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November 12, 2002

Bathouse Suit Verdict

Arudou Debito, formerly David Aldwinckle, is a university lecturer and naturalized Japanese citizen from the US. He and two foreign plaintiffs yesterday won a racial discrimination case against a hot spring in Otaru, Hokkaido. The Yunohana bath house, which had claimed that the presence of foreigners drives away Japanese visitors, was ordered to pay 3 million yen to the three men, half the amount claimed. In the case against Otaru City, the judge ruled that the city itself had no legal obligation to try to put an end to discrimination. The problem dates back to the early 1990s when drunken Russian sailors caused havoc in several establishments in the city. Since last year, the bath house has been allowing foreigners in but only with the preconditions that they "behave" or "understand Japanese".

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