S. Korea requests fair probe into serving of ‘bleach water’ at Tokyo restaurant

The woman said she smelled hydrochloric acid in her cup, and raised the issue with the restaurant. - ILLUSTRATION: UNSPLASH

SEOUL (The Straits Times/Asia News Network): South Korea is requesting Japan to conduct a “prompt and fair” investigation into an incident where a Korean woman was allegedly served water containing detergent at a Tokyo restaurant.

The woman said it could be an act of hate crime as she was treated differently from other customers.

The incident occurred at a high-end restaurant in Tokyo’s Ginza district on Aug 31, according to South Korean television network JTBC and Japanese news outlets.

At one point, the woman, identified by the surname Kang, said she smelled hydrochloric acid in her cup, and raised the issue with the restaurant, she said.

The employee who served her the water tried to dispose of it without addressing the issue, according to Korea JoongAng Daily.

At some point, Kang suffered a burning feeling in her throat and was about to vomit.

She was later diagnosed with acute food poisoning at a nearby hospital.

The restaurant said its employee had mistaken a detergent bottle for a water pitcher when serving Kang, Japanese media outlets said.

But Kang and her husband said it was a possible hate crime against Koreans.

She said there was a difference in the way staff treated her compared to other customers in the restaurant.

They did not “pull up my chair but did so for other customers”, she told JTBC. She said they must have figured out she was Korean “from my looks and accent”.

Kang and her husband said they filed a gross negligence complaint against the restaurant with the local police.

They also informed the South Korean embassy of the incident in early September.

South Korea’s foreign ministry said it was notified about the incident, according to the Yonhap news agency.

A ministry official said the authorities in South Korea were informed that the restaurant’s operations were suspended for four days.

Recent reports of anti-Japanese sentiment in Korea have also gone viral, according to Korea JoongAng Daily.

A Japanese YouTuber posted a video on the platform on Sunday in which a man insulted her and another Japanese video streamer when they told him they were from Japan.

In the eight-minute video filmed in South Korea, the man, who claimed he was from North Korea, said he hated Japan.

He said his resentment stemmed from Japan’s colonial rule of the Korean peninsula during the first half of the 20th century.

However, another South Korean passer-by in the video told the Japanese nationals to ignore the man, saying not all Koreans were like him.

The video received more than 220,000 views by Tuesday, with some South Koreans apologising in the comments section for the Japanese YouTubers’ experience.

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South Korea , bleach , water , restaurant , Japan


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