the safest people to hang out with -- all vaccinated, while Japanese, like the citizens of a banana republic, will still be waiting.

20 ( +23 / -3 )

I've been here a thousand years and this stuff just makes me laugh! Just totally unintelligent morons!

16 ( +19 / -3 )

Xenophobia at its finest. It’s impossible to think that Japanese are spreading the virus. It’s easier to blame foreigners.

26 ( +28 / -2 )

If this were just some LDP curmudgeon, I would kind of understand it, but this is an official health center. I would say what I think but it is unprintable.

Instead, I would just like to remind everyone that though its actually these foreigners who are thinning the blossom, thinning the fruit, doing the weeding, and then doing the harvesting and packaging, those things in the shops are still Ibaraki's extra special apples/persimmons/watermelons/whatever and you are missing something wonderful if you don't pay 3000 yen for some next time you are at the shops.

20 ( +21 / -1 )

And what was the "wording that caused misunderstanding"? What did they intend to say that was so misunderstood?

23 ( +26 / -3 )

And the xenophobia continue.

I mean how bad can a place get now, it gets so bad that even pets are classified as "foreigners" pets will need to be chipped in 3 years but not domestic breeds.

I wonder if my 2 mixed children will be classified as half dangerous or fully dangerous like other foreign things.

24 ( +26 / -2 )

Actually, they SHOULD avoid foreigners -- they might run into to someone who's actually vaccinated, and that would cause them to retreat further into an inferiority virus, which is apparently rampant in Ibaraki.

20 ( +25 / -5 )

Hahahaha! The hits just keep on coming...2 or 3 per day. It's amazing.

Everyone knows that racist xenophobia is the answer. Right!?

Japan's image is taking a total beating in this Pandemic.

17 ( +19 / -2 )

With not much going for it, sensational remarks like this racist "news" will hang over Ibaraki for a long time.

At this point there are 9348 people down with the virus. Likely few if any are foreigners.

22 ( +24 / -2 )

Noooooooo!!!!!

I've been eating every single meal, for my entire life with the same foreigner!! I most definitely caught corona from this foreigner!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!

15 ( +18 / -3 )

You're all adults. You can fend for yourselves what about kids who pick this up and start bullying foreign kids.

As a parent raising two kids here, yes exactly! Before I had kids this sort of thing was just annoying. Now it makes me absolutely furious.

31 ( +31 / -0 )

While the wording itself is regrettable, I don't believe there's a malicious intent in their comments, that said this just comes out to show how the average Japanese person without exposure to the outside world are just simply dumb and should be given pity.

By the way you can send your love and express your concern by contacting them here:

itaho@pref.ibaraki.lg.jp

0299-66-2118

1 ( +17 / -16 )

You're all adults. You can fend for yourselves what about kids who pick this up and start bullying foreign kids.

28 ( +28 / -0 )

Poor farmers, migrant labourers and caregivers just trying to earn a wage to send home and help out in a country that doesn’t make an effort to really appreciate or understand them.

Japan is only getting older with a severely diminishing workforce, out of date public education programs and critically deteriorating segments of the infrastructure. (Cycle under and around any local bridges lately. Damn scary.)

Tokyo Olympics - “At any cost” -

31 ( +31 / -0 )

According to the health center, the document was aimed at foreigners working as farmers, and they sent it out to agricultural cooperatives and the city hall in the area.

Even worse, the memo not only warns against socializing with foreigners but also working together with them.

And Japan wants to promote itself as an international hub in finance, tech and cultural content.

32 ( +33 / -1 )

And this country is hosting one of the biggest international sportsevents..

36 ( +39 / -3 )

The Japanese are special. But not in a good way.

30 ( +37 / -7 )

by pointing out the fact that non-Japanese can bring in variant strains.

And so can other Japanese human beings.

38 ( +42 / -4 )

The wording is extremely inappropriate. But the people at the health center in Ibaraki just wanted to protect local residents from coronavirus by pointing out the fact that non-Japanese can bring in variant strains.

-50 ( +5 / -55 )

Too late. It’s like “trying to put ‘the stink’ back in the bottle”:

- “Though we had no intention of discriminating against foreigners,” the Itako Health Center told NHK, “we are sorry if any of the expressions were misleading.”

23 ( +25 / -2 )

Didn’t you know?

The virus loves Italian, French, Indian, Thai, Vietnamese, Korean, Spanish, Lebanese cuisine... and so on.

But it absolutely hates Japanese food. Stay safe. Eat and get drunk at Izakaya. But no foreign beer!

17 ( +21 / -4 )

Don't take life advice from JA

13 ( +14 / -1 )

I was wondering if this might have been exaggerated so looked it up in Japanese and discovered that it was:

Not exaggerated!

The original document really is this blatantly discriminatory.

Stupid racists.

41 ( +43 / -2 )

I used to get annoyed at this stuff but now it's just funny

-11 ( +14 / -25 )

I had hope when I read the headline that the government was actually trying to protect the foreigners, as none of them should have been infected in their home countries (because none of them have been able to travel to their home countries since the pandemic began). The vectors are coming from Japanese citizens allowed to return from places like India and Brazil and other out-of-control locations. So when the poor stuck-in-Japan foreigners encounter those returning Japanese, THEY are the ones who need to be protected.

Then I read the article and could not believe the stupidity.

33 ( +35 / -2 )

This is what happens when groupthink prevails. A small group of like-minded persons make decisions and the outcome is an extreme version whereas if it had been an open group with diverse participants, idiotic statements would have been shot down from the get go.

20 ( +23 / -3 )

The biggest threat to Japanese from foreigners is the realisation they don’t have to live like they are told to. Really don’t eat with foreigners? Probably lucky it wasn’t don’t eat foreigners. As the IQ level of management is truly astounding.

26 ( +30 / -4 )

That's so messed up. The warning should be to tell foreigners to be careful having dinner with nationals. Better not show this post to my wife in case I'm exiled to the upper floors to eat my bento.

29 ( +34 / -5 )

Next time the Tokyo Olympics appear in news overseas I hope this information is included at least as a note.

36 ( +44 / -8 )

I mean, by foreigners, they’re not including Westerners

I think they could be. In Japan, ‘westerners’ are generally seen as the most tolerable foreigners, but they can be included in the diseased bracket.

I recall an incident with a Japanese female friend in an izakaya. I went to the toilet and came back to find her very upset. Someone on the next table had apparently warned her about STD from foreigners. I wanted to punch or throttle an apology out of him but that drove her to panic and tears.

39 ( +43 / -4 )

The only surprise is that anyone is surprised. It's only a few years ago that Shinzo Abe's special advisor, the novelist Ayako Sono, was advocating apartheid in Japan.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-newspaper-columnist-who-wants-to-bring-apartheid-to-japan

Ibaraki does seem to have a particular problem with xenophobia. One wonders why that could be.

41 ( +49 / -8 )

How does anybody get away with this sort of blatant racism? As if the increase in covid, including the new variants, is not the fault of the inept j-government and the Japanese nationals that brought them into the country.

30 ( +34 / -4 )

filthy disgusting racism from gov officials. I am not surprised at all. BUT l am heartened by the outrage Japanese people have felt

Discrimination.”

“Just tell everyone to wear a mask and not eat out. Doing otherwise is discrimination.”

“This just causes more discrimination against foreigners who lived in Japan before COVID, and Japanese people with foreign relatives.”

“I mean, by foreigners, they’re not including Westerners.”

“This is the country that’s going to be hosting the Olympics soon?”

tip of the stetson to all those Japanese people who felt outrage by this. thank you all. Just goes to show that the gov officials may all be scumbags, but the people are not. At least not all.

34 ( +43 / -9 )

Sad but unfortunately true.

I think they should make special compartments in the metro and JR lines just for foreigners to avoid the spread of the virus.

-25 ( +20 / -45 )

This is very bad news! I looked in the mirror just now and realized that last night I had dinner with a foreigner - ME. I am thus a danger to myself! OMG. I had better wear a mask and socially distance from myself.

But I'm sure that all the maskless salarymen I saw eating shoulder to shoulder in a tiny ramen shop will be okay, because WHEW.... they were all Japanese.

49 ( +57 / -8 )

I read this to my Japanese wife. She laughed herself silly that anyone could be this dumb.

41 ( +46 / -5 )

Nothing new.

Omotenashi.

52 ( +58 / -6 )

Hateful xenophobia.

46 ( +53 / -7 )

Racist lies.

Par for the course for this 30 year foreign resident of Japan. So glad to be leaving for good in September.

64 ( +73 / -9 )

oh nooooo..... I spent several hours talking with foreigners last night! 怖い!

48 ( +55 / -7 )

A good reason to avoid Ibaraki even when the pandemic is over.

72 ( +81 / -9 )

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