Sunday, May 13, 2012

Asahi's Asia Japan Watch: Japan Gymnastic Association Members Not Allowed on a Bus in Germany Last Year Because "People from Tokyo Are Contaminated"

No idea whether it is true or not, as it comes from Asahi Shinbun's "Asia and Japan Watch" (AJW) which has had very inaccurate headlines and articles regarding the nuclear accident.

From AJW, article by Kamome Fujimori (part; 5/12/2012):

Unease abroad over the post-3/11 situation in Tokyo is hardly new, however. Sports officials have had to deal with the reassignment of several events scheduled for Japan and some cancellations after the nuclear disaster.

One example was the 2011 World Figure Skating Championships, originally scheduled to be held in Tokyo in late March, but later reassigned to Moscow. The 2011 World Gymnastics Championships in Tokyo in October also appeared to be in danger at one point, but the Japan Gymnastic Association waged a successful campaign to reassure officials in other countries that Tokyo was safe enough to host the event as scheduled. It should be noted, however, that when some members visited Germany as part of that campaign, they were not allowed to get on a bus on the grounds that “people from Tokyo are contaminated.”

Ironic that Germany did that, if this Asahi's article is correct.


Maju said...

When I first read it I imagined not true. I felt that the author was making it up or borrowing an equally imagined rumor.

People in West Europe (and I imagine this includes Germany) has been hosting children from Chernobyl and what not. Germans are much more worried about having to dispose of about half all the boars they hunt because they are too radioactive, etc.

It doesn't make any sense. I feel that this was invented in Japan out of the blue.

Maju said...

Actually it may be a misunderstanding.

I remember a video-documentary showing Israeli children traveling to Poland and they did not speak any Polish and had been brainwashed about how supposedly "antisemitic" was everybody in Europe, so when an old Pole welcomed them in his language they believed he was insulting or threatening them...

Sometimes when you expect hostility and you don't understand the local language... you can go paranoid.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

I don't think Japanese former gymnasts were expecting hostility.

I've written to the association to ask if this is true.

JAnonymous said...

Sadly enough, this is probably true.

Last year after March 11, the european embassies went crazy over the week-end. French embassy started saying out of the blue "if you don't have any serious business in Japan, please take your distance". I phoned them to ask if they were insane and who was paying for the plane tickets for me and my family. They said sorry, please do according to your budget, but try to at least get to Osaka, screw them.

Similarly, some German companies evacuated but they did pay the plane for their employees and family. A while later (I think it was in May or June) they organised a so-called "town meeting" at their embassy and people where asking all kind of idiotic questions. Some people in Germany wanted to throw away their Toyota because it came from Japan (but way before 3.11, go figure). German school re-opened in Yokohama very late (May 9th). French school had resumed on April 4th.

So, with the fear from Chernobyl starting to resurface, people went genuinely insane and did whatever it is that ignorant people do.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

I don't blame them in March-May time frame last year, with the Japanese government withholding vital information. Some Japanese in Kanto and Tohoku now wish they had panicked and evacuated for a while in March.

Anonymous said...


The UK has a stockpile of 70 years of radioactive waste sitting somewhere.

"Nuke 'graveyard' plan: Tons of deadly waste could be dumped below Lake District"

Anonymous said...

Maybe now the Japanese will know what it feels like o be discriminated against as most foreigners are on a regular basis here in japan, .. cant rent apartments, always an empty seat next to you on the train even during rush hour, being called gaijin to my face, the list goes on...

Anonymous said...

Well it's your choice to be there, anon above.

Anonymous said...

ANON @ 8:04

Perhaps that was written out of anger, but discrimination CAN go both ways?

"If you are considered different from the majority then why are you in their space", is what you just said. THAT IS DISCRIMINATION.

If someone looks different from you, you have NO right to treat them differently from people who look the same as you.

In the case of discrimination of people whom they thought to be radioactive and were not, then that is discrimination based on false fear. Many cases of discrimination are based on false fear.

We all have a dash of this somewhere in us. It must be recognized for what it is and not acted on.

It is however the real fear of another nuclear disaster that should bring us together, so we can put a stop to the nuclear industry.

Anonymous said...

At Anon 7:59
Sorry, do you wear boots, a cow-boy hat and carry a gun in rush hours? Never experienced what you say.
But than you have more space anyway...

Anonymous said...

