Photo/IllutrationThe Yasuda Auditorium at the Hongo campus of the University of Tokyo (Fumio Masutani)

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The University of Tokyo on Jan. 15 fired an associate professor who posted racist tweets and claimed the prestigious university was under the control of the Chinese Communist Party.

The university, known simply as Todai, said Shohei Osawa had been dismissed effective Jan. 15 as an associate professor of its Graduate School of Interdisciplinary Information Studies.

Osawa, who also heads Daisy Co., an artificial-intelligence company, tweeted the same day that the university’s measure was inappropriate.

He first generated criticism when he posted tweets in November that were discriminatory toward Chinese people.

One tweet said, “Daisy will never hire any Chinese.”

Another read: “In the first place, we would not even interview anyone we knew was Chinese. They would be dropped based on the documents they submitted.”

The University of Tokyo established a committee to look into the matter the same month, but university officials said Osawa refused to cooperate in the questioning.

He did tweet in December an apology for causing trouble to many people. However, he said his earlier tweets were the result of “excessive learning brought about by over-compatibility of artificial learning on limited data.”

University officials said Osawa’s initial racist tweets were not the only reason for his firing. They said that in December, he posted tweets that took direct aim at the university.

One tweet said the university favored leftists and that it “should not become a Communist, anti-Japanese university.”

Another said the university was dominated by the Chinese Communist Party, “which infiltrated through the Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia” affiliated with the university.

Osawa also tweeted, “It is not an exaggeration to say the university is being infiltrated by Chinese spies.”

He named several current and former professors, saying they should be purged from the university “to purify the institution.”

University officials said Osawa’s words damaged the trust and honor of the university.

“Such actions are unforgivable for any professor of this university,” Todai said in a statement released on Jan. 15. “We will push ahead in the future to create an environment in which individuals can be active here without facing any form of discrimination based on personal characteristics such as citizenship and race.”

(This article was written by Azusa Mishima, Takuro Negishi and Tomoko Yamashita.)