Some foreign people living or having stayed in Japan seem to be negative about a word “Gaijin”. They may consider it as a derogatory term.
There are two interpretations of the word.
I guess the majority of Japanese people use the word as the former one. When they use the word, probably they have no intention of discriminating.
When I was taking an Irish teacher’s lesson at the university, I think he said that “foreign nationals” is encouraged to be used in Ireland, instead of “foreigners”. This might be a bit similar to “gaijin” and “gaikokujin”.
As a child, I learnt that “gaijin” is not a proper word , so I haven’t used it. However, the word has become too common now, so I don’t think Japanese people will stop using the word.
Sometimes I see “JAP” being used, but I feel many of those who use “JAP” don’t know that it is a derogatory term. When I was in another country, someone shouted at me, “JAP”. I guess he said that as a derogatory term. But honestly, I didn’t feel anything. The sound of “JAP” was nothing, but an abbreviation of “Japan” to me.
These days, racism is a word that I often hear. As for me, I don’t much care about racism, since I stay at home usually.