At anon 5:35
The French Ambassy reported according to the view by gov. agencies, specialists from Areva and EDF.
Their advise was plain right I think, in such a situation.
But now some foreigners complain they leaved and regret it, and put the blame on embassies, as if they did'nt make their own decision. Call for a nursing State whatever you do or do not do, it is so easy.

Anonymous said...

@anon 10.05 Totally ignorant statement and clearly have your head in the sand there,.. @ anon 8.04 even more ignorance, so you agree with the Japanese that foreigners shouldn't be in japan?

Anonymous said...

@anon 10:38, can you even comprehend English? Or you've been in Japan too long and forgot how to think straight? Whatever experience you have is your own, and it's your choice to be there or not be there. Nothing more, nothing less.

Anonymous said...

@anon 10.39 so if foreigners don't like being discriminated against should they all just leave japan? your logic is twisted.

Anonymous said...

It depends whether this was an official thing or just some bus driver's personal call. If it is the former, someone will have some explaining to do, if the latter then just forget it.

You do know that people were not allowed into evacuation shelters, needed doctor's statement etc. in Japan - and those were official policies (by regional folks).

Anonymous said...

german here...

never heard of this. if it is true then it was "just some bus driver's personal call" as anon 12:19 said.

the ppl here weren't afraid of the desaster in japan, they were and are of our own NPPs.
we were constantly told that there was no danger, because japan is so soooo far away, bla bla bla.

i live in a town where lots of japanese tourists travel through every sommer. last wasn't any different. no discrimination as far as i could see it.

Anonymous said...

I agree discrimination is really a bore.
It took my wife more than 35 years and a paid flight to the U.S.A. to discover she was colored, mind you.
She had settled here in Europe since art school time, and then was invited to an Art festival in one of the biggest Cities by the Great Lakes.
There she wanted some take-out food from the bakery, but could not meet the eye of any seller, and gave up.
One of the organizers told her she had to go to the bakery for colored people.
- what? You think I am colored?
- Yes you're colored.
- pff...
The good point is for party-times she was invited by kind African American artists - great parties !
I thought of my wife as Japanese but over there she is colored.

Marco said...

I call bullshit on this. However, if this actually is true the people involved should be held accountable for their insensitivity. Let's wait and see

JAnonymous said...

sorry guys, it's getting OT, but some person at 10.28 has a hard time seeing facts.

I do not contest their advice, I contest the way they swinged from "it's all green" to "run for your lives" without providing any support. If they really had experts around, they could have known. These experts also fled, without even a word to their neighbors. It was as easy to say "run for your lives" from the start. Secretely, everybody was hoping that it would be alright.

I am glad I temporarily left for a month, but I will never thank anyone except those who paid the bills : it did not take to be an expert to decide that a nuclear reactor exploding spells danger. I decided it wasn't safe as soon as the Japan PM came on TV on 3.11 in the evening, to say that NPPs were safe even though nobody was asking at that time. The triggering thing was when they reportedly handed iodine pills to people nearby the plant.

French gov did provide some seats in a plane that left Narita after french troops arrived in it, but it came back half empty because many people could not get to NRT and the embassy was just not going to help.

I don't call for a nanny state, I call for transparency. Either release your experts analysis, or assume people won't understand and state the truth.

Anonymous said...

At JAnonymous

I am 10:28

I'm glad you could manage properly. I had'nt to deal with the Embassy, I was in France when it happenned, but had to deal another way, as I had a planned trip to Tokyo two weeks in March-April. Go or do not go was a difficult decision to take.
The facts I looked at them with great care, believe me.
Even if the French gov. had some secret tips about what was happenning, a crisis like that is like a war: you just don't know what's going to happen. Even the best experts have no cristal ball to tell the future.
(Same in economics...) What is making me fell not so good is more and more people saying they had wrong advice from the Embassy ( I notice you do not contest their advice, thank you ) and pretend the accident was in control within a week. It was not, and it still is not, as the whole thing remains very dangerous, 14 month after.

Atomfritz said...

@ LaPrimavera:

Hard to believe this.
Didn't find anything like that when searching.
Did Asahi confirm this story, maybe give more details about when and where Japanese tourists weren't allowed into a bus in Germany?

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

@Atomfritz, so far none of the parties I contacted has responded (Asahi, Gymnastic Association). It was not Japanese tourists but Gymnastic Association members, judging from the article.

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