In Japan, pandemic brings outbreaks of bullying, ostracism (the Impurity Games)

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EXCERPT: The coronavirus in Japan has brought not just an epidemic of infections, but also an onslaught of bullying and discrimination against the sick, their families and health workers.

[...] Prejudice against those not viewed as mainstream or “pure" is a legacy of feudal times, when some Japanese engaged in professions such as leather tanning and butchering were deemed unclean. Their descendants still face discrimination. People suffering from ailments such as Hansen's disease, or leprosy, were likewise forced to live in isolation decades after a cure was found.

Victims of the 1945 U.S. atomic bomb attacks on Japan, known as “hibakusha," and others injured in industrial accidents such as mercury poisoning have faced similar treatment. More recently, some who fled the 2011 nuclear meltdowns in Fukushima have suffered bullying and harassment.

“Underlying the (coronavirus) discrimination is a sense that the patients are impure,” Naoki Sato, an expert on criminology and Japanese culture at the Kyushu Institute of Technology, wrote in a recent article in the Gendai Business online magazine. “Growing anxiety and fear of infection are adding to discrimination against the infected.”

Random acts of hatred have been reported from across the country... (MORE - details)

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