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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 April 10 - 16  > Government should apologize for its horrendous Ainu policies: JCP Shiokawa
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2019 April 10 - 16 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Government should apologize for its horrendous Ainu policies: JCP Shiokawa

April 11, 2019
Japanese Communist Party member of the House of Representatives Shiokawa Tetsuya on April 10 at a House committee meeting demanded that the government take seriously Ainu people’s call for state apologies and remorse for its policies pertaining to Ainu.

The JCP lawmaker made this remark in discussions on a government-draft bill regarding new legislation pertaining to Ainu which for the first time recognizes the Ainu people as an “indigenous” people.

At the meeting of the Lower House Committee on Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism, Shiokawa pointed out that after nearly a century of discriminatory government policies, Ainu people have been stripped of their language and culture and subjected to severe discrimination. He added that the government needs to fulfill its responsibility to make this Ainu experience of social injustice understood by the general public.

Furthermore, Shiokawa cited the fact that many Ainu elderly people are struggling to survive on insufficient pension benefits, and said that the government should examine this situation and drastically improve measures to support Ainu elderly’s livelihoods.

In response, Land and Infrastructure Minister Ishii Keiichi said that he will take into consideration the claim that the government’s past assimilation policy brought about discrimination against and an increase in poverty among the Ainu.

Shiokawa introduced Ainu criticisms against the bill claiming that Ainu were given little opportunity to get their voices heard in the process of drafting the bill and that the proposed bill fails to reflect Ainu people’s diverse opinions. The JCP lawmaker said that the government should accept these criticisms in a sincere manner.

The bill to create a new Ainu law was approved by majority vote at the meeting.

Past related article:
> JCP discusses government-proposed legislation with Ainu [March 6, 2019]
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