Our thoughts are with the affected individual.

On February 10, a group of Japanese citizens were walking through Paris’s residential 17th district when an acid attack happened. A trio of hooded individuals approached the group, and one of the hooded individuals brandished a bottle, spraying its contents toward the Japanese citizens. The three hooded individuals then promptly fled the scene.

Though most of the Japanese citizens involved were not physically harmed, one individual sustained burn injuries on their hands and was immediately rushed to a local doctor for treatment. There is currently no information on the assailants, and lack of camera footage has impeded the determination of a potential suspect.

Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has since posted a notice on their Overseas Safety website and emailed Japanese nationals currently residing in France about the incident, providing details and warning individuals to be cautious of their surroundings.

▼ The Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ notice also stressed the danger of acid attacks. Victims can suffer a range of injuries, from burns to irreversible blindness if acid reaches the eyes.

As the victim has decided not to file a complaint, and in France a police investigation cannot begin until a formal complaint has been filed, it is uncertain whether or not more details about the acid attack will come to light.

While the situation renders factors such as the perpetrator’s motive unknown, it is still important to take a step back and acknowledge this incident within an international context.

According to nonprofit organization Human Rights Watch, crimes against individuals of Asian and Pacific Islander descent have increased in countries with a large Asian and Pacific Islander diaspora population.

For example, in the United States, the collective Stop AAPI Hate has recorded more than 2,800 incidents which happened in 2020 alone. Though each case has its own particular circumstances, many of these reported attacks have been spurred by COVID-19-related fear, the perpetrators maliciously associating individuals of Asian and Pacific Islander descent with COVID-19.

▼ “Safety First!” If you are a victim or a witness of such a crime,
please make sure to secure your personal safety first above all else.

On a more positive note, netizens have come together on social media platforms to deliver messages of support for the Japanese citizen injured in the acid attack, and for France’s Japanese community:

Even though the victim decided not to press charges, we need to emphasize that this isn’t some small issue!

Everyone please stay safe.

Praying for a speedy recovery.

Share and spread the word so more Japanese news sites pick up on it! This is really important to talk about.

Especially in these unprecedented, strange times we inhabit now, solidarity and acts of compassion are more important than ever.

References: Human Rights Watch, Stop AAPI Hate 
Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs Overseas Safety via Yahoo! Japan

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