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Discrimination at restaurant

Date Posted: 2001-05-25

Does anyone recall the foreigner in mainland Japan (about 1-2 years ago) who was denied entrance to a Japanese establishment? The person pursued a lawsuit through the Japanese legal system and won the case.

Despite what some may think, denying a person access to a public establishment without cause is illegal here in Japan. Two weeks ago, I had the privilege of going to Viking Rio, an all-you-can eat restaurant, in Naha with several Okinawan citizens. It was the first time I'd been there and went based on my wife's recommendation. The food was wonderful and the atmosphere was great. So much so that on Saturday, May 19, I wanted to take my American friends there, who accidentally are also married to Okinawans.

When my wife called and asked for reservations, the clerk refused to accept us because we were foreigners. My wife asked why and was told that her request was denied, end of conversation, and she hung up on her! This pains me greatly because I've spent over eight years on this island, and have nothing but good things to say about it. This kind of prejudice is unacceptable and to my understanding is illegal in Japan. Am I alone in my thoughts?

To the people of Rio, I'll be pursuing further the rights of foreigners in Okinawa, and their right to gain access to a public establishment. I understand that access may be denied based on my behavior, but that certainly is not the case in my situation.

Any ideas anyone?
Sincerely,
A concerned foreigner

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