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Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination examines the report of Japan

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination today concluded its consideration of the combined tenth and eleventh periodic report of Japan on its implementation of the provisions of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

Presenting the report, Masato Otaka, Ambassador in charge of the United Nations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, said Japan had consistently placed importance on fundamental values, such as democracy, freedom, human rights and the rule of law for more than 70 years since the end of the Second World War.  As the issue of hate speech was attracting growing attention in Japanese society, the Government had enacted the Act on the Promotion of Efforts to Eliminate Unfair Discriminatory Speech and Behaviour against Persons Originating from Outside Japan in June 2016.  The Government also remained committed to proactively making efforts to formulate a comprehensive policy on the indigenous Ainu people, and to improve the situation of foreign interns.  Japan had developed the 2014 Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in Persons, and had established a council for the promotion of measures to combat trafficking in persons.  Finally, concerning the issue of comfort women, the Government considered that it did not fall under article 1 of the Convention.  At the same time, it recognized that it was an affront to the honour and dignity of a large number of women.  The Government had conveyed its sincerest apologies and remorse to the former comfort women.

In the ensuing discussion, Committee Experts inquired about the efforts to bring the definition of racial discrimination in the Constitution in line with article 1 of the Convention, to adopt comprehensive legislation prohibiting racial discrimination, and to establish a national human rights institution in line with the Paris Principles.  They further asked about the State party’s reservations to article 4 of the Convention, measures taken to combat hate speech in the media and on the Internet, the effects of the Hate Speech Elimination Act of 2016, the situation of minorities and indigenous peoples (the Ainu people), the Ryukyu/Okinawa people, discrimination against Burakumin (outcast community), and ethnic profiling of Muslims.  More information was requested on violence and intersecting forms of discrimination against minority women, comfort women, foreign workers and interns, particularly the indebtedness of foreign interns, the situation of foreign nationals, namely Koreans who had no right to vote or to occupy public posts, trafficking in persons, the low recognition rate of asylum-seekers, extraterritorial obligations of Japanese companies working abroad, minority media organizations, access to legal assistance by foreigners, the requirement for a re-entry permit prior to departure for “North Korean” passport holders, and subsidies for Korean schools.

In concluding remarks, Marc Bossyut, Committee Member and Country Rapporteur for Japan, thanked the delegation for all the provided information, even though the Committee might not be in agreement with every response.  Japan had a vibrant civil society and the Committee had tried to take their views into account.

On his part, Mr. Otaka thanked the Committee Experts for having listened to the delegation, adding that the delegation would provide the remainder of the answers in writing within the next 48 hours.  

Committee Chairperson Noureddine Amir thanked the delegation for its diligent work and the State party for its efforts to implement the Convention.  

The delegation of Japan included representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, the National Personnel Authority, the Cabinet Secretariat Comprehensive Ainu Policy Office, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, and the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations Office at Geneva.

The next public meeting of the Committee is expected to take place on Thursday, 30 August, to mark the closure of the ninety-sixth session.

Report

The Committee has before it the combined tenth and eleventh periodic report of Japan:  CERD/C/JPN/10-11.  

Presentation of the Report

MASATO OTAKA, Ambassador in charge of the United Nations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, commended the Committee’s tireless efforts towards the noble and universal goal of the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination.  It was 99 years ago when the international community, with the active participation of Japan, had taken initial steps to tackle racial discrimination at the Paris Peace Conference.  Japan had consistently placed importance on fundamental values, such as democracy, freedom, human rights and the rule of law for more than 70 years, since the end of the Second World War.  Japan had continued its efforts to protect human rights home and abroad.  As the issue of hate speech was attracting growing attention in Japanese society, the Government had enacted the Act on the Promotion of Efforts to Eliminate Unfair Discriminatory Speech and Behaviour against Persons Originating from Outside Japan in June 2016.  The Act declared that unfair discriminatory speech and behaviour against persons originating from outside Japan would not be tolerated.  Article 5 of the Hate Speech Elimination Act stipulated the responsibility of the Government to develop a counselling platform to eliminate unjust discriminatory speech and behaviour.  The Ministry of Justice had increased the number of languages available on the foreign-language human rights hotline and the human rights counselling centres for foreigners to six (English, Chinese, Korean, Filipino, Portuguese and Vietnamese).  As for online hate speech, the Ministry of Justice had taken various measures to raise public awareness.  

