(Latest UN report. Lots on trafficking, some on child rights and corporal punishment, very little to nothing on racial discrimination in general. Anyway, baby steps. Data of note to Debito.org italicized. Debito)
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Summary of the State under Review
Interactive dialogue and responses by the State under Review
Courtesy of Eric Kalmus
Conclusions and/or Recommendations
On 28 February 2008, the Human Rights Council selected the following group
of rapporteurs (troika) to facilitate the review of Japan: Djibouti, France
and Indonesia. The delegation of Japan was headed by H.E. Mr Yoshitaka
Akimoto, Ambassador in charge of United Nations Affairs, Ministry of Foreign
(i) Summary of the State under Review
– Japan stated that it regards the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of
International Child Abduction and the Convention on Jurisdiction, Applicable
Law, Recognition, and Cooperation in respect of Parental Responsibility and
Measures for the Protection of Children as effective tools for children’s
rights and welfare, and will continue to study the possible conclusion of
the two conventions by giving due consideration to, inter alia, the current
social system, and the cultural situation of Japan.
[NB: Even though PM Fukuda has recently made it clear he sees no need for legislation to back up aspects of the treaty, so one wonders how the Convention will be enforced.]
– On the question of the marriageable age in Japan, it was explained that in
February 1996, the Legislative Council of the Minister of Justice submitted
an outline of a Bill to Revise Part of the Civil Code suggesting that the
marriageable age should be 18 years for both men and women. Japan stated
that this issue constitutes an important subject involving the marriage
system and the concept of a family and since there were various opinions
across all levels of civil society, close attention was being paid to trends
in public opinion.
(ii) Interactive Dialogue with the State under Review
– Algeria recommended that Japan implement the calls by, inter alia, the
Committee on the Rights of the Child to establish human rights institutions
in accordance with the Paris Principles as soon as possible.
– Algeria also asked for information on how Japan proposes to address the
issue of violence against women and girls.
– Philippines encouraged Japan to further develop appropriate strategies and
programmes to counter the negative effects of ‘ijime’ or bullying in
– China welcomed the implementation of comprehensive legal support and
awareness activities, including on child abuse and child pornography.
– Referring to reports indicating, inter alia, a high prevalence of
gender-based violence and child abuse, Canada recommended that Japan
continue to take measures to reduce the incidence of violence against women
and children, inter alia, by ensuring that law enforcement officials receive
human rights training, and funding recovery and counselling centres for
victims of violence.
– Canada referred to studies showing that an increase in international
marriages has resulted in an increase in complex divorce and custody cases
and noted that there is no formal mechanism to deal with international child
custody cases. It recommended that Japan develop a mechanism to ensure the
prompt return of children who have been wrongfully removed from or prevented
from returning to their habitual place of residence, and also examine the
possibility of acceding to the 1980 Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of
International Child Abduction.
– While recognizing measures already taken by Japan, Canada recommended that
it continue its efforts to combat trafficking in persons with a special
emphasis on women and children.
– With regard to measures to prevent trafficking in persons, Japan provided
information, inter alia, on special provisions enabling victims of
trafficking to stabilise their legal status, and that they are provided with
medical treatment. An anonymous reporting line was established in 2007 to
assist victims, and leaflets with information are published in nine
languages. If victims wish to return to their home countries, Japan closely
coordinates with interested agencies to support this and with other
countries on these issues.
– The Ministry of Justice has developed protection systems to address the
issue of bullying in schools, including the establishment of the Children’s
Rights Hotline and the circulation of Children’s Rights SOS lettercards to
all elementary and secondary schools. The Ministry of Education, Culture,
Sports, Science and Technology is promoting the activities of the local
schools and the boards of education through such activities as the provision
of guidance and seminars, organizing model programmes to solve problems of
bullying and violence at school, and supporting the school counselling
– Japan noted that various foreigners’ schools, including Korean schools,
are accepted as miscellaneous schools by the prefectures and that there is
no discrimination between other miscellaneous schools and Korean schools.
– With respect to the international standards concerning the rights of the
child and women, Mexico would appreciate information on measures that may
currently be applied concerning civil rights and protection against violence
and trafficking and the necessary support for these victims.
– The Netherlands recommended that Japan adhere to the 1980 Hague Convention
of Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.
– Brazil thanked Japan for its full support and participation in the Third
World Congress Against Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents, to
be held in Rio de Janeiro in November 2008. While recognizing measures taken
by Japan in various other fields of human rights, it asked Japan about the
main concrete steps taken in the promotion and the fulfilment of the rights
of the child and of women.
– Turkey noted the high legal standards in Japan for the protection of
vulnerable groups, in particular children, elderly and the people with
disabilities. It noted that there are specific legal provisions aimed to
protect the children from abuse, prostitution and child pornography and
encouraged Japan to take further steps related to recovery and counselling
services for victims.
– Regarding corporal punishment of children, it noted that the existing law
does not cover punishment at home and wished to learn whether there is any
plan to extend the scope of the concerned legislation.
– Ukraine noted with satisfaction the measures regarding the rights of the
child and encouraged Japan to continue its efforts in this area.
– Azerbaijan asked for Japan’s views on implementing the recommendation of
the Committee on the Rights of the Child to amend its legislation to
eliminate any discrimination against children born out of wedlock.
– Following the interventions, Japan noted significant changes including in
the social environment, and that child prostitution, child pornography and
child abuse are becoming more serious and referred to measures taken in
order to address such changes, inter alia, to recent legislation passed on
– Jordan commended Japan on the effort to establish a legal and
institutional framework for the promotion of human rights and asked about
the challenges that it faces in protecting the victims of trafficking.
– Italy noted that corporal punishment, although legally prohibited in
schools, continues to be widely practiced and asked what measures had been
taken to address the concerns expressed by the Committee on the Rights of
the Child in this regard and recommended that Japan expressly prohibit all
forms of corporal punishment of children and promote positive and
non-violent forms of discipline.
– Japan informed that corporal punishment by teachers and principals is
prohibited in the School Education Law and also that it promotes non-violent
measures based on trust between the teachers and students. In the case that
corporal punishment is actually carried out by school teachers, they are
reprimanded through the appropriate procedures.
(iii) Conclusions and/or Recommendations
In the course of the discussion, the following recommendations were made to
– Consider ratifying/Ratify the Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of
International Child Abduction, 1980 (Canada, Netherlands);
– Encourage the continued taking of measures relating to discrimination
against women in particular to raise the age of marriage to 18 for women as
for men (France);
– Continue to take measures to reduce the incidence of violence against
women and children, inter alia, by ensuring that law enforcement officials
receive human rights training, and to fund recovery and counselling centres
for victims of violence (Canada);
– Continue the efforts to combat trafficking in persons with a special
emphasis on women and children (Canada);
– Develop a mechanism to ensure the prompt return of children who have been
wrongly removed from or prevented from returning to their habitual place of
– Prohibit expressly all forms of corporal punishment of children and
promote positive and non-violent forms of discipline (Italy);
Organisation Contact Details:
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations Office at Geneva
1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland