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Group of lawyers, academics asks Japan's justice minister for action on hate crimes

Masao Niwa, co-leader of the Japan Network towards Human Rights Legislation for Non-Japanese Nationals & Ethnic Minorities, third from right, hands over a written request to Justice Minister Yoshihisa Furukawa, second from right, at the Ministry of Justice in Tokyo on April 28, 2022. Choi Kang-ija, director of the Kawasaki municipal Fureai-kan hall, is pictured second from left. The written request calls for the Japanese government to take measures against hate crimes. (Mainichi/Yoshiya Goto)

TOKYO -- A group of lawyers and researchers has submitted a request to Japan's justice minister calling for swift government action against hate crimes after a spate of cases across the country.

    Co-heads of the Japan Network towards Human Rights Legislation for Non-Japanese Nationals & Ethnic Minorities, whose members include nongovernmental organizations, visited the Ministry of Justice to hand over the written request to Justice Minister Yoshihisa Furukawa on April 28.

    Also in attendance were Choi Kang-ija, 48, director of the Kawasaki municipal multicultural educational facility Fureai-kan hall, and national lawmakers from ruling coalition junior partner Komeito. A third-generation Korean resident of Japan, Choi has been a victim of hate crimes.

    Furukawa stated, "Unjust discrimination and prejudice based on race, ethnicity, nationality or other reasons is simply impermissible. We should seek to achieve an inclusive society where people respect each other's differences and live by helping one another. I will take this request to heart."

    After the meeting, Choi told a press conference, "The justice minister told us that 'hate crime incidents are criminal offenses and must never be tolerated.' We wrapped up the meeting in the belief that the national government will demonstrate its stand that hate crimes cannot be permitted."

    (Japanese original by Yoshiya Goto, Photo Group)

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