The Government remained committed to proactively making efforts to formulate a comprehensive policy on the indigenous Ainu people, while respecting their rights.  The authorities were in the process of constructing “symbolic space for ethnic harmony,” a national centre to revive the Ainu culture, which would be open to the public from April 2020.  In July 2009, the Advisory Council for Future Ainu Policy had presented a report to the Government of Japan, which in turn had established the Council for Ainu Policy Promotion to promote comprehensive and effective Ainu policies, while paying attention to the views and opinions of the Ainu people.  More than one third of members of the Council for Ainu Policy Promotion were Ainu people.  A survey conducted by the Hokkaido Prefectural Government showed continued improvement in the living standards of the Ainu people, but there still remained a gap between the Ainu and other residents in Hokkaido.  As for the promotion and protection of the Ainu culture, the Government had proceeded to make the Ainu language archives.  On the rights to land of the Ainu people, domestic law guaranteed property rights to everyone.

Turning to the Technical Intern Training Programme, the head of the delegation explained that the Government had passed the Act on Proper Technical Intern Training and Protection of Technical Intern Trainees, which had entered into force in November 2017.  The act prohibited human rights violations against technical intern trainees with penal provisions, specified the duty of supervising and implementing organizations to provide support for job transfer of technical intern trainees, and established the Organization for Technical Intern Training, which conducted investigation and inspection into supervising and implementing organizations.  On trafficking in persons, the head of the delegation reminded that Japan had developed the 2014 Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in Persons, and had established a council for the promotion of measures to combat trafficking in persons, comprising relevant Cabinet members.  The Ministry of Justice had strengthened the protection of foreign victims by amending the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act in 2005.  Finally, concerning the issue of comfort women, the Government considered that it was not appropriate for the consideration to take up the issue in terms of the implementation of the State party’s undertakings under the Convention as the Convention did not apply to any issues that occurred prior to Japan’s conclusion thereof and the issue did not fall under article 1 of the Convention.  At the same time, the Government recognized that the issue of comfort women was an affront to the honour and dignity of a large number of women.  The Government had announced its sincerest apologies and remorse to the former comfort women.  Japan had extended its maximum assistance to the Asian Women’s Fund, and had sent letters of apology to each former comfort woman.  The issue of compensation had been legally settled by the San Francisco Peace Treaty, the Agreement on the Settlement of Problems Concerning Property and Claims and on Economic Cooperation between Japan and the Republic of Korea, and other treaties.

A number of ministries and agencies had been engaged in the process of preparing the State party’s report, and the Government had sought opinions from a wide range of members of civil society through the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and it had held dialogues in public meetings.  The Government recognized the importance of activities by non-governmental organizations aimed at promoting human rights.  There seemed to be a stereotype that Japan had an insular and exclusive culture given its nature as an island country.  But more and more people had been visiting Japan, and the country would host the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo.  In compliance with the Olympic Charter, the national Constitution, and the Convention, Japan would continue to work tirelessly to contribute to the promotion and protection of human rights, Mr. Otaka concluded.

Questions by the Country Rapporteur

MARC BOSSUYT, Committee Member and Country Rapporteur for Japan, congratulated Japan on its regularity and punctuality in the presentation of its reports.  Mr. Bossuyt inquired about the efforts to bring the definition of racial discrimination in the Constitution in line with article 1 of the Convention, to adopt comprehensive legislation prohibiting racial discrimination, and to establish a national human rights institution in line with the Paris Principles.  

He also asked about the efforts to withdraw reservations on article 4 of the Convention, the measures taken to combat hate speech in the media and on the Internet, particularly about the implementation of the Broadcast Act, and on the number of reports, investigations, prosecutions and convictions for hate speech and hate crimes.  

Mr. Bossuyt observed that the targets of the Hate Speech Elimination Act of 2016 were limited to persons lawfully residing in Japan, and that it appeared to have only very limited effects as a remedy for minorities in Japan.  The State party should strictly condemn any discriminatory statements by public officials and remove them from office.  

Turning to the situation of minorities and indigenous peoples, the Country Rapporteur asked about the measures to improve the situation of the Ainu people, namely access to employment, education, living conditions, land rights and natural resources, culture and language.  

On the Ryukyu/Okinawa people, Mr. Bossuyt reminded that the Committee had previously recommended that they be recognized as indigenous people, which the State party had rejected.  Advocacy groups continued to report that widespread discrimination in employment, marriage, housing and property assessment against the Burakumin people (outcast communities) persisted.  Another issue was ethnic profiling of Muslims in Japan.  

Moving on to violence against minority women, the Country Rapporteur asked for information on the impact of the 2015 Fourth Basic Plan for Gender Equality on preventing violence against minority and indigenous women.  What was the number of reported cases of such violence?  

With respect to the issue of comfort women, Mr. Bossuyt said that public officials should refrain from making thoughtless remarks regarding the responsibility of the Government of Japan, and reminded that the system of sexual slavery established by the Japanese Imperial Army had not been confined to Korea.  

As for foreign workers in Japan, who numbered about 1.28 million in 2017, it had been reported that foreign permanent residents, including many who had been born, raised and educated in the country, were subjected to various forms of entrenched social discrimination, including restricted access to housing, education, healthcare and employment.  

On the Technical Intern Training Programme, in November 2017 the Government had started to accept the first 10,000 Vietnamese nationals to be admitted under that programme to meet Japan’s labour shortage.  Non-governmental organizations maintained that Government oversight was insufficient.  

As for non-citizens, out of more than 4,000 surveyed foreign nationals, 40 per cent had said that they could not access housing because they were foreign nationals, while 25 per cent had been refused employment for that reason.  Foreign nationals and foreign looking citizens were prohibited entry to privately owned facilities serving the public, including hotels and restaurants.  Did foreigners have the right to pension benefits?  

There were approximately 400,000 Koreans in Japan, the majority of them forced to live in Japan when Korea was a Japanese colony, and their descendants.  They remained foreign nationals and did not have the right to vote or to serve as public servants.  Mr. Bossuyt raised the issue of State funding for Korean schools which had been traditionally tied with “North Korea”.  

The Country Rapporteur noted that Japan had not adopted specific legislation on trafficking in persons, and that the number of arrests and convictions were quite low.  In 2017, the number of asylum applications in the country had risen by 80 per cent.  However, the recognition rate was extremely low (barely 0.17 per cent).  In addition, unrestricted detention of asylum seekers remained problematic.  Mr. Bossuyt recommended that the State party introduce a maximum period for immigration detention, and that it allow applicants for refugee status to work six months following their application.

Questions by Other Experts

GUN KUT, Committee Member and Rapporteur for Follow-up to Concluding Observations, informed that Japan had submitted the interim report one year later than expected.  The Committee had raised three issues to be addressed in the interim report: violence against foreign and minority women, comfort women, and the Burakumin (outcast community).  What was the nationality of children of foreign women married to Japanese men?  There was a lack of information on comfort women in the periodic report.

Would Japan withdraw its reservation to article 4 of the Convention (propaganda and incitement to racial hatred)?  What was the nature and scope of the reservation, and why was it necessary?  An Expert recommended that the State party read the Committee’s General Recommendation No. 35 on combatting racist speech.  Should freedom of expression not be limited when the public was incited to “kill Koreans”?  

Did victims of hate crimes receive any support from the authorities to report hate crimes?  Was there any training on hate crimes to judges, prosecutors and police officials?  How did education influence hate speech in the country?  Could Koreans wear their national clothes without fear?  The Committee had received reports about increasing online hate speech against the Koreans and Chinese.  Why was the Hate Speech Elimination Act limited only to people with origin from outside Japan?  

An Expert inquired about offering apologies and adequate reparation to former comfort women, noting that agreements between governments were not able to adequately extinguish individual claims of human rights abuses.  That issue was a wound that had been festering for far too long.  

Some 33 per cent of surveyed people in Japan felt that they had been victims of discrimination in education, employment and marriage.  What measures would the Government adopt to deal with that problem?  Was there any statistical information about the impact of anti-discrimination legislation and about the impact of the burden of proof?  Did the burden of proof extend to the field of employment and labour?

How could Japan play a much more active role within the International Decade for People of African Descent?  What role did ethnic groups play in combatting climate change?  What were the extraterritorial obligations of Japanese companies working abroad in terms of climate change?

One Expert shared her own experience of receiving online hateful comments from the Japanese public on her social media platforms.  She regretted the recent rise in hate speech and demonstrations in Japan, which meant the Government needed to step up its efforts to fight that trend.  How did the school curriculum enable minorities to rightly represent their culture?  How could they self-interpret the issues that affected them, and how were minority media organizations enabled to work?  

