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January 07, 2004

Freedom of Speech

Debito Arudo (aka Dave Aldwinckle) wrote in yesterday's Japan Times about ongoing discrimination in English language competitions. It seems the precedent is being set by the All Japan Inter-Middle School English Oratorical Contest, Japan's largest English-language competition. The rules specifically bar children of the more than 40,000 international marriages in Japan each year, those with a foreign grandparent, or even students who have spent a minimal amount of time abroad. The bizarre aspect of the rules is that they don't even specify that the foreign "element" be related to English, just that it's not Japanese. The fact that the competition is connected to the Imperial family, through its sponsorship by the late Prince Takamado, means that its rules are "beyond question" and set the standard for other, regional competitions. The Japan Times' chief rival, The Daily Yomiuri, is also a sponsor of the Prince Takamado Trophy and has not covered the topic of protests over its rules. Debito is an American-born naturalized Japanese and an outspoken critic of racial discrimination in Japan.
Japan Times article

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