Protests in Osaka call for withdrawal of Osaka police from Okinawa after “dojin” remark

Protests in Osaka call for withdrawal of Osaka police from Okinawa after “dojin” remark

Citizens protest an Osaka Prefectural Police Department officer’s “dojin” remark on October 24 in front of the Okinawa Prefectural Police Department headquarters (photograph provided by a reader)

October 25, 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo

On October 24, a total of around 150 citizens, labor union members and others, both local and from outside Osaka Prefecture, visited the Osaka Prefectural Office and the Osaka Prefectural Police Department headquarters (see photograph) to protest recent events surrounding a Prefectural Police officer and the governor of Osaka. The officer, a member of a riot squad dispatched from the Osaka Prefectural Police Department to patrol the scene of protests against the construction of helipads in the U.S. military’s Northern Training Area in the northern part of Okinawa Island, referred to protesters as “dojin,” a derogatory term for “aboriginal,” and Osaka Governor Ichiro Matsui made comments allegedly defending the officer’s remarks. According to one of the protesters, they are calling for an apology to the people of Okinawa, withdrawal of the Osaka Prefectural Police from Okinawa, and thorough re-education of the police officer in question.

Meanwhile, on October 21, the “Japan Mass Movement Osaka Action Committee,” a group made up of Osaka civil society groups, organized a protest in front of the Prefectural Office demanding that the governor retract his defense of the officer’s words, issue an apology, and step down as governor. Roughly 200 people joined the protest. A letter of protest addressed to Governor Matsui was also submitted to the Prefectural Office.

The Committee’s letter of protest was signed by 161 organizations based in Osaka. Committee director Yoshihito Suga said, “We acted because we as people of Osaka were ashamed [by the Governor’s comments]. Even the Prefectural Police Department announced that the officer’s remarks were inappropriate, but the governor defended them. Such perspective on human rights is not befitting of a governor.”

(English translation by T&CT and Sandi Aritza)

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