Racism and discrimination remain common in Japan according to UN envoy

Racism and discrimination remain common in Japan, a United Nations envoy warned on Wednesday, urging greater efforts to protect the rights of foreign minorities.

Jorge Bustamante, UN special rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, issued the warning after interviewing government ministers and officials, migrants, lawyers, teachers, academics and civil society activists.

Problem areas included immigrant detention centres, work programmes that exploit foreign industrial trainees, and a lack of educational services for many migrant children, Bustamante said.

“Based on information provided by civil society … (Japan) is still facing a range of challenges, including racism and discrimination,” he said after a nine-day visit to Tokyo, Toyota City, Nagoya and Hamamatsu.

Bustamante also visited the East Japan Detention Centre near Tokyo and schools for foreign children, and interviewed Chinese, South Korean, Brazilian, Peruvian and Philippine migrants.

“Racism and discrimination based on nationality are still too common in Japan, including in the workplace, in schools, in health care establishments and housing,” he said.

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