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Things that are Allowed in Japan but not the US Part 5: Racial and Gender Discrimination

by Ewa Nowogorski

 Racial discrimination is understandably more common in the United States than it is in Japan, and gender discrimination is probably greater in Japan than it is in the United States, but the US has laws that protect people from these kinds of discrimination, wheras Japan has no such laws.

It can’t be denied that there are ways to work around the laws in the US, but foreigners and non-white people still have it good compared to foreigners in Japan. A foreigner in America will never be denied from renting an apartment due solely to their race, but the same cannot be said in Japa. In 2020, Almost 40 percent of foreign residents who sought housing in Japan had applications turned down and almost a quarter were denied jobs in the past five years, a survey showed on Friday, highlighting discrimination in a largely homogeneous society.There was even a case of a Japan born and raised woman with ethnically Korean parents who was denied housing by a landlord simply because she was considered a foreigner.

The same situation can be seen in the work scene as well. Foreigners may be denied jobs because of their nationality, regardless of their qualifications or Japanese language ability. They usually get lower pay than their Japanese counterparts when they do get the job, and sometimes the working conditions are worse for them, with longer work hours and fewer days off. There are even some shops, such as bars and restaurants that ban foreigners from entering, with a handful of those posting signs outside their storefront saying something along the lines of “No foreigners allowed”. If this happened in the US, there would be protests against that shop and it would be audited by a government body very quickly. No one would sit and let such a practice happen.

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