McDonald’s Japan has issued an apology for banning homeless people or “people deemed improper” from one of its stores in western Tokyo.
A spokesman for the fast food chain in Japan condemned the policy enforced by management at the Hachioji store refusing entry to “those whom we deem unfit to use our store, including the unclean and the homeless.” The notice was apparently posted out front for over a year.
“Even though the purpose of the notice was for other customers to be able to feel comfortable in the outlet, some of words it used were inappropriate, and we apologize for that,” the spokesman told AFP.
The sign triggered debate online, with some saying the policy was “reasonable” to keep McDonald’s “free of bad smell.”
Following complaints, the sign had been replaced and made no mention of homelessness, the spokesman added. Instead, the notice stated that entry will be refused to those deemed likely to “cause trouble to other customers, such as making a rumpus with loud voices, sleeping and having poor hygiene.”
The spokesman also said that all other outlets across the country had been instructed to ensure notices are free from discriminatory language.
Homeless people, mostly elderly, are a relatively common sight in Japan’s streets, despite the country’s relative wealth. According to the welfare ministry, a total of 8,265 people were considered homeless in Japan as of January this year, down 13.7% from a year earlier.
By Maesie Bertumen