Japan had not provided any information on the situation of Burakumin.  Individuals were sometimes subjected to personal background searches in order to uncover their Burakumin background.  Discrimination against Burakumin was not explicitly prohibited.  Why did Japan reject the United Nations assessment that the discrimination against Burakumin was caste-based?  Did the State party envisage to make legal amendments to ensure the equal treatment of Burakumin?  How did the Government plan to involve Burakumin representatives in the issues that concerned them, and to raise public awareness about their discrimination?  

Could foreigners access public legal assistance on the same terms as Japanese nationals?  One Expert pointed out to the continued practice of withdrawal of residence permits for foreign women married to Japanese men.  Could the State party envisage the introduction of school classes on the language, culture and history of the Korean people in Japan?  Would the State party consider granting the right to vote to Korean residents at least in local elections, and remove legal obstacles for Koreans to occupy public posts?

Experts inquired about how Japan applied the system of re-entry permit prior to departure for “North Korean” passport holders (about 30,000 persons), who had been born in Japan.  Furthermore, Experts asked about the indebtedness of foreign interns.  There were more than 270,000 technical interns in Japan.  The Act on Proper Technical Intern Training and Protection of Technical Intern Trainees lacked provisions dealing with the forced repatriation of interns.

It seemed that the central Government had encouraged local governments to cease their subsidies for Korean schools linked with “North Korea”, an Expert said, asking for further clarification.  

Japan rejected that the Ryukyu/Okinawa people were indigenous people.  Did the State party plan to protect that population from the impact of the United States’ military base?  

Did Japan plan to ratify the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons in order to protect those persons who had lost Japanese nationality?

An Expert inquired about equal opportunities in education, namely about the dropout rates of minority and foreign children.  Another Expert asked if the basic act on education was completely aligned with the UNESCO Convention against Discrimination in Education?  

Replies by the Delegation

MASATO OTAKA, Ambassador in charge of the United Nations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, explained that Japanese legislation contained all the elements of article 4 of the Convention.  The Penal Code covered slander and defamation of individuals and groups.  To control all such practices with criminal laws and regulations beyond the current legal system was likely to be contrary to the freedom of expression and other freedoms as guaranteed by the Japanese Constitution.  That was because the concept referred to in article 4 of the Convention might include various practices under diverse conditions.  However, the Government did not want to introduce legislation that would improperly reduce freedom of expression.  The Japanese Constitution covered prevention of racial discrimination.  Under the Labour Standards Act, discrimination on the basis of social origin was banned.  Likewise, under the Education Act, all citizens had to be given an opportunity to receive education, whereas no citizen should not be denied access to medicines under relevant healthcare law.  The Ministry of Justice responded to reports of alleged racial discrimination, and undertook swift investigation and took appropriate measures according to the outcome of the investigation.  

Responding to the Experts’ questions about the Japanese people living in Okinawa, the head of the delegation stressed that they enjoyed the same rights as all other Japanese citizens.  The only indigenous people of Japan were the Ainu people.  The people in Okinawa were not widely considered as indigenous people, and most of them did not consider themselves as such.  There were colourful traditions in Okinawa and the Government recognized and respected that fact.  In order to deal with the unemployment among youth in Okinawa, the authorities had encouraged tourist activity.

Turning to the situation of Burakumin and caste-based discrimination, Mr. Otaka clarified that Burakumin were Japanese citizens and not a different ethnic group.  The authorities did not tolerate any discrimination, and wanted to create a society free of inequalities.  There were laws to eliminate discrimination against Burakumin.  Historically, some people in Japan had been forced to endure a lower status economically, socially and culturally.  The Ministry of Justice had conducted public awareness campaigns on that issue in easily understandable formats, and it had also been undertaking efforts towards the elimination of discrimination against Burakumin on the Internet.

On comfort women, Mr. Otaka acknowledged that many women had suffered and the Government wanted to show its remorse and regret.  The authorities had supported victims in terms of welfare and medical treatment, and the Prime Minister had sent letters of apology to each former comfort woman.  The issue did not only concern Korean women, but also women of other nationalities.  So far, 61 former Korean comfort women had received reparations through the Asian Women’s Fund.  As for some statements that denied the existence of the issue of comfort women, that was not the position of the Japanese Government.  

