JAPAN: Government submits progress report on UPR recommendations

Summary: The government of Japan recently submitted a mid-term UPR report, which documented their implementation progress on recommendations they accepted during their review. CRIN has highlighted the government's response to children's rights recommendations accepted.

What is a mid-term report?

States are encouraged to voluntarily submit update reports on the steps they are taking to implement the recommendations made to them during their reviews.

In addition to posting the full mid-term report (see above), CRIN has extracted the children's rights recommendations accepted by Japan, together with the government's response on how they are implementing the recommendations.

Implementation progress on accepted recommendations

Japan commented on the following accepted recommendations: 

1. Consider concluding the following human rights treaties, including: The Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, 1980.

With the best interest of children in mind, the government aims to reach a decision as early as possible on the possibility of concluding the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. To this end, relevant ministries and agencies are working closely and are also taking into account a broad range of views.

2. Implement the calls by, inter alia, the Human Rights Committee and the Committee on the Rights of the Child to establish a human rights institution in accordance with the Paris Principles as soon as possible.

The Government submitted a Human Rights Protection Bill to the Diet in March 2002 in order to, among other purposes, establish a new human rights institution. The Bill did not pass, however, because of the dissolution of the House of Representatives in October 2003. There have been arguments concerning various issues such as the scope of human rights infringements eligible for remedy, the measures to guarantee the independence of the human rights institution, and the details of the authority to investigate infringements. At present, therefore, the bill on a new human