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Kansai TV criticized for broadcasting discriminatory comments against S. Koreans

OSAKA -- Kansai Television Co. is facing criticism on Twitter and other social media for having aired possible hate speech during a talk show, in which a writer described South Koreans as being "like ugly women who cut their wrists."

The fact that producers did not edit or cut out a statement that could fuel ethnic discrimination and prejudice against women from the program "Mune Ippai Summit!" that was aired on May 18, is likely to cause wide repercussions amid a strong requirement for the entire television industry to ensure human rights.

Writer Shimako Iwai was asked by emcee Ringo, a member of the comedy duo "High Heel," if she understands the nature of South Korean people well because her husband is from South Korea.

Iwai replied, "I've already mentioned this, but apart from anything else, they are like ugly women who cut their wrists." She added, "If you consider them as ugly women who cut their wrists, you can get through almost anything." Her comment caused laughter among others appearing on the same show.

The program that first aired in January 1994 was originally named "Takajin Mune Ippai" after the late Japanese singer and television personality Takajin Yashiki. It was renamed in April 2015 and is currently being aired in places including the Kinki and Chukyo regions in western and central Japan, respectively, from noon every Saturday.

In its May 18 broadcast, Japanese businesswoman and television personality Dewi Sukarno and other guests discussed South Korean National Assembly Speaker Moon Hee-sang, who said in February that an apology from then Emperor Akihito would settle a dispute over former "comfort women" compelled to work in Japan's wartime military brothels, but sent a telegram in May congratulating Emperor Naruhito's ascension to the throne.

In a similar case, the Broadcasting Ethics & Program Improvement Organization (BPO) committee accused Tokyo Metropolitan Television Broadcasting Corp. of defaming anti-base protesters in Japan's southernmost prefecture of Okinawa by spreading unproven facts on the news-entertainment show "News Joshi" that was aired on Jan. 2, 2017.

Furthermore, Yomiuri Telecasting Corp. officials apologized on May 13 for having aired a segment in which a citizen was repeatedly asked to identify their gender on May 10, during a news program called "Kansai Joho Net Ten." The broadcaster had reported the verification results of the content that had come under fire on May 15.

Kansai TV told the Mainichi Shimbun, "Due to the sudden request for an interview, we cannot get confirmation from the person in charge."

(Japanese original by Toko Kurata and Muru Yamada, Osaka Cultural News Department)

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