LDP warns Japan of foreign 'barbarians'

TOKYO - Racist slurs against foreigners are the latest tactic in election campaigning by increasingly desperate politicians from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in Japan. As the party faces its first loss at the polls in four decades, senior members this weekend labelled the Russian Foreign Minister, Andrei Kozyrev, a 'hairy barbarian', and said that the US was a pit of violence, Aids and drug-abusers, writes Terry McCarthy.

Politicians in Japan often play to the xenophobic element in the Japanese character, particularly when they are in their own constituencies far from Tokyo. Usually their comments are not picked up by the media, but in this election campaign politicians' words are being followed closely.

Most provocative was Shintaro Ishihara, a senior LDP member, and one of a group of three who have been given the task of revitalising the party's image.

While campaigning on the southern tip of Japan on Saturday, Mr Ishihara, who personifies the right wing of the LDP, attacked Mr Kozyrev, who had accompanied President Boris Yeltsin to Tokyo for the G7 summit.

'Prime minister Kiichi Miyazawa greeted Kozyrev with a smile, but his eyes were not smiling. The hairy barbarian greeted Miyazawa joyfully and shook hands. When a white man comes, Miyazawa just welcomes them too much. If I were prime minister, I would keep silent, with my hands deep in my pockets.'

Meanwhile Michio Watanabe, a former foreign minister with a record of racist remarks, hit out at the US and Italy in a speech on Saturday. In the US, he said, one out of several hundred people had Aids, and marijuana was for sale everywhere. 'With such people losing their tempers easily, the number of murders there is high, much higher than in Japan.'

He tried to link the LDP with safe living: 'Japan is a safe country, with less crime, fewer drug addicts and Aids patients, so is it right to say Japanese politics are wrong?'

The LDP has been campaigning on stability. In another speech Mr Watanabe hit out at Italy, whose politics would be reproduced in Japan if the LDP lost the elections. 'As in Italy, the cabinet would change frequently, which would disturb the economy and increase the number of thefts and rapes and other types of violent acts.'

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...

Recruitment Genius: SEO Executive

£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss