THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
December 17, 2020 at 19:02 JST
The chairman of DHC Corp., a retailer of popular beauty and health products, with a history of discriminating against Koreans, has ignited a fresh controversy by posting a comment slandering ethnic Koreans on the company’s official website.
Yoshiaki Yoshida used a racial slur to describe Koreans in the post issued under his title to claim DHC's supplements are superior to those by rival companies.
In doing so, he mentioned Suntory Ltd. and used a derogative nickname for the company that racists have used online to bash it for often using ethnic Koreans in its commercials.
“DHC is an authentic Japanese company, starting with the personalities used” for its ads, he also wrote.
The message, uploaded as a PDF, was dated “November 2020,” but did not attract widespread attention until Dec. 16, when a Twitter user picked it up and posted it, leading it to go viral.
DHC, based in Tokyo, declined to answer questions over why it had posted the message on its official website.
“We have nothing particular to say,” a DHC representative said.
A Suntory public relations official said the company would refrain from commenting on the content of other companies' websites.
“Suntory set a policy to hold human rights in high esteem and is aware of the importance of respecting human rights,” the official said, adding that the company did not plan to file a protest with DHC.
Yoshida caused a scandal four years ago by issuing a “chairman’s message” in the company profile section of DHC's website, saying, “fake Japanese are not needed,” in reference to ethnic Koreans who acquired Japanese citizenship.
In 2019, DHC Television Co., a DHC subsidiary, streamed an online program that vilified South Korea, touching off a boycott of its products there.
DHC’s South Korean arm, DHC Korea Inc., was forced to release a statement apologizing for the program.
Columnist Takashi Odajima said there is currently an atmosphere in Japanese society that tolerates “flagrant discrimination.”
“An increasing number of people have come to believe that you can say whatever you want as long as you do so with your own money,” he said.
(This article was written by Momoko Ikegami and Mikiharu Sugiura.)
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