Posted on January 31, 2024

Foreign-Born Residents File Suit in Japan over Alleged Racial Profiling

Chris Gallagher, Reuters, January 29, 2024

Three foreign-born residents of Japan filed a lawsuit on Monday against the national and local governments over alleged illegal questioning by police based on racial profiling.

It is the first such lawsuit in Japan, according to the plaintiffs’ lawyers, and comes amid a sharp rise in the number of foreign workers coming to the country to help stem labour shortages as its population ages and declines.


One of the plaintiffs, Matthew, a man of Indian descent who has lived in Japan for more than 20 years and holds permanent residency, said he had been questioned by police countless times. He said he is afraid to go out for fear of being stopped again.


Syed Zain, who was born in Pakistan but took Japanese citizenship after moving to Japan with his family as a child, said he hoped the case would lead to positive change in a society where the number of Japanese with foreign roots is growing.

Likewise, Maurice, an American who did not provide his surname, said he hoped to raise awareness of the issue among Japanese people and make life easier for others.

“I want them (Japanese people) to understand that this is an everyday occurrence {snip}” he said.