"Today I felt as if I was not in Japan, but in the Alabama of the 1950s. I've been made to feel less than human, like an animal," said McGowan, choking back tears. "This case was not just about me. With this ruling, the judge has given store owners the right to discriminate based on color."Uniquely among the signatories to the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, Japan has no laws prohibiting racial discrimination. The Government argues that such laws are not necessary, because victims can sue for damages in the civil courts. All it takes is a year or more of your life and a potentially bottomless pit of legal fees, and you might recoup your costs. But not, apparently, if the judge can find any loophole to excuse the discriminatory behaviour.
The reason Mr McGowan lost? He had claimed that the shop owner had turned him away for being black (using the term "kokujin" in Japanese, and there is apparently a tape recording in which the shop owner reiterates his views). The judge ruled that he hadn't provided sufficient evidence that the refusal was necessarily due to his being black, it might just have been because he was foreign. So, um, that's OK then.
More details and further similar horror stories can be found here.