Hate-speech rallies have reportedly been increasing significantly in Japan the past few months. However, while past protests target other ethnicities such as Koreans residing in the country, this one is centered on fellow Japanese but with discrimination to those of a differing opinion on the existence of United States military bases in the nation.
Many citizens groups are against the existence of U.S. military bases in Japan. The number of these groups increased with the central government’s plan to relocate the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to the Henoko district in Nago. While many protests against the existence of the bases are held in different locations in Osaka, those who believe the bases are essential amid China’s growing threat in the region are holding similar protests. People who are pro-bases have increased in recent months and have been more vocal after Yomiuri Telecasting Corp. based in Osaka televised a talk show on Sunday, which is highly critical of the anti-base movement. But many believe the show is one-sided as it only focused on the people demonstrating against it and not the reason they were doing so such as noise pollution, accidents and crimes, which were why many are opposed to them. But Yomiuri defended its broadcast saying, “The content of the program is everything. A judgment is made by viewers.”
Aside from the critical judgment on people protesting the bases, other preposterous reasons have been attached to the people demonstrating against the bases such as receiving bribe money from China, an accusation the groups have denied vehemently. But a journalist, 49-year old Koichi Yasuda has studied the hate speech happening in Japan and has seen a connection with the criticisms hurled at the Okinawa protesters and the moves done by the Zainichi Tokken wo Yurusanai Shimin no Kai (group of citizens who do not tolerate privileges for ethnic Korean residents in Japan). He said that, “Anyone who opposes something is characterized as ‘leftist’ and target for attack.” He also noted since the public are aware that Okinawa local government receives money for hosting the bases, they feel it’s unfair as Japan as a whole is still struggling economically, same as the so-called “privileges” which goes to the Koreans. However, he believes it is not reason enough to justify the attacks and hate-speech on a minority.
[via The Asahi Shimbun]
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