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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 July 8 - 14  > Education Minister downplays history of discrimination against Ainu
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2020 July 8 - 14 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Education Minister downplays history of discrimination against Ainu

July 14, 2020

Education and Culture Minister Hagiuda Koichi has glossed over the history of discrimination against Ainu by stating that past discriminatory treatment to indigenous Ainu people was caused by "differences in values" with the Japanese pioneers.

He made this remark at a news conference held on July 10 when speaking about the opening (Jul.12) of the National Ainu Museum and Park in Shiraoi Town in Hokkaido as a symbolic space for ethnic harmony "UPOPOY".

Hagiuda said, "I think there had been differences in values between the indigenous people and the Japanese pioneers. I wonder if it's good to lump it into the category of 'discrimination' in terms of passing on Ainu culture to future generations."

The Ainu people and their dignity have a history of being discriminated and robbed by such means as land grabs and the assimilation policy. The government admits to this fact, and the new Ainu legislation stipulates the Ainu as an "indigenous people".

The controversial remark made by the sitting minister contradicts the principle of the new law, putting on display the very nature of the Abe government which runs counter to international covenants on human rights and the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Past related article:
> Aso under fire for ‘Japan has been single-ethnic for 2K years’ remark [January 16, 2020]
> Government should apologize for its horrendous Ainu policies: JCP Shiokawa [April 11, 2019]

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