By TOMOKO YAMASHITA/ Staff Writer
February 18, 2020 at 17:40 JST
The Tokyo University of Foreign Studies has apologized for a survey it conducted on the “perception of Japaneseness” that was lambasted online as being discriminatory.
The survey, carried out in early February on social media and other means, named professional sports athletes, followed by yes or no questions, such as “Do you see those who look like foreigners as Japanese?” “Do you regard a child born between Japanese and Korean residents in Japan as Japanese?” and “Do you feel uncomfortable calling those who are not purely Japanese ‘mixed Japanese’?
University President Kayoko Hayashi formally apologized on Feb. 14 for the language in the survey in a statement posted on the university's website, calling the questions and methodology “extremely inappropriate.”
The university's School of International and Area Studies seminar conducted the survey to gather information for an event it was holding on issues that people with foreign roots are facing in Japanese society.
The event was held Feb. 11 in Tokyo.
But the questions quickly provoked a backlash, with internet users and others criticizing the survey, calling it “discriminatory” and “insensitive” toward people with foreign roots living in Japan.
The university is considering disciplining the professor at its graduate school in charge of the seminar who specializes in peace building after the university's review board examines the survey.
“Some questions in the survey could promote discrimination,” a university staff member said. “We want to take measures to prevent a recurrence of something like this.”
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