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Nearly 40% denied housing due to being foreigner in Japan

Staff Writer | March 31, 2017
About 40 percent of foreign residents have faced discrimination when they tried to find housing and only a small percentage sought advice for their situation, according to a Justice Ministry.
Japan homes
Houses in Asia   According to a Justice Ministry of Japan:
The survey, released March 31, was the first ever regarding discrimination against foreigners who have visas allowing them to remain in the nation for more than three months.

The poll also found that only about 10 percent of respondents had consulted with someone when they experienced discrimination.

"We will consider measures to spread knowledge about consultation centers so they can more easily be used by foreigners," a Justice Ministry official said.

Questionnaires were mailed to 18,500 foreigners 18 and older between November and December 2016. Responses were received from 4,252, or 23 percent of the total.

Among those who responded, those from China represented 33 percent of the total, while South Koreans accounted for 22 percent and Filipinos 7 percent.

The 2,044 respondents who said they had searched for a residence over the past five years were asked an additional question with multiple answers.

Forty-one percent of those respondents said they were denied housing because they did not have a Japanese guarantor, while 39 percent said they were rejected just because they were a foreigner. Twenty-seven percent said they gave up because they saw a sign that said "Foreigners not allowed."

The survey also found discrimination when foreign residents tried to find a job.

A total of 2,788 respondents said they sought employment or actually worked over the past five years. Of those individuals, 697, or 25 percent, said they were denied a job because they were a foreigner. A total of 546 respondents, or 20 percent, said they received wages lower than Japanese doing the same work, while 478, or 17 percent, said they were disadvantaged as a foreigner by not being promoted at work.

The respondents were also asked if they were subjected to insults or discriminatory remarks because they were a foreigner over the past five years.

A combined 1,269 respondents, or 30 percent, said they were often or sometimes the target of such comments.

When asked who made those jibes, 53 percent said, "total strangers," while 38 percent said work colleagues, including superiors, as well as others they met on the job, and 19 percent said neighbors.