Japan’s Treatment of Muslims–Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
An email alleges that tight restrictions are in place to prevent the spread of Islam in Japan because Muslims are viewed as “fundamentalists” who are not willing to deviate from Muslim laws.
This eRumor contains false claims and generalizations about Japan’s treatment of Muslims.
The Japanese government regularly welcomes political leaders from Islamic and Arabic states. In July 2014, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe welcomed the Islamic Diplomatic Corps to Japan, an official government press release reports.
“I have found that a fundamental aspect of the spirit of Islam is harmony with and love for others,” Prime Minister Abe said. “I believe therein lie points of commonality with the Japanese spirit, which is founded on co-existence….”
Islamic and Arabic studies are also not restricted in Japan, as the eRumor suggests. It’s true that the International University of Japan in Tokyo does not offer courses on Arabic or Islamic languages — however, the only language courses the university offers are English and Japanese, according to the university’s website.
Still, the Arabic Islamic Institute in Tokyo features an extensive offering of such courses, and it regularly features political and academic leaders from various Islamic and Arabic states, according to the school’s website.
The eRumor’s claim that Muslims cannot become Japanese citizens is also false, according to a Japanese blog that specializes in immigration issues called “Becoming Legally Japanese.”
“Because there is no place on the written online application for one’s religion, the Ministry of Justice can’t publish statistics showing the religions (or races) of naturalization candidates; they can only publish sex and former nationality statistics,” the blog reports. “However, looking at the nationality statistics, we can find hundreds of examples of people from Islamic states (ex. Indonesia, Iran and Pakistan) as well as people from nation-states where the official state religion is Islam (ex. Egypt) and greater than 90 percent of the population is Muslim. Doing a quick web search, I can find Japanese immigration lawyers who specialize in people from Indonesia and brag of a 100 percent success rate.”
Japan requires special visas for visitors, workers and students who are not from one of 66 countries that Japan has a “general visa exemption arrangement” with, according to an official website. But there are no official travel restrictions on Muslims, or practitioners of any other faith.
It’s also untrue that Japan does not allow Arabic or Islamic schools in the country. The International Islamia School Otsuka in Tokyo is just one example.
Additionally, the Japanese government funded construction of a number of madrasas that were completed in Afghanistan in December 2012, Pajhwok Afghan News reports.
There are also no restrictions on Japanese women marrying Muslim men, according to the Islamic Center of Japan’s website.
The eRumor’s allegation that a Japanese woman would be “considered an outcast forever” by her family for marrying a Muslim man — like many other allegations in the eRumor — is a generalization that is impossible to prove or disprove.