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UN official highlights racism in Japan
(China Daily)
Updated: 2005-07-12 05:44

Other minority groups include the Ainu, indigenous to northern Japan, and burakumin, who are racially and culturally indistinguishable from other Japanese but have for centuries been subject to discrimination in jobs and marriage.

More recently, there has been a slow but steady influx of immigrants from a wide range of nations, some of whom have also faced discrimination in areas such as housing.

Japan has also been criticized by human rights groups for its restrictive attitude towards refugees, few of whom are granted refugee status by authorities.

Diene said Japan had been co-operative with his mission but he had not met any cabinet ministers.

"At the political level, certainly there is need for strong recognition of the reality of discrimination," he said. "Second, (there is need for) the expression of a political will to combat it."

He also said he was discouraged by the general exclusion of the nation-building contributions of minorities in textbooks.

Diene said his final report will likely recommend Japan enact a national law condemning discrimination, legislation which it now lacks, and increased consultation between officials and minority groups to identify and ease discrimination problems.

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