“Q. If we take Japan as an example, we can almost say that there is almost no existence of Ainu. You have mentioned it was due to the difference of systems.
A. I did mention earlier that it is because of the difference of systems, but I think it would be dangerous to attribute everything to a difference of systems. Even if we say that [the differing policies] stem from the difference between a capitalist state and a socialist state, this is valid, right? The reason it worked in China is because the ethnic minorities are regarded as human beings on the same level as the majority. On that point, in Japan people say that the Ainu people are ‘the same as other Japanese’ but they do not see us as the same ‘human beings’. There is no reason why it should be impossible in Japan. I do not think it is impossible due to a difference of systems” (Anutari Ainu, Vol. 9, April 20, 1974, pp.1-2).
While they were on their trip, the Ainu delegates perceived that ethnic minorities in China were generally treated with respect. In contrast, back in Japan, the delegates experienced contradicting forms of oppression: their Ainu identity was ignored, but they also were treated less than human because they were Ainu. With this context in mind, the delegates concluded that China’s treatment of ethnic minority groups was a model that they needed to work towards.