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South Korean student in Japan told to 'go back' to her country, activists say

Activists said online Thursday that a Japanese woman discriminated against a South Korean student after the student sought medical attention for mental health issues. File Photo by by Keizo Mori/UPI
Activists said online Thursday that a Japanese woman discriminated against a South Korean student after the student sought medical attention for mental health issues. File Photo by by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

May 20 (UPI) -- A Japanese instructor allegedly told a student from South Korea to "go back" to her country because she was receiving healthcare in Japan and was therefore burdening the host nation.

Kyodo News reported Thursday that the instructor, a Japanese woman who remains unidentified, told her female South Korean student that Japan had no room for people who require mental health services.

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The instructor at Tokyo International Japanese School reportedly said that "being a nuisance to the country in which you are staying is not something ordinary Japanese do."

She also said that such people should be eliminated or deported, according to the report.

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The incident took place in January 2020. The student, also unidentified, previously had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. Documents that provided details of her pre-existing conditions were submitted to the private institute ahead of enrollment, the report said.

The statements targeting a foreign student in Japan is being met with a response online.

A Japanese-language petition on Change.org said the instructor also accused the South Korean student of "taking advantage of Japanese healthcare services," according to South Korean newspaper Seoul Shinmun.

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"If you are sick, then go back to your home country," the instructor reportedly said, according to activists.

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The teacher also said before the coronavirus pandemic that there are "many bad people who come to Japan for medical services."

"Is this not a way of straining Japan's coffers and taxpayers?" the instructor said, according to the petition.

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Online activists said the instructor "showed prejudice" and harassed her victim.

"It is a clear case of discrimination to deny a student's right to learn because of a disability," the petition read. Activists also included a link to an audio recording of the woman's statements.

Tokyo International Japanese School has denied the charges. The institute said the teacher was telling her student to return to Korea because of her low attendance rate.

"It is not discrimination," the school said, according to Kyodo.

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