Russian wayfinding sign at Tokyo station discovered after criticism

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A Russian wayfinding sign at a Tokyo station that had been covered with a sheet of paper last week following complaints from passengers unhappy about the Russian invasion of Ukraine was discovered by the train operator on Friday.

East Japan Railway Co. has reversed its decision to cover the sign at Ebisu Station on Tokyo’s Yamanote Line after criticizing the decision as being considered discriminatory.

According to the operator, known as JR East, the names of two stations on the Tokyo Metro’s Hibiya Line – Roppongi and Nakameguro – are displayed on signs near ticket windows at Ebisu Station in Russian, English, Korean and Japanese since 2018.

Signage in Russian (R) is hidden at JR Ebisu station in Tokyo’s Shibuya district on April 14, 2022, following complaints from passengers upset about the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Kyodo)

A wayfinding sign in Russian is displayed at JR Ebisu station in Tokyo on April 15, 2022, after it was covered up following complaints from passengers upset about the Russian invasion of Ukraine. East Japan Railway Co. reversed its decision to cover the sign after criticizing the decision as being considered discriminatory. (Kyōdo) == Kyōdo


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As the Russian Embassy is located near Roppongi Station, the company said it decided to put up signs ahead of last year’s Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics to help passengers get to the metro line.

Station staff concealed the Russian sign and posted an ‘out of service’ notice in Japanese in its place on April 7 after receiving complaints from some passengers that the sight of the Russian language made them ‘uncomfortable’. easy”.

The move sparked a flurry of criticism online, with Twitter users posting comments such as “Russian language is innocent” and “Ukrainians also use Cyrillic script”.

JR East’s branch in Tokyo, which learned of the situation on Thursday, said it was considering removing the foreign-language signs after the Tokyo Games ended last summer, “but we haven’t decided what yet. To do”.

The government’s main spokesman, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno, told a press conference on Friday that he believed JR East would respond appropriately because “one must be careful not to promote discrimination. in any situation”.

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