Where to Consult about Coronavirus Discrimination

Have you faced or seen a discrimination case related to the new coronavirus (COVID-19)? There are consultation desks. Do not struggle alone, and please contact them.

Discrimination should must not be allowed for any case. Please make sure you get correct information and take proper actions.

We’ve been fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic for a while now. During this period, have you or someone you know been troubled by discriminatory actions? Examples are:

  • You work at a hospital or a nursery home. People intentionally avoid you saying that they do not want you to transmit the virus to others, or throw harsh words at you after work.
  • You work at a supermarket, a convenience store or a drug store. Customers throw harsh words related to the novel coronavirus.
  • You work for distribution of goods or infrastructure industry. People aggressively tell you to stay home when you are on your way to work, or they leave abusive comments on you online.
  • You or your family member is infected with coronavirus. People spread rumors, shun you, or throw harsh words at you about it. Besides you saw someone leak your private information or leave harmful comments about you online.
  • Just because you are a foreign national, people assume you are infected with coronavirus, or call the virus “xx (where you are from) – virus”.

Unfortunately, above-mentioned cases have already been confirmed. These are the obvious discrimination acts which are definitely unacceptable. 

No one can discriminate against those who risk their lives for us everyday: healthcare workers carrying out medical checkups and treatments, store clerks selling foods and daily supplies, and workers in logistics and infrastructure industry—they make our society work.

What we need to keep in mind is that we can only blame the novel coronavirus itself, not those who are infected with it, their family, or where they are from. If someone gets sick, just kindly tell him/her that your heart is with him/her.

WHO (World Health Organization) is strongly against naming the virus after the country or the region where the outbreak began, since such terminology fuel the risk of discrimination acts and prejudices.

If you have ever suffered discrimination acts or defamation, professionals are at help desks to listen to your story. You can also seek for advice when you have seen someone facing discrimination. Please share the information about the help desks listed below.

Help desk set up by the Ministry of Justice

The Ministry of Justice operates counseling and consultation services, where you can simply have a talk or ask for advice when you face discrimination.
You can ask them:

  • To mediate the situation you have been put in 
  • To help you submit an improvement request to those who violated your human rights
  • To refer you to professional lawyers and related institutions if necessary

For further information, please check this leaflet.

Foreign-language Human Rights Hotline

There is a telephone counseling service for non-Japanese-speakers. You can call from anywhere in Japan, and this hotline will connect you to Legal Affairs Bureau near you. You can also check the details on this leaflet.

  • TEL: 0570-078377
  • Times of operation: 9:00〜17:00, Weekdays
  • Languages supported: English, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Portuguese, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Nepali and Thai 

※Call fees apply.
※This is a three-way calling service which connects you and an interpreter to begin your conversation.

Human Rights Online Counseling Service

Human rights counseling are available in English and Chinese. Submit a request form from the link below, and they will reply you via email or phone call. You can message them from anywhere in Japan.

Online Human-Rights Counseling Services : English Form

Other Consultation Desks

Legal Information for foreign nationals (Operated by Japan Legal Support Center)

Have you faced discrimination related to issues with labor conditions or visa procedures due to the COVID-19 pandemic ? Hou-terasu (Japan Legal Support Center) provides information about Japanese legal system and refers you to bar associations specialized in human rights issues. Please find more details on this website.

Do you suffer domestic violence during the quarantine? Domestic violence includes behaviors that physically, sexually or psychologically harm you, force a partner to behave in ways he/she do not want . If you have gone through any of these, please take a look at this article and ask for advice at a counseling desk.

In order to avoid any discriminatory actions (including harmful rumors) related to the novel coronavirus, it is essential to acquire correct information about the virus and its symptoms. You may encounter fake news online or offline; you may hear random rumors from close friends of yours. Please check our other articles for accurate information.