Naha Mayor denounces hate speech in Japan

October 10, 2013 Ryukyu Shimpo

Naha Mayor Takeshi Onaga held a regular press conference on October 9. In response to a question about the Kyoto District Court banning hate speech around a school for ethnic Koreans, Onaga said, “I am anxious about what is going on in Japan.”

Onaga visited Tokyo this January to take part in the protest parade demanding that the U.S. and Japanese governments cancel the deployment of the Osprey to Okinawa. Some of the people who waved Japanese flags hurled abuse at those in the parade, saying, “Get out Ryukyuans! Chinese spies! Onaga, come and show yourself!” Onaga said, “Japanese people need to be careful in considering the dignity of Japan.”

When Onaga and other protesters were exposed to hate speech, people walking past just ignored it, and went about their business, which surprised Onaga. He said, “I felt uncomfortable about seeing such abnormal behavior within such a normal setting.”

Some groups criticize Onaga and the Okinawa media through sound trucks moving around the Naha City Office.

Onaga said, “The noise doesn’t particularly concern me, but I do feel sorry for local residents. We should consider why such hate speech has gone as far as it has.”

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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