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Still, the conversation is shifting only gradually in Japan, and the resistance can be stiff.

“I knew it wasn’t going to be diverse, but I also knew I wasn’t going to be afraid for my life,” said Ms. Nguasong, who previously worked as a mental health coordinator for former inmates.

She did find physical security in Japan, where crime rates are low and police killings are rare.

But she could not escape racism, even if in Japan it takes a less violent form.

Ms. Nguasong said that she had noticed looks and whispers from local Japanese people, and that passengers had avoided sitting next to her on trains.

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