IBARAKI (TR) – A health center in Itako City this week retracted an “inappropriate” advisory that stated foreigners are the source of an increase in novel coronavirus infections, reports NHK (May 22).
On May 19 and 20, the Itako Health Center distributed the notice by email to agricultural cooperatives and city halls within its jurisdiction.
The document stated, “There are many coronavirus patients likely infected by foreigners.”
It advised, “If you talk to a foreigner, wear a mask. As well, please do not eat with them.”
On May 21, the health center and the Ibaraki Prefectural Infectious Disease Control Division retracted the document. “The document’s content was inappropriate,” they said.
“Though we had no intention of discriminating against foreigners,” the Itako Health Center told NHK, “we are sorry if any of the expressions were misleading.”
Shohei Sugita, a lawyer who supports the rights of foreigners, points out that Article 14 out the Constitution does not permit such distinction based on nationality since it leads to discrimination.
“Distinguishing between Japanese and foreigners may give the impression that infections are spreading only due to foreigners, which is very disappointing,” said Sugita.