Is Japan Safe for Foreigners?

It was not the first time when I heard a hate speech in front of the south exit of JR Moto-Yawata station yesterday. I had paid attention in the past too to such venomous talk against foreigners belonging to certain countries. A man cladded in black dress standing in front of a black colored vagon holding a microphone in his hand was the source of the xenophobic talk in Moto Yawata station.

On the way from Sakura, Chiba prefecture, I was reading an article in the online edition of ‘Japan Today’ that boasted the efforts of Japanese authorities to show the measures they have taken to convince foreigners about the safety in Japan. Yes, Japan is safe for foreigners compared to many other countries. I have hundreds of personal experiences in the past eight years to prove beyond doubt that Japan is safe in many ways, not only for locals but for foreigners too.

I slowed down to understand more about the reasons of his talk. He was talking about the claims made by China over the Senkaku islands and people from such countries enjoy their stay here….and he was getting more fire in him as he proceeded. People going out of the station seldom paid attention to his speech. Nobody bothered to pause to hear him. He was full of pride in the past glory of the Japan and expressed his anxiety and concerns over the lost sovereign authority. It seemed to me that the things he uttered would not do any good to Japan. He was just polluting the air.

The Japanese government has also been monitoring the hate speech in the country and had released the results of the survey it conducted. The survey conducted for the first time in Japan analyzed the rallies held by the anti-foreign ultraconservative and nationalist groups in the period between April 2012 until September 2015. The authorities analyzed online videos recorded at the demonstrations, as well as other means, including collecting information on calls for gatherings from websites of xenophobic groups.

Leading Newspapers in Japan carried the survey results that shows violent slogans such as “Get the hell out of Japan” etc, were repeated frequently. Majority of those rallies were held to protest against certain political issues. Some of those issues included the abduction of Japanese nationals by North Korea and territorial disputes with China and Korea. Two Koreas and China were the main target for the verbal abuse by xenophobic groups.

Yes, it is a fact that incidents such as the one I came across at the south exit of Moto-Yawata station happens here but Japan remains a safe haven for foreigners. Unlike in other countries, such hate speeches rarely takes violent aggressive forms here. Xenophobic rallies are also becoming less common in Japan. So, the conclusion is: Japan is Safe for foreigners and the local people are friendly and helpful to foreigners.

Author: Jayaprakash

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