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HOME  > Past issues  > 2021 March 10 - 16  > Nippon TV's responsibility under question for airing discriminatory joke targeting Ainu
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2021 March 10 - 16 TOP3 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Nippon TV's responsibility under question for airing discriminatory joke targeting Ainu

March 14, 2021
Nippon TV aired an inappropriate expression hurting Japan's indigenous Ainu people during its infotainment morning show.

The slur in question was made when a documentary video of an Ainu woman was introduced. A comedian said, "Ah, inu (means a dog)", as a pun.

On the following day, Japanese Communist Party member of the House of Councilors Kami Tomoko visited the Raporo Ainu Nation, the former Urahoro Ainu Association, in Hokkaido's Urahoro Town and met with Sashima Masaki, honorary president of the Raporo Ainu Nation.

Sashima angrily said, "Though the comedian may just be ignorant, his joke is unacceptable."

Kami said, "He said that showing his ignorance, but it cannot be overlooked. I will demand an apology for and reflection on the history of discrimination against the Ainu and on the past government policy of forced assimilation." She also said that the JCP will demand that the government confront the broadcaster on this matter.

Nippon TV after the broadcast apologized for the comment by saying, "The person in charge of this program did not believe that that expression constitutes discrimination, and the content check before it was broadcast was insufficient."

The TV station places the blame on "the lack of knowledge of the person in charge". The TV station's inability to check for discriminatory remarks beforehand is being called into question.

Past related articles:
> Education Minister downplays history of discrimination against Ainu [July 14, 2020]
> Aso under fire for ‘Japan has been single-ethnic for 2K years’ remark [January 16, 2020]
> Diet adopts resolution calling for Ainu to be recognized as indigenous people [June 7, 2008]
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