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Japanese Official Apologizes for Calling Latins ‘Dregs’

Associated Press

The head of a leading Japanese opposition party apologized Monday for calling Latin American workers “dregs.”

Saburo Tsukamoto, secretary general of the Democratic Socialist Party, visited the Nicaraguan Embassy in Tokyo to apologize, a spokesman said.

At a political seminar last Wednesday, Tsukamoto said that “only the dregs remain” in Latin America because “the good workers are enticed to the United States.” He said this was a cause of social unrest in the region. His remarks were carried in most Japanese newspapers the next day.

Diplomats representing Latin American nations in Japan lodged a complaint Saturday with the party, calling for an apology from Tsukamoto.

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In July, Michio Watanabe, policy chief of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, suggested that American blacks often use credit cards but care little about paying their bills.

Two years ago, former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone angered American minorities by saying the intelligence level in Japan is higher than in the United States because of a considerable number of “blacks, Puerto Ricans and Mexicans over there.”

Both Watanabe and Nakasone apologized for their remarks.


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