TSU -- The Mie Prefectural Government has removed an illustration from its website containing statistics and educational information on the prevention of illegal employment and illegal stays by foreigners, after receiving complaints from outsiders that it promotes discrimination against foreigners, the Mainichi Shimbun learned on June 28.
The statistics and educational content, including the illustration, were prepared by Mie Prefectural Police. The illustration depicts three foreign nationals who either have no residency status or are falsely pretending to have a "cook" or "study abroad" visa status while working as construction workers or hostesses.
According to the prefectural police, the illustration was internally available and was used for public relations purposes.
When posts critical of the illustration spread on social media on June 26, comments such as "It's based on a discriminatory mindset against foreigners and is too much" and "I feel it's malicious" followed. On the other hand, some people said, "It's natural because they're criminals" and "It's not discrimination against foreigners."
The prefectural police concluded, "We used an easy-to-understand illustration assuming someone who violated the law, but if even one person feels uncomfortable, it was not appropriate." The prefectural government consequently removed the illustration on June 26.
Kyoko Wada, representative director of Iga no Tsutamaru, a nonprofit organization in the prefectural city of Iga that supports foreign residents, said, "Illicit employment and illegal stays are of course legal violations, but there are also people who overstay their visas for various reasons. It is hard to understand why this illustration was used, as it could lead to discrimination by generalizing the situation with a fear-inducing picture."
(Japanese original by Yuka Asahina, Tsu Bureau)