U.S. Embassy Warns of Suspected Racial Profiling by Japanese Police

The US Embassy in Tokyo issued a warning Monday about foreign residents arrested and searched by Japanese police in what it called “incidents of racial profiling.”

The unusual move by the embassy of Tokyo’s only official ally came after Japan closed its borders to new entries from foreigners amid concerns over the omicron variant, just weeks after a cautious reopening began. . The shutdown was supported by nearly 90% of those polled in a media poll over the weekend.

The alert posted to the American Citizen Services section of the embassy’s Twitter account warned that U.S. citizens should carry proof of their immigration status and notify their consulate if they are detained. The alert added that several foreigners “have been detained, questioned and searched”.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno dismissed the concerns and told a press briefing that police interrogations in the country were not based on nationality or race.

The number of foreign citizens living in Japan fell 2% to 2.8 million in June, from a year earlier, according to the Justice Department. US citizens made up less than 2% of the total, at nearly 54,000. Entry for foreign tourists, businessmen and students is currently prohibited under coronavirus restrictions, although foreigners with the status residents are currently authorized to re-enter.

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