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Jackson Says Minority Gains in U.S. Threatened by Japanese Investment

December 9, 1986

TOKYO (AP) _ American civil rights leader Jesse Jackson today criticized the practices of Japanese companies investing in the United States and said they threaten 25 years of gains made by U.S. minority groups.

Noting that Japan’s overseas investment is increasing now that it is the world’s largest creditor nation, Jackson said Japanese firms entering the U.S. market often avoid union workers and urban areas and deal primarily with the white establishment.

″As they come in union-busting, with no commitment to affirmative action, no sensitivity to (maintaining) minority dealerships and distributorship s, then we will have lost a quarter of a century of struggle. That will not take place without some very strong resistance,″ he said.

Speaking at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan, Jackson called for the formation of a new, mutually beneficial economic relationship between Japan and the United States.

He said U.S. blacks own 2 million Japanese-made cars, ″but of all the dealerships Japanese firms have in the U.S., less than five are owned by blacks.″

He said there ″is nothing peculiar about Japanese cars that means black automobile dealers cannot sell them. But there is a peculiar formula that has locked us out. It must give way, or we will have to organize a major resistance movement.″

If Japanese companies continue to ignore U.S. minorities, they will face the possibility of a national boycott of their products, Jackson said.

Jackson, visiting Japan at the invitation of local human rights groups, also called for improved treatment of minorities in Japan and for an end to Japanese economic ties with South Africa.

″Most troubling for us is the fact that Japan has not begun to face the new realities of being a world power, sensitive to the frictions and agendas of the other nations and peoples of the world,″ he said.

Japan has an estimated 1 million to 3 million burakumin, members of a former outcast class, about 680,000 ethnic Koreans, many of whom were born in Japan, and about 24,000 Ainu, an indigenous people who live mainly on the northern island of Hokkaido. All face discrimination in employment, marriage and other areas.

Jackson, who ran for the Democratic Party presidential nomination in 1984, met Monday with Japanese Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone.

During his five-day visit, Jackson and his delegation, which includes minority businessmen and Asian-Americans, are meeting with political and civic leaders and with officials at automakers Toyota and Mazda and electronics makers Sony and Panasonic.

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