Japan Recognizes Discrimination Against Ainu

The Japanese parliament finally got around to acknowledging the ongoing discrimination in their country against its original inhabitants– the Ainu. A resolution passed by parliament recognized the Ainu have their own language and language and will now be recognized as being in the category of an indigenous people. The resolution states: “As the Government, we ned to again solemnly accept the historical fact that in the process of our country modernizing, many Ainu were discriminated against and forced to live in poverty despite the fact they were equal citizens under the law.”

Passage of the resolution is an important first step in redressing an historical tragedy, but many questions still remain regarding issues of compensation or some form of affirmative action. Tadashi Kato of the Hokaido Ainu Association put in succinctly when he commented: “It seems like japan has finally entered the century of human rights.”