Japan Times: GOJ claims to UN that it has made “every conceivable” effort to eliminate racial discrim


Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan
Hi Blog.  Long-time readers may find this guffaw-worthy.  I did.  Especially since it’s titled “the third, fourth, fifth and sixth combined periodic report”  [Japanese pdfEnglish pdf]–indicating just how late they’re filing a report that is actually due every two years.  What bunkum.  More on the GOJ’s relationship with the UN here.  And more here about how the GOJ seeks input from human rights groups but not really (when they allowed right-wingers to shout down a meeting last year).

Finally, just a point of logic: If the GOJ had taken “every conceivable measure” as it claims below, that would naturally include a law against racial discrimination, wouldn’t it?  But no.  And look what happens as a result. Arudou Debito in transit.

Japan Times Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2008

Japan defends steps to end discrimination 


Staff writer
OSAKA — In a new report to the United Nations [Japanese pdf, English pdf] the government outlines the situation of ethnic minorities and foreign residents in Japan, claiming it has made “every conceivable” effort over the past several years to eliminate racial discrimination. 

Occasionally sounding on the defensive, the report, released Friday, sidesteps the issue of a comprehensive law prohibiting discrimination between individuals.

Human rights groups and Doudou Diene, the U.N. special rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, have called for the passage of a law clearly against racism and xenophobia, as well as the establishment of an independent national human rights monitoring body.

The government has long held that Article 14 of the Constitution, which guarantees equality under the law, makes any antidiscrimination legislation superfluous, a point reiterated in the report.

“Japan has taken every conceivable measure to fight against racial discrimination,” the report’s introduction says, later adding that apartheid is unknown in Japan.

The report covers the situation of the Ainu, Korean residents and other foreigners. The government noted that there were an estimated 23,782 Ainu in 2006.

A Hokkaido Prefectural Government survey in 2006 showed 93.5 percent of Ainu youths go on to high school, and 17.4 percent go on to university, an improvement from recent years but below the national average, in which 98.3 percent of all youths enter high school. About 38 percent of all people who live in municipalities where Ainu reside go on to university, the survey noted.

About 30 percent of Hokkaido’s Ainu said they had experienced discrimination at school, in job interviews or when getting married, or that they knew of someone who had experienced such discrimination, the same survey indicated.

The report to the U.N. notes the Diet’s passage of a resolution in June recognizing the Ainu, and that the government has set up an advisory panel to discuss Ainu policies.





8 comments on “Japan Times: GOJ claims to UN that it has made “every conceivable” effort to eliminate racial discrim

  • The government has long held that Article 14 of the Constitution, which guarantees equality under the law, makes any antidiscrimination legislation superfluous…
    The point here being that in the Japanese version of the constitution, which always takes precedence over the English version, the word used for “people” is “minzoku”, which is defined as people of Japanese ethnicity (sic). IOW, it explicitly rules OUT NJ residents of Japan.
    The real reason the GOJ won’t pass an antidiscrimination law is because they are racists who see nothing wrong with discriminating against those of us from “lesser” races. This is also why Taro Aso won’t apologise for his family’s use of slave labour, and why Ishihara can say that the purpose of fingerprinting is to “keep stupid black people out of Tokyo”. To them, we really are inferior by virtue of our skin colour–and it is this point that the UN needs to understand in depth if it is ever to pressure the GOJ into making improvements.

  • Will a change in the ruling party give way to a passing of an anti-discrimination law? We simply can’t trust the nationalist LDP, especially Ishihara who is a real bigot.

  • That is a pretty outrageous claim the GOJ is making to be sure. An anti-discrimination law should be passed because the constitution mandates it.


    I think you should take a look at the Japanese version of the constitution again. The word “minzoku” does not appear anywhere. The word used to refer to “people” is “kokumin”, which is little different, albeit up for debate.

  • I believe that the government has taken every action they can take on discrimination…
    Except checking the meaning of descrimination.

    Sorry all, I am a bit down on Japan this eve, will be back to my good old self tomorrow.

  • Perhaps it’s not that GOJ is saying they have done everything that they can.
    It’s just that it’s inconceivable, completely unthinkable, to enact anti-discrimination laws!

  • So what was “every concievable” effort. I know what the constitution says, but since enacting that document, what have they done?

  • Why eliminate discrimination when we can PRETEND to eliminate discrimination and get just as far. Really. Like we were going to get anywhere to begin with. Nothing gained, nothing ventured. Easy peasy.


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