LDP Lawmaker ‘Guilty’ of Racist Online Posts against Ainu People

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Mio Sugita

House of Representatives member Mio Sugita of the Liberal Democratic Party has violated the human rights of the Ainu people by making racially discriminatory posts online, according to a ruling by the Sapporo Legal Affairs Bureau.

The ruling on Sept. 7 was made public by a woman who made an appeal to the bureau for human rights redress.

The ruling applies to three posts made by Sugita on her blog, Facebook and Twitter (now X) in 2016 regarding the Ainu people who participated in a United Nations assembly. “Even middle-aged women cosplayers wearing Hanbok and Ainu ethnic attire appeared. There’s definitely a problem with dignity,” she wrote in the posts accompanied by photos.

One of the women who participated in the assembly filed a petition for human rights redress in March over Sugita’s posts, claiming they were of a “clearly insulting and discriminatory nature.” On Sept. 15, the woman received a report from the bureau saying it instructed Sugita to learn about Ainu culture and to be careful about what she says, among other things.

The Sapporo bureau told The Yomiuri Shimbun it could not speak to an individual case, but Sugita’s office admitted being told by the bureau that “There was indeed a violation of human rights.”

“It’s a great step forward that a public organization I made an appeal to recognized that it was violation of human rights,” the woman said. “I hope the ruling will help prevent discrimination and other offenses.”