With the 2015 agreement between Japan and the Republic of Korea, the authorities had agreed to restore the dignity of former comfort women through a final and irreversible solution.  Many women had received support and medical treatment.  The position of the Japanese Government was that the phrase “sexual slavery” was not appropriate and it strongly opposed the use of such a phrase.

As for an independent national human rights institution, Mr. Otaka explained that Japan had conducted an appropriate review of the framework for a human rights remedy system, incorporating the discussions made thus far, while paying due regard to the Paris Principles.  

The Government of Japan recognized that by revising the Penal Code in 2005 it had achieved the criminalization of all types of trafficking in persons, which the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons Especially Women and Children required.  Foreign victims of trafficking were given a special visa to stay in Japan; there was a female information centre to provide assistance to victims, and the authorities worked closely with foreign diplomatic representations.  The Government was, thus, of the view that there was no need to adopt new legislation on trafficking in persons.  The Immigration Bureau was very strict in monitoring sea and air entry points.  The police and other concerned authorities provided relevant briefings to businesses and carried out raids if needed.  The Coast Guard provided information about criminal proceedings with respect to trafficking cases, and provided leaflets with support information for victims.  Foreign victims of trafficking could not be denied any treatment because they were foreigners.  

Japan had been providing accommodation, healthcare and employment opportunities to foreigners who sought a refugee status for a long time.  As for applicants staying legally in Japan (more than 90 per cent of applications), a status of residence with permission to work had been issued, between six to eight months after their application for recognition as a refugee, except in cases of abuse or misuse of the refugee recognition system.  As for the profiling of ethnic or religious groups, it was forbidden under the law, and police and prison officers received robust training on human rights.

The Basic Act of Education stipulated that all citizens enjoyed equal opportunities for education and that any discrimination was forbidden.  Foreigners could receive compulsory education on the same footing with Japanese citizens, or attend private schools.  The Government wanted to eliminate discrimination in employment and thus carried out awareness raising with employers.  Healthcare was provided to everyone regardless of their citizenship.  

On Japanese companies working abroad, the delegation mentioned some initiatives with the aim of respecting human rights in the context of business, such as the Charter of Corporate Behaviour set by the Japanese Business Federation, and the launch of a process to formulate a National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights.  

Speaking of the right to vote for local government representatives, the delegation recalled that according to the 1995 judgment of the Japanese Supreme Court, only Japanese nationals had the right to vote for local government representatives.  As for foreign residents in Japan who did not hold a valid passport, they had to obtain a travel document for re-entry.  “North Korean” passports, as well as passports of some other countries, were not considered valid travel documents by the Government due to lack of diplomatic relations.  Accordingly, one could not speak of racial discrimination in that case.  

The authorities would not tolerate any hate speech against any one, the delegation stressed.  For example, in a hate speech case against the principal of the Korean school in Kyoto, four individuals had been convicted on charges of forcible obstruction of business and insults.  A wide range of training on human rights was provided to judges, prosecutors, public servants, police officers, immigration officers, and teachers.  Measures to prevent hate speech included increasing the value of human rights in society through public awareness campaigns, including through comics (manga).  

The Government had a legal bureau to assist victims whose rights had been breached, including victims of hate speech.  A public opinion survey of 2017 had revealed that about 12 per cent of those who had witnessed a demonstration of hate speech thought that it did not concern them.  Speaking of racial discrimination in the media, the delegation explained that in line with the Broadcasting Act, broadcasters were required to air appropriate content and their reporting should not distort facts.  In case any information in breach of human rights appeared on the Internet, the authorities received allegations from victims and, if it was deemed that a human rights violation existed, they requested Internet providers to remove such information.

On the issue of Korean schools traditionally tied with “North Korea”, the delegation explained that children with foreign nationality were eligible to receive public education in Japan without any other charge for compulsory education.  There was support for them to learn their mother tongue.  There were 126 miscellaneous schools for foreigners in the country.  As for the High School Tuition Support Fund System, schools were to be subjects for the fund as long as they met the criteria stipulated in the law, such as the proper operations and management of those schools.  Since the authorities were unable to confirm whether Korean schools had met the criteria stipulated in the law, they could not be designated for the fund.  Korean schools had not been excluded because students were Korean residents of Japan, or for political and diplomatic reasons.  Five Korean schools had filed lawsuits against the Government.  Among the four rulings judged by each respective local court, three had been gained by the Government.  There was also another source of funding for schools granted by local governments on their own judgments.  Students who had graduated from foreign schools could sit in on university entry exams.
 
