Tokyo hotel cops slam social media for ‘Japanese-only’ elevator sign


A central Tokyo hotel sparked outrage on social media ahead of the Tokyo 2020 games for a poorly worded sign outside its elevators. The sign said “Japanese only” and “For foreigners only”, but has since been removed. The management of Akasaka Excel Hotel Tokyu also came forward to apologize.

Hotel officials also explained that the signs were initially put up to make it easier for guests, but ended up causing a misunderstanding. They were also put in place as Tokyo 2020 officials and organizers asked hoteliers to ensure that guests coming for the games remain segregated from those staying at hotels, according to Reuters.

Japan time also reported on the situation, saying the signs were installed as a result of actions in response to guidance provided by the Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The four elevators were to be divided into two units for local Japanese customers and two more for foreigners.


The measure sparked a deluge of criticism on various Japanese platforms, such as Twitter and Yahoo! forums.

One user requested the immediate removal of the sticker, calling it “Reiwa’s Jim Crow” and that “nationality does not matter to the virus”.

Another Twitter user called the hotel directly to let them know of the segregation message he was projecting and documented his experience in a Twitter thread. He said that Japan as a whole “may not be used to the problem of institutionalized discrimination,” and called on all players in the hospitality industry to be more aware.

A check by INTERACTIVE-MARKETING found that a Twitter user updated the Tokyu Hotel sign, showing that the term “foreigners only” has been changed to “priority to foreigners”. The Twitter user said in a tweet: “This is hardly an improvement. (The hotel) doesn’t seem to understand at all what the problem is. It’s ridiculous.”

Two weeks before the Games, Tokyo entered a fourth COVID-19 state of emergency, with the measure scheduled to last until August 22. This period will cover the duration of the Tokyo Olympics and the Games are now expected to be held behind closed doors, with organizers banning all spectators in an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The July 8 decision came hours after the state of emergency was announced, amid continued concern among the Japanese public over the Games’ continuation during the pandemic and increasing cases.

Related Articles:
How sponsors can rethink advertising with spectator ban at the Tokyo Olympics
Alibaba names McCann China as creative partner for Olympic campaign
The Tokyo 2020 Olympics postponed for a year

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.