South Africa protests apartheid column in Japanese press

AP News
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Posted: Feb 15, 2015 11:57 PM

TOKYO (AP) — South Africa's ambassador to Japan has sent a letter of protest to a conservative Japanese newspaper about a recent column that in essence advocated separate residences for foreign workers modeled on apartheid.

The Feb. 11 column in the Sankei newspaper by well-known conservative writer Ayako Sono said Japan needs foreign workers to offset its shrinking population, but that based on the South Africa experience, different races should live separately.

In her letter, Ambassador Mohau Pheko called apartheid a crime against humanity that should not be justified in the 21st century, the Sankei said in an article published over the weekend.

Sono has served on an advisory panel for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on education.

In the article, Sono says her column did not propose an apartheid policy for Japan. "I only wrote, from my personal observation, that it is difficult for people with different customs to live together."

A statement by senior Sankei editor Takeshi Kobayashi says Sono's regular column reflects her opinion, and that the newspaper believes that apartheid and racial discrimination should not be permitted.