Japanese health officials withdraw advisory to not ‘eat with foreigners’ due to Covid-19 amid backlash
The guidance, which warned farmers against eating with foreigners, was circulated by the Itako Health Center earlier this week, NHK reported. The advisory was reportedly received by local agricultural cooperatives (JAs) as well as city authorities in Ibaraki Prefecture, which fall under the center’s jurisdiction.
“If you talk to a foreigner, wear a mask. As well, please do not eat with them,” the document reportedly read. The center appeared to suggest that foreigners are one of the primary sources of coronavirus infections in the area.Also on rt.com IOC affirms that 2020 Olympic Games will proceed as planned despite negative polls ‘even if Tokyo remains in a state of emergency’
“There are many patients with the novel coronavirus suspected of being infected by foreigners,” the document warned.
The peculiar advisory was short-lived, however. On Friday, it was pulled, with local health officials saying the contents were inappropriate. Apologizing for the blunder, the health center said it did not intend to “discriminate against foreigners.”
“We are sorry if any of the expressions were misleading,” the center said, as cited by Tokyo Reporter.
The apology did not placate online observers, who accused the health officials of racism and xenophobia.
"Don't eat with foreigners". Wow, excellent pandemic advice. Good job, Ibaraki prefecture. Not racist at all, right? https://t.co/8ManJ1NJsT— KuroPixel (@kuropixel) May 22, 2021
Most of the time, I love living in #Japan. Some other times (or when magical thinking meets #racism and #xenophobia).FYI: foreigners have been pretty much barred from entering the country for more than a year now. https://t.co/HO2aleBkCM— DavidB (@DavidBHimself) May 22, 2021
Awful racial discrimination. Ibaraki Health Center recommended not to eat with foreigners and take extra precautions associating non Japanese to pandemic. The original wording in Japanese as read in TV is horrifying. https://t.co/lacSZDIlub— Piero Carninci (@carninci) May 22, 2021
Ibaraki, located northeast of Tokyo, is the third largest producer of agricultural products in Japan and boasts the largest percentage of farmland among all regions.
The prefecture has reported 9,299 cases of the virus, including 140 deaths as of Friday.
Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!