2024年1月30日火曜日

THREE FOREIGN-BORN RESIDENTS SUE OVER RACIAL PROFILING BY JAPANESE POLICE - JAPAN

THREE FOREIGN-BORN RESIDENTS SUE OVER RACIAL PROFILING BY JAPANESE POLICE - JAPAN

@Jackie San


Racial profiling by police is an "everyday occurrence" in Japan, one of three foreign-born residents who sued the government over the issue on Monday said.


In the first lawsuit of its kind, the three men accused the police of having repeatedly questioned them because of their ethnicity or appearance.


They are each seeking 3.3 million yen in compensation.


"A lot of apathy here has allowed people like me to be abused and mistreated," one of the plaintiffs, an African American in his 40s who gave his name as Maurice S, told reporters.


"This is an everyday occurrence," he said. "We have to do something to prevent that for the future generations."


Despite rising immigration, foreign-born residents account for only 2.3 percent of Japan's population, one of the lowest shares in the OECD.


Maurice, who lives with family members who are Japanese citizens, said he has been questioned 16 or 17 times by police during his decade in Japan.


Officers "know that they can waste my time", he said.


Japan's National Police Agency (NPA) could not immediately comment on the case.


Another of the plaintiffs, a Pacific islander in his 50s called Matthew who is a permanent resident of Japan, has been questioned about 100 times, according to his lawyers.


Matthew said these experiences had caused him to withdraw socially.


"Every time I finish work, I'm hiding in my house... because I don't want to face another police (encounter)," he said outside the Tokyo District Court.


The third plaintiff, a man born in Pakistan who has been a Japanese citizen since the age of 13, said he has been questioned more than a dozen times, including once in front of his house.


Although lawsuits have been filed in the past about excessive questioning by police, this is the first one regarding racial profiling during questioning, lawyers for the three men said.


In 2021, the NPA spotted "six inappropriate cases of police questioning even though officers had no intention of discrimination based on race or nationality," a senior agency official told parliament in 2022.


The NPA continues to educate officers to respect human rights, the official said at the time.


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