JAPAN: 'Racist' magazine pulled off shelves after complaints
FamilyMart Co withdraws copies of Secret Foreigner Crime Files after sparking criticism on Internet forums, blogs
Thursday, February 8, 2007
Tokyo --- Japan's third-largest convenience store chain yesterday pulled a magazine on crimes committed by foreigners from its shelves, citing the publication's "inappropriate racial expressions."
FamilyMart Co withdrew copies of Gaijin Hanzai Ura Fairu (Secret Foreigner Crime Files) after receiving at least 10 complaints from customers since Saturday, spokesman Takehiko Kigure said yesterday.
About 1,000 copies of the magazine, which costs 690 yen (S$8.80), had been sold by the company's 7,500 stores in Japan by the time the publication was removed.
"We decided to remove it from our shelves because inappropriate racial expressions were found in the magazine," Mr Kigure said.
Crimes committed by foreigners in Japan are often cited by right-wing groups and politicians to justify demands for tighter immigration policies.
Others like Mr Hidenori Sakanaka, the former head of the Tokyo Immigration Bureau, say Japan needs to encourage more immigrants to compensate for a decline in its population if it wants to maintain its economic power.
Japan's crime rate is one of the world's lowest. According to the latest government statistics, there were 1,776 reported crimes per 100,000 people in 2005. Offences by foreigners rose to record 47,865 that year from 47,128 in 2004, police statistics show.
The magazine, published on Jan 31 by Tokyo-based Eichi Publishing, contains images and descriptions of what the magazine says are crimes committed in Japan by non-Japanese, including graphs breaking down crimes by nationality.
Its cover, in red and black, shows caricatured images of foreigners grinning maniacally with glowing red eyes under its banner headline.
The magazine sparked anger on Japanese blogs and other Internet forums.
Debito Arudou, a naturalised Japanese citizen and author of Japanese Only blog, posted a bilingual letter for readers to take to FamilyMart stores to protest against "discriminatory statements and images about non-Japanese residents of Japan."
Another blog, Japan Probe, asked readers to check that FamilyMart is complying with its pledge to remove the publication.
Date Posted: 2/8/2007