Ultranationalist ‘citizens groups’ on the march

“Get out of Japan!”



Those were just some of the insults hurled at a demonstration on Feb. 21 in Tokyo’s Minato Ward.

More than 100 protesters belonging to several groups describing themselves as “active conservatives” gathered in front of a building that houses both the consular affairs department of the South Korean Embassy and the offices of the Korean Residents Union in Japan (Mindan).

Other flags and signs carried angry messages, such as “Expel foreigners,” and slogans equating Korean nationals living in Japan to criminals. Some of the words used could not be printed in a newspaper.

The protesters’ anger seemed to be targeted at a wide range of institutions including the ruling Democratic Party of Japan, China and North Korea. Reporters covering the demonstration were also yelled at.

The group eventually moved on to the Australian Embassy, where they yelled, “We will start a war with white people who insult Japan (over the whaling issue).”

At the same time as the Minato Ward protest, demonstrations were held in Nagoya and Fukuoka protesting plans to give foreign permanent residents the right to vote in local elections.

The Kyoto bar association issued a statement criticizing the group’s actions as “going beyond criticism of the use of the park to being a hate campaign to encourage discrimination.” On March 24, the Kyoto District Court issued a temporary order banning further demonstrations.