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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 June 3 - 9  > Demonstrators in Tokyo and Osaka: Discrimination can happen to us, too
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2020 June 3 - 9 TOP3 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Demonstrators in Tokyo and Osaka: Discrimination can happen to us, too

June 7 & 8, 2020

In response to the "Black Lives Matter" movement spreading from the United States to the rest of the world, anti-racism demonstrations took place in Tokyo and Osaka.

On June 7, the chant "Black Lives Matter" echoed throughout downtown Osaka City. The rally was called for on social media by a group of black women living in Osaka.

Finding the event on the Internet, people of various nations assembled a square near the Osaka City Hall. Protestors carried signs which read, "Against Racism", "Silence is a Crime", and "Justice for All" while marching in demonstration through downtown Osaka.

They prayed in silence for 8 minutes and 46 seconds to remember the unarmed African American man who was killed in police custody. An organizer in her 30s said, "We must say no to racism. Unless we continually say no, discrimination will not disappear. Can you keep saying no?" Clapping and shouting rose from protesters in response to her challenge. Each time a crowd of demonstrators arrived at the endpoint, the others welcomed them with cheers and applause to promote solidarity.

In Tokyo's Shibuya District on June 6, many people holding up placards reading, "No Justice, No Peace," demonstrated together. Participation by young generations and by people from various countries stood out.

A 34-year-old man said, "I think racism is not someone else's problem as hate speech against Korean residents is a serious problem in Japan, and so I came here." Hirano Taichi who called for protests said that learning from his friend in the United States about the history of discrimination against African Americans, he came to feel that he had to raise his own voice in protest.

On June 5 near Tokyo Station, a silent standing protest took place by a citizens' volunteer group against hate speech.

A group member said that she wants to express her solidarity with the U.S. movement and that structural discrimination also exists in Japan. She added, "I want to act to share the message with many people that 'all forms of discrimination are unacceptable."
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