Arab News Japan
TOKYO: Editorials in Japanese media demonstrated a variety of viewpoints in reacting to the large-scale, sometimes violent, protests that have taken the US by storm the past two weeks.
The wide-scale demonstrations against police discrimination and brutality began after George Floyd, a black man in Minneapolis, was killed when a white police officer kneeled on his neck on May 25.
Journalist Toshinao Sasaki of the Nippon Housou was somewhat critical of the rioters and looters, blaming both the far left and far right for using riots to make their own political statements.
“I think the problem is that too many people mistakenly think that as long as they get angry and yell, problems will be solved,” he said. “This can apply to Japan as well.”
Meanwhile, an editorial from the Asahi Shimbun was sympathetic to the protesters, calling on the US government to listen to them and not engage in outrageous acts of force against its people.
It looked at the issue from a historical perspective, noting that demonstrations during the 1950s and 1960s led to the elimination of legal discrimination in the US.
It also speculated that as COVID-19 has disproportionately affected black Americans, years of injustice may have manifested in the pandemic and helped spark the riots.
“Movements in Europe, Australia, Africa, and other countries have begun to align with the US movement,” said the editorial. “Whether it’s economic disparity or immigration, if young people are instantly resonating with each other in their quest for fairness, it’s a good thing.”
Other Japanese papers have focused more on the political aspects of the movement, criticizing President Trump’s handling of racial issues in general.
An editorial in the Mainichi Shimbun asserted that it is the president’s responsibility to address deep-rooted racial tensions and widespread social divisions.
“However, Mr. Trump is stirring up division,” it said. “Instead of focusing on the ills of our society, he blames the problem on the riots of a few.”
The Ryuku Shimpo, published in Okinawa, similarly accused the president of stirring up division and promoting racism, saying that his political approach was one of the factors leading to the current situation in the US.
The editorial said that Trump’s qualifications as president will be severely questioned.