With respect to the education, employment and living conditions of the Ainu people, the Government had implemented a policy to improve their economic and social situation in Hokkaido.  A periodic survey was conducted to measure the success of the policy.

Second Round of Questions by Committee Experts

Were there any examples of the prosecution of hate crimes in line with article 4 of the Convention?  Were there any examples of the prosecution of incitement to ethnic violence?  Were the police specifically trained about racist motivation in crimes?  

Hate speech had increased since the introduction of the Hate Speech Prevention Act of 2016.  How could that be explained?  

Why could teachers of foreign nationalities not be assigned to managerial positions?  Foreigners could not serve as conciliation commissioners (mediators in family matters) either.  How did the State party ensure that minorities, indigenous people, and people discriminated against on the basis of their social origin could influence decision-making?  

The approximate number of Ainu people in Japan was 13,000; only 25.8 per cent of Ainu secondary school students continued their education at the university level.

Did the State party have any mechanism for follow-up to recommendations by the United Nations treaty bodies?  

Speaking of the Asian Women’s Fund for former comfort women, one Expert reminded that it had been set up without any recognition of legal responsibility by the Government of Japan.  In addition, victims had been approached individually thus hurting the dignity of victims.  That was not a victim-oriented approach.  Since the 1990s, the United Nations had begun using term “sexually slavery” to refer to the issue of comfort women.  

Referring to Korean schools that had not received subsidies, an Expert asked what regulations they had not followed.  The issue of the abduction of Japanese citizens by “North Korea” was mentioned as one of the reasons for withholding funding.

A 2016 study revealed that Korean women suffered from anxiety due to increased hate speech against Koreans in Japan.  Similar studies on Burakumin, Ainu and foreign women also revealed that they suffered from intersecting forms of discrimination.  What remedies were in place to address that problem?  

MARC BOSSUYT, Committee Member and Country Rapporteur for Japan, commended as positive the entry into force of the Hate Speech Elimination Act in 2016.  However, it had some defects, such as limitation to citizens of foreign origin only.  That act needed some improvement.  

On comfort women, Mr. Bossuyt observed that State-to-State solutions were perhaps not the best solution for that issue, and noted that he did not understand the State party’s position that “sexual slavery” was not an appropriate term to describe it.

With respect to using the argument of Japanese abductees by “North Korea” to withhold funding from Korean schools, the Country Rapporteur noted that children had nothing to do with the abductions, and that, in any case, most students were of South Korean origin.  

Replies by the Delegation

MASATO OTAKA, Ambassador in charge of the United Nations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, noted that Japan took pride in prioritizing freedom of expression.  In 2016, the Government and the Parliament had held a full-fledged discussion on how to cope with the issue of hate speech, and had decided that the current measures were what Japan should be doing.  At the same time, they had also decided that the ultimate goal was to eliminate hate speech, and a strong message that hate speech should not be tolerated had been delivered.  The authorities wanted to involve people in a bottom-up approach in order to stamp out hate speech and to enlighten people so that they understood that hate speech should not be tolerated.  Mr. Otaka stated that such an approach might take some time, but he believed that it was the right approach to stamp out hate speech.  

In order to become public servants involved in decision-making, persons needed to hold Japanese citizenship.  Other public positions not involving decision-making were open to foreigners, such as medical doctors and researchers.  Conciliation commissioners (mediators at family courts) needed to have Japanese nationality because such work affected the formation of Japanese ideas.  Teaching positions not involved in decision-making for school management were open to foreigners.

Concluding Remarks

MARC BOSSUYT, Committee Member and Country Rapporteur for Japan, thanked the delegation for all the provided information, even though the Committee might not be in agreement with every response.  Japan had a vibrant civil society and the Committee had tried to take their views into account.

MASATO OTAKA, Ambassador in charge of the United Nations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, thanked the Committee Experts for having listened to the delegation.  Within the next 48 hours the delegation would provide the remainder of the answers in writing.  

NOUREDDINE AMIR, Committee Chairperson, thanked the delegation for its diligent work and the State party for its efforts to implement the Convention.
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