JAPAN TIMES • 16 October 1990


Black U.S. Exec Joins Chorus Seeking Ouster of Minister

By BRIAN COVERT
REGIONAL CORRESPONDENT

OSAKA Albert Nellum, head of the influential U.S. Black Business Council, had initially planned his current Japan trip mainly to support an African-American gospel group’s regional tour here.

But since Justice Minister Seiroku Kajiyama’s derogatory remarks against American Blacks surfaced Sept. 22, Nellum now finds himself joining a different kind of chorus: that of overseas business and government leaders calling for Kajiyama’s immediate resignation.

“I’m in total agreement with that request,” Nellum said in an interview. “It’s just been one insult too many” by Japanese politicians, he added.

“The people we’re talking about here are all high-placed officials,” he said. “What’s the (Japanese) guy on the street thinking if that’s what is coming from the top?”

Nellum mentioned the possibility of the Black Business Council backing a full-scale boycott of Japanese products sold in the U.S. as one way of protest.

“There are members of the board of the Black Business Council who are urging that there be such a move, and that the business council endorse and participate (in it),” he said.

“I’d say the chances are very, very good” that a boycott would go into effect if the issue is not satisfactorily resolved, he said.

The Black Business Council joins a host of other prominent African-American organizations, including the Congressional Black Caucus and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, that have demanded that Kajiyama resign for his public comments likening American blacks to unwelcome Tokyo prostitutes.

While Nellum does not want to see such negative remarks overshadow positive influences like the Roberts’ Revival gospel group, he does maintain that African Americans from various sectors of society will continue to protest this issue.

“My colleagues have long since lost patience,” Nellum said, “and mine as well is about at an end.”

( © Japan Times 1990)