Little Tokyo Resident Reports Coronavirus-Related Hate Crime

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By TOMOKO NAGAI, Rafu Japanese Section Writer

Yukiko Yamamoto, 78, who lives in Little Tokyo Towers, said she was the victim of a hate crime in early March, before the stay-at-home directive.

She went to a post office near Union Station and was on her way back home when a man walked toward her. As they passed each other, he suddenly shouted, “Chinese! Corona!” Yamamoto was shocked, and the man’s voice was so loud that people down the street were surprised and turned around.

“I didn’t feel that I was in physical danger, but I thought, ‘It’s happening again,’” she said.

Her late husband was sent to an incarceration camp for Japanese Americans as a small child, and she learned about the camp experience from him and his parents. Hearing newscasters’ recent comparisons of the worsening coronavirus pandemic to the Pearl Harbor attack has caused her to worry.

It’s possible that the prejudice that lurks beneath the surface of society is finding an outlet through the fear resulting from this crisis.

In order to combat hate crimes, a group called A3PCON on March 19 launched an online center to report incidents of discrimination against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and in just one week 750 reports were received from across the country.

According to A3PCON’s analysis, the most common type of incident is verbal abuse like that experienced by Yamamoto, and women are three times more likely than men to be victimized.

Reports in Japanese are also being accepted. If you or someone you know has experienced a hate crime, you are asked to report it by going online to:

http://www.asianpacificpolicyandplanningcouncil.org/stop-aapi-hate/

There will be a link to the Japanese reporting page (新型コロナウイルスに関連したAAPIに対する人種差別的出来事の報告) as well as forms in English, Chinese (traditional and simplified), Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, Khmer and Punjabi.

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