Ueno Sanji, a ramen restaurant in Tokyo, is only allowing Japanese customers due to COVID-19 concerns. The owner (pictured) claims that this is not discrimination but his duty to protect his family, his employees and his loyal customers.
There have been around 75,000 cases of people infected with coronavirus in China, followed by 104 in South Korea and another 87 in Japan. Internationally, coronavirus has led to incidents of anti-Asian discrimination and xenophobia. However, the same is also happening within Asia towards Chinese people:
As of 6 pm on Tuesday, the entrance to a seafood restaurant in downtown Seoul bore a sign that read, in red Chinese characters, “No Chinese allowed.” That same day, union of food delivery workers asked to be excused from making deliveries to areas with a large Chinese population pic.twitter.com/tSE0Z7wwhk
— Klaus (@Kakapolka) January 29, 2020
At Ueno Sanji, a ramen restaurant in Tokyo, an English language sign was posted reading, “Sorry!! Japanese Only Sorry!!”
— 上野 さんじ 森下勤勉 (@sanji_kinchan) February 18, 2020
The above tweet reads: “Starting today, as a countermeasure to the coronavirus, [this restaurant] is Japanese only. I have a responsibility to protect my family, my staff and Sanji junkies. Please understand that this is not discrimination.”
On Twitter, people replied in Japanese that this was in fact discrimination and even hate speech. Others pointed out that viruses don’t pay attention to nationality.
Considering that Japan has the third most cases in the world of the virus, with Japanese nationals infected with coronavirus, Ueno Sanji’s proclamation seems especially odd.
Wrote one Twitter user in Japanese, “If you are really worried about the coronavirus, then you should refuse all customers.”