The comic was commenting on a documentary that spotlighted a woman belonging to the Ainu, an indigenous people that live primarily on the northern island of Hokkaido and have long been the targets of discrimination by the majority Japanese.
At the start of a regularly scheduled press conference, Kosugi said “I would first like to offer my apologies for expressions that hurt the Ainu people. I deeply apologize for this incident, which has poured cold water on efforts to promote correct understanding of the Ainu.”
No Miso, the comic who made the slur, tweeted his apology “for my own ignorance,” on March 14 in response to viewer and staff complaints.
Kosugi explained that show’s production staff “did not sufficiently understand the discrimination the Ainu have experienced and lacked awareness that the words broadcast were directly discriminatory. They should have noticed before the broadcast since the (offending comment) was pre-recorded, but they completely lacked understanding.”
Kosugi also noted that the show’s NTV producer had consulted with the comedian and other guests about their comments prior to the taping. “The final responsibility belongs to NTV,” he concluded. “We intend to strictly punish those responsible in accordance with company regulations.”
NTV featured the incident on its Tuesday “Nitere Update” network information show. Also, Kosugi will meet with representatives of the Ainu Association of Hokkaido and NTV will hold an in-house workshop aimed at heightening staff awareness of discriminatory language and acts.