What's new

Otaru Case


Unswerving cyclist
14 Mar 2002
Debito has won his case:

Foreigners refused to enter bath - court orders compensation (ナ?Oツ坂?伉人ツ「窶愿シ窶板≫?ケ窶倪?敕崢」窶堙俄?昶?ヲツ焦セ窶督ス窶氾淞−窶徒ナ?C窶慊ケ 窶愿コ窶怒ツ坂?伉静税スツ昶?堙や?「テ?坂?伉出ツ身ナステ停?堋ェ窶亙窶堋ヲ)

=> http://www.zakzak.co.jp/top/t-2002_11/3t2002111107.html

外国人入浴拒否で業者に300万円賠償命令 札幌地裁

=> http://www.asahi.com/national/update/1111/010.html (with pics of Debito/David and Olaf Karthaus)

Bathhouse ordered to pay foreigners denied entry

=> http://www.japantoday.com/e/?content=news&cat=2&id=238037

Debito and Olaf have sued both the private onsen company as well as the city of Otaru for compensation. It's weird that the company was sentenced to pay 3 million ¥ whereas the city has been acquitted.

The court rejected the compensation claim against the Otaru city government, which the plaintiffs argued has a duty to meet the requirements of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which Japan signed in 1995.

Thus a private company is legally compelled to respect U.N. conventions, but an administrative body like a community that's responsible for applying laws and treaties on communal level isn't. Huh??

Ahem. :confused:
Last edited:
Japan trying to appease the natives yet still finding a way to shed it's responsibilities.

hmmm .... I wish they would've slapped even a 1 yen penalty on the city.

Congratulations on at least half a victory!

BUT ... hold on.
Wasn't this type of decision similar to the Brailian lady in a jewlery store?
You're referring to the Bortz case. It was similar in fact, involved a jeweller in Shizuoka (?) who didn't allow Brazilians to enter his shop.

On a German mailing list Olaf Karthaus stated yesterday that - if the onsen owners won't appeal against the verdict - he will donate his share ( ~ 8.000 € ) to orphanages in India, Cambodia and the Philippines as well as to Japanese institutions that take care of handicapped. Very noble gesture.
Yeah, they weren't really in it for the money.

David I read was gonna put it into a fund for other events of simillar nature.
Olaf, well, there you go!
The other fellow, I read was paying his wife!

Oh well, 2 out of 3 isn't bad :D
Onsen avoids paying court compensation

Here's an update after they won their case:


As was made public on Nov 20, 2002, one Plaintiff in the Otaru Onsen Lawsuit, Arudou Debito, decided to appeal against the Defendant Otaru City (not against Defendant Onsen Yunohana bathhouse), for reasons outlined at
Otaru Lawsuit: Appeals and Defendant Yunohana's Avoiding Court Orders 小樽訴訟:両側控訴と被告「強制執行停止」について

On Nov 22, Defendant Onsen Yunohana filed an appeal against Plaintiffs Karthaus, Sutherland, and Arudou, in protest of the court decision ordering them to pay each Plaintiff one million yen compensation.

For good measure, Yunohana obtained a court order enabling them to avoid paying any damages to Plaintiffs for the duration of the appeal, regardless of how many years it may take.
Otaru Lawsuit: Appeals and Defendant Yunohana's Avoiding Court Orders 小樽訴訟:両側控訴と被告「強制執行停止」について


That is the news. Now for the reprocussions.

1) Although Plaintiff Karthaus announced he will donate the court award in total to several charities (1. EWM orphanage, which provides shelter, food and education for more than 460 children in Madras, India, 2. the support group for children with heart defects (zenkoku shinzobyou no kodomo wo mamoru kai) in Sapporo, Japan , and 3. the support group for people with incurable diseases (nan byou ren) in Sapporo, Japan), this gesture must unfortunately be put on hold.

2) This also means Arudou Debito's that the compensation, which would have been put towards this Appeal, will not be forthcoming.

One point to bear in mind is that this is not some "mom-and-pop" place. Yunohana Onsen is actually Otaru's biggest bathhouse, with extensive advertising and a large social presence. And it has gotten bigger. In the four years since it opened, Yunohana has made enough money (notwithstanding the free publicity from this case) to open a second bathhouse in Asari (see for yourself at 湯の花ホームページ). Bravo for Yunohana's ability to make a living, but when it goes so far as to not only 1) ignore a court decision that its behavior was both "racially discriminatory" and "illegal", but also 2) demand a court order to avoid paying court-awarded damages, it makes one wonder just how deeply Yunohana has considered their position as a provider of a social service and public good to customers, any customers. Even now, Yunohana still refuses foreign-looking customers who do not speak Japanese.

If you can agree that this case involves a social problem that cannot remain untouched, and that the Japanese government is in fact responsible for following international treaty and for legally resolving issues of discrimination within its jurisdictions, please consider helping out.

Moral support, particularly in the public debate arenas, is of course plenty. But as I will be continuing this case, contributions are, ahem, welcome, with the promise that any contributions made will be paid back in full. That is--if and when we someday win and actually receive the compensations ordered by the court. Click here to find out more about court costs past, present, and projected, and to see account furikomi details.
Otaru Lawsuit and Kunibengodan Lawsuit--Contributions Welcome

Thanks for reading and, if possible, for your support.

Arudou Debito
Top Bottom