News On Japan

Japanese lawmaker's comment on Ainu people judged as human rights violation

TOKYO, Sep 21 (NHK) - Japanese legal authorities have acknowledged that a lawmaker of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party violated human rights by posting a discriminatory comment about the country's indigenous Ainu people.

LDP Lower House lawmaker Sugita Mio posted a comment on her blog and social media in 2016 about a UN conference she attended. She wrote, "A middle-aged woman cosplaying in an Ainu ethnic clothing appeared. Breathing the same air with her makes me feel unwell."

An Ainu woman who participated in the conference filed a complaint in March with the Sapporo legal affairs bureau in Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost prefecture, where the Ainu people originate. She called Sugita's remarks insulting, discriminatory and deny human rights.

The woman said the legal affairs bureau conducted an investigation and concluded that Sugita committed a human rights violation. The woman said bureau officials instructed the lawmaker in September to learn more about the Ainu culture and to be more discreet about what she says.

Sugita's office said it has been informed by the Justice Ministry that the human rights violation by her has been acknowledged as a fact.

Sugita had already been under fire for her past controversial remarks about LGBTQ+ people and other instances of discrimination.

The woman said the bureau's judgement is a big step and that she wants society to become a place where the Ainu and other socially vulnerable people find it easy to express their views.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno Hirokazu told reporters on Wednesday morning that discrimination against the Ainu because of their ethnicity should not be tolerated.

Matsuno said Ainu people should be allowed to live with pride in their ethnicity and that should be respected. He said the government must promote measures to realize such a society.

Source: TBS NEWS

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