"After years of oppression and discrimination to Japan recognise the ethnic group ainu. The government has presented a bill that for the first time, with group status as the indigenous people."
"Ainufolket, living largely in the northern part of the island of Hokkaido, has for centuries been alienated from their traditional culture, religion and their language. People from ainufolket have been forced to change its name and has been forbidden to hunt in the traditional way. At the end of the 1800s forbade Japan the ainu to use their language, which is today only spoken by a smaller group."
"Still, there are differences in income and levels of education between the ainu and other japanese."
"The new bill is the first to recognise the ainu as the country's indigenous people. All because it should also include action plans to support the ainufolket economically and socially."
"It is the first step to secure equality under the law," says Mikiko Maruko, representing an ainu-group near the capital city of Tokyo."
"It is not clear how many belonging to the ainufolket in Japan. According to a survey completed in 2017, it involves a minimum of 12 300 people, but because many are believed to have concealed their roots, the figure is probably higher."