YOKOHAMA -- Several restaurants in this city's Chinatown south of Tokyo have received letters containing hateful messages against Chinese people amid continuing coronavirus fears in Japan.
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"Chinese people are garbage! Bacteria! Evil! Troublesome! Get out of Japan now!!" one of the letters, sent to an established Cantonese restaurant in Yokohama's Naka Ward on March 3, reads. Letters with similar content were also received by some other restaurants in the area, according to the city and other sources.
"They are hate speech. It saddens me so much when I think of people working at the restaurants," said Yokohama Mayor Fumiko Hayashi at a regular press conference on March 5. "We will respond to the matter in conjunction with related organizations," she said.
The Yokohama Chinatown Development Association, to which many restaurants and other establishments in the area belong, has consulted with Kanagawa Prefectural Police over the written attacks. Officials from the Yokohama Municipal Government's human rights department also visited the association on March 5 to ask about the details of the incidents.
The city government posted messages on its website calling on people not to let misinformation and mistaken perceptions lead them into committing human rights violations.
"People in Chinatown, who have supported this city's development over many years, have been suffering great pains over matters related to the new coronavirus. I'm utterly infuriated by the fact that these letters were sent to them," Hayashi told reporters.
(Japanese original by Junya Higuchi, Yokohama Bureau)