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‘No Chinese allowed’: Japanese shop criticised for coronavirus sign

HAKONE (Japan) — The owner of a store in the Japanese mountain town of Hakone has been criticised for blocking Chinese people from entering his shop on the grounds they might be carrying the Wuhan coronavirus.

‘No Chinese allowed’: Japanese shop criticised for coronavirus sign

The owner of the confectionery store, who has not been identified, told the Asahi newspaper that he used a translation application to write the message in Chinese, adding, “I want to protect myself from the virus and I don’t want Chinese people to enter the store.”

HAKONE (Japan) — The owner of a store in the Japanese mountain town of Hakone has been criticised for blocking Chinese people from entering his shop on the grounds they might be carrying the Wuhan coronavirus.

“No Chinese are allowed to enter the store”, said a sign attached to the shop’s door. “I do not want to spread the virus.”

The owner of the confectionery store, who has not been identified, told the Asahi newspaper that he used a translation application to write the message in Chinese, adding, “I want to protect myself from the virus and I don’t want Chinese people to enter the store.”

Japanese health authorities have so far confirmed only one case of the virus, which is thought to have originated in Wuhan, China, but are stepping up precautions amid signs the disease is spreading. China has confirmed nine deaths and 440 infections from the virus.

Japan’s health ministry has instructed immigration and quarantine officials at air and sea ports to be on the alert for people showing signs of the virus and has put up posters in Japanese, Chinese and English urging travellers to contact medical institutions if they are experiencing symptoms.

Dr Shin Hae-bong, a professor of law at Aoyama Gakuen University, said the store owner was not breaking the law as there was no legislation in Japan that specifically made acts of discrimination illegal.

“This is obviously wrong, but the only thing that could be done would be for a suit to be filed as many Japanese courts have in recent years ruled against places that bar people based on their nationality,” she said.

“The courts have, in those cases, used the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination for the basis of their rulings.

“The shop owner could be told that if he is sued then he would probably have to pay compensation to his victims, but the problem is that tourists are unlikely to bring a lawsuit and the case would take three or four years to reach a conclusion,” she said.

A spokeswoman for the Hakone Tourist Information Centre was aware of the sign and apologised.

“There are already many Chinese tourists in Hakone and it’s a popular spot for them to visit because it can be reached in a day trip from Tokyo,” she said.

“But we have been made aware of this shop and the sign. It is only one shop, but still we are very sorry and can only apologise to Chinese visitors.”

She said that the tourist information centre was powerless to intervene, adding that it has not yet received any complaints from Chinese visitors. SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST

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Japan China virus outbreak health

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