PDA

View Full Version : I was in Hiroshima, Japan and there was a sign on a restaurant door that said 'No Ame



lululemon
01-09-2014, 10:53 PM
I didn't want to go in, but I was disturbed by the sign. I know Japan has a civil-rights policy about 40 years behind the rest of the world, but is this actually legal?

JR*
01-10-2014, 07:53 AM
Legal ? Well, probably not. Japan is party to the (UN) International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), Article 5 of which, among other things, requires party states to guarantee the right of everyone to equality before the law regardless of race, colour or national or ethnic origin, including the right of access to any place of service used by the general public, "such as transport, hotels, restaurants, cafés, theatres and parks". As far as I know, Japan has placed no reservation on its adherence to this Article, nor to the dispute resolution mechanism provided for in the Treaty. Furthermore, Article 14 of the Japanese Constitution guarantees that all "people" (some dispute as to whether "citizens" is a better translation, but international law and general principles of constitutional law would argue that all people should be included in this guarantee) are equal under the law, and that they cannot be discriminated against politically, economically or socially on the basis of race, belief, gender or social or other background. So far so good.

Two big problems, however. First, Japan has failed to back up these general statements of national and international law with national (parliamentary) legislation giving legal expression to them in domestic law, as well as the "teeth" of effective sanction where these rights are denied. Secondly, there appears to be a profound problem of xenophobia and racial discrimination in Japan deriving, it would appear, from a widely held perception among the Japanese that the participation of foreigners at least in certain aspects of Japanese society is inappropriate and - arguably - from the afterglow of the myth of Japanese racial superiority promoted by the pre-1945 military regime (perhaps even earlier, by the Shogunate). There have been some signs recently that this situation is beginning at least to be questioned by elements of the Japanese establishment; hardly surprising, when Japan has long have to do money business with the "gaijin" on a huge scale. Nonetheless, there is considerable anecdotal evidence of discrimination against foreigners, including Americans and Europeans, attempting to access particular services, and the attitudes behind this remain very common in the native Japanese population.

Hopefully, this environment of culturally-based racism and xenophobia will change over the coming years. But, at the present time, your experience seems deeply unfortunate and hurtful, but not really surprising. Best regards, JR (BL, LlM).

leccy
01-10-2014, 09:13 AM
Without a context it could be difficult to know why since it just said 'No Ame'

To explain what I mean

While serving in Germany as a Brit Squaddie - bars, clubs and restaurants would have signs outside at times saying 'No British' - this was generally because the place had been placed out of bounds by the Military Police or the establishment had had enough of boisterous soldiers or people doing a runner without paying.

Banning just soldiers was pointless as we would say we were on holiday (Hameln was quite touristy at the time) so all Brits were banned.

muscogeemike
01-10-2014, 03:15 PM
I was part of a small US Army contingent stationed in Yokohama in 1970-71. From where we were quartered we rode a small bus to work (about 20 miles away) and on the anniversary of the first A-Bomb some of us put a banner celebrating the event on the side of the bus!

It caused, literally, an international event!

Looking back I can see it was not a good idea but we were young and stupid.

I was also stationed in Korea twice and definitely remember many area’s of Korean Cities, Towns and Villages that were “off limits” to us.

Rising Sun*
01-11-2014, 06:47 AM
I didn't want to go in, but I was disturbed by the sign. I know Japan has a civil-rights policy about 40 years behind the rest of the world, but is this actually legal?

Why would you be disturbed by a sign that doesn't mean anything in English, and more so is in Japan where the phrase "No Ame" appears to have various meanings https://www.google.com.au/search?q=No+Ame&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&gfe_rd=cr&ei=mC3RUserKqmN8Qfb0IDwAQ#q=%22No+Ame%22+japan&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official , none of which justify you feeling that you're the target of it?

Rising Sun*
01-11-2014, 07:06 AM
I know Japan has a civil-rights policy about 40 years behind the rest of the world, but is this actually legal?

Where, apart from spectacular over-sensitivity on your part where you somehow managed to interpret "Ame" as being directed at you when it was written in but means nothing in English, is there any evidence that there is anything wrong with the sign under the law of any country?

Establish the facts before you start asking for legal opinion. In this case, the facts don't exist.

As for Japan's civil rights policy being about 40 years behind the rest of the world, are you referring to most of Africa, South East Asia, Oceania, South America, Russia, Central Asia, China, India, the Middle East and sundry other parts of the planet as being the world leaders in civil rights policy, and conduct? Because Japan would have to drop its standards and conduct a lot to correspond with the standards in a lot of those countries.

forager
01-12-2014, 03:15 AM
Very possible they did not want American GIs.
In groups, allowed out in public, a bunch of GIs can be the foulest most offensive bunch of people you ever saw.

I was a "troop" for several years, during a time when we were not so popular. Seen it all.
If you are going to be a A-hole in public, expect to be considered an A-hole even if it was somebody else.
As a restraunt or club operator I would reserve the right to serve whomever I dam well pleased-or not.

muscogeemike
01-12-2014, 01:26 PM
Very possible they did not want American GIs.
In groups, allowed out in public, a bunch of GIs can be the foulest most offensive bunch of people you ever saw.

I was a "troop" for several years, during a time when we were not so popular. Seen it all.
If you are going to be a A-hole in public, expect to be considered an A-hole even if it was somebody else.
As a restraunt or club operator I would reserve the right to serve whomever I dam well pleased-or not.

There are very few "GI"'s still in Japan, far more Navy and Air Force personnel and not that many of them.

Nickdfresh
01-12-2014, 05:50 PM
Yeah, I would think they're largely confined to some of the main bases on Japan's island hinterlands...