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Hi Blog. Something important is going on here. Comment follows article excerpt:
Debate on anti-discrimination bill begins in Diet
BY REIJI YOSHIDA
THE JAPAN TIMES, AUG 4, 2015
The Diet started deliberations Tuesday on a bill that would ban racial discrimination, including harassment and hate speech, and oblige the government to draw up anti-discrimination programs that report every year to lawmakers.
The bill, submitted to the Upper House by opposition lawmakers, was crafted to cope with a recent rise in discrimination against non-Japanese, in particular ethnic Koreans.
However, it does not have punitive provisions and whether it will ever be enacted remains unclear, as lawmakers of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party reportedly remain reluctant to support the proposal.
The Democratic Party of Japan, the Social Democratic Party and independent Upper House member Keiko Itokazu jointly submitted the bill.
Speaking in the Lower House in February, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe emphasized that racial discrimination, including hate speech, should never be tolerated in Japan.
But at the same time, he indicated he is reluctant to push for a new law, saying the government instead will use existing laws to deal with discrimination and promote enlightenment and educational activities.
“First, the government will properly apply existing laws to eradicate hate speech and racial discrimination,” Abe told the Lower House Budget Committee.
However, as Komeito lawmaker Toru Kunishige pointed out during that committee session, current laws apply only to defamation and insults against specific individuals, and not to hate speech against unspecified people of a racial group.
In August last year, the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination urged the Japanese government to regulate hate speech by law, following a rise in racist demonstrations mainly targeting Korean residents.
The Upper House bill would ban:
Unjustifiable discrimination based on race.
Insults and harassment because of the race of a person.
Use of discriminatory and abusive language and activities in public against unspecified people of a certain race. […]
COMMENT FROM DEBITO: Well, I’m heartened that somebody in Japanese politics these days still cares about the plight of Japan’s minorities, particularly its Visible Minorities in particular, who will be affected by, as the opposition Democratic Party of Japan put it, “racial discrimination” (jinshu sabetsu). Good to see that term resurfacing in the letter of the law.
- The DPJ hasn’t a snowball’s chance of getting this passed. The numbers simply aren’t there given the Liberal Democratic Party coalition’s overwhelming majority in both houses of the Diet. And,
- It’s already front-loaded for failure, what with:
- a) the caveats of “unjustifiable discrimination based upon race” (ah, it’s so sad that there are concessions made for the obviously “justifiable” examples of racial discrimination in Japanese society), and
- b) the lack of any punitive measures for offenders. In other words, the same old law that has no enforcement power, such as the Equal Employment Opportunities Law that has not affected the equal employment of women (in terms of equalizing salaries) one jot in Japan.
Anyway, I’ve tried doing something like this in the past (now over a decade ago; how time flies). I think it’ll probably end up just as ignored. Nice try DPJ, and I salute you for it. It’s a pity you’ve already added the caveats that will void the bill even before it’s killed in debate. Dr. ARUDOU, Debito