Tattoo ban at bathhouses raises concern in Japan

Japan urges sensitivity to foreign customs after visitor with tattoo denied entry to bathhouse

Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) -- With the Olympics headed to Tokyo, Japanese government officials are raising concern after a New Zealand woman with a traditional Maori tattoo was recently denied entry to a bathhouse.

Public baths commonly ban tattoos because they are considered an anti-social statement or a sign of possible involvement with organized crime.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters that he thinks "it is important to respect the cultures of foreign countries, considering we will host the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and expect many visitors ... to come to Japan."

Japanese media reported that Maori language lecturer Erana Brewerton was in Japan for an academic conference, and was turned away when she tried to go to a hot spring in Hokkaido on Sept. 8.

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