We gathered here at the 9th National Forum in Solidarity with Migrants in KOBE, 2013, with the aim to achieve a society, in which people with diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds respect each other’s differences, and in which cultural richness can develop through diversity. However, we see in many parts of Japan today an escalation of unbearably extreme speech and actions on the streets in full public view, which incite hatred against people of particular ethnicity or nationality, and which are in direct conflict with our ideals. We are deeply concerned and angered by the situation.
The increase in the migrant population since the 1980s and the effects of the campaign against “crimes committed by foreigners” which began in the 1990s led to the spread of xenophobia against foreign nationals and people with foreign origins. Further, no steps were taken against the so-called “Sangoku-jin” remark (xenophobic hate speech against migrants/immigrants) by Mr. Ishihara, the former Governor of Tokyo, who has publicly professed his anti-Chinese sentiments, although the remark had been criticized for being unlawful both from within and outside the country. Consequently, we have seen an increase in people publicly engaging in hate speech in the society in general.
Historical revisionism and anti-Korean as well as anti-Chinese sentiments spread as the disputes with the neighboring countries involving understandings of history continued since the 2000s. Extreme right-wing organizations with the main purpose of exclusion of foreign nationals were created. And ultimately, in 2010, street demonstrations filled with hostility and hatred, with words such as “we will conduct a massacre,” “exterminate Koreans,“ and “kill both good and bad Koreans,” were held repeatedly in broad daylight in areas in which many Koreans live or have business operations.
We do not want Japan to become a society that does nothing against violent speech, which cause people serious pain and fear for their lives, or against public incitement for genocide or ethnocide. A society in which street demonstrations with shouts to “kill, kill” particular ethnic groups, increase and escalate, will be isolated and regarded as a danger in the international society.
We declare that will join hands and cooperate with a broad spectrum of like-minded people to engage in the following issues, to stem without delay the spread of hostility and hatred.
(1) Call for an adoption of a resolution in the Diet, stating that hate speech, which incites hostility against people of particular ethnicity, nationality or social class, or violent or threatening / intimidating speech which warns or promotes murder or exclusion, is an impermissible violation of human rights.
(2) Call for the withdrawal of the reservation attached to the provisions in the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and for the swift legislation in the Diet and the implementation of a legal system of elimination of racial discrimination including the elimination of hate speech and remedies for victims.
(3) Stop politicians, who engage in spreading ideas of racial superiority or hatred, or who incite racial discrimination, from being elected to the Diet or local assemblies.
16 June, 2013
Adopted by the Participants of the 9th National Forum in Solidarity with
Migrants in KOBE