The Japanese government is trying to combat ignorance and prejudice against tattoos.
Details are as below.
Tattoos are commonplace in culture overseas and are becoming popularized in Japanese fashion as well.
Nevertheless, in Japan prejudice and misunderstanding still prevail.
In spite of the fact that there is no true demonstrable relation between tattoos and antisocial behavior in facilities such as pools, saunas or public baths, it has become common practice to deny admission or service to customers on the sole basis of their tattoos.
However, finally, the government has addressed this ignorant practice.
On 21 February, the cabinet decided to answer the government in response to the Democratic Party’s Akihiro Hatsushika’s inquiries written by the House of Representatives. They decided that the use of public baths cannot be denied solely because of a person’s tattoos.
According to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, since the law does not prohibit public bathing companies from refusing to serve customers at their own discretion, tattoos will not become permissible at all public baths immediately, so there is still need to be cautious.
However, there is no doubt that tourists from overseas will greatly increase for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020.
If tourists who come from countries where tattoos are commonplace experience discrimination at important Japanese attractions such as onsen, it will greatly negatively impact these peoples’ image of Japan. As the increase of international tourism and immigration becomes national policy, it is essential to clarify our acceptance of other cultures.
Though prejudice is not uncommon among Japanese people even today, there is an urgent need to spread a greater awareness of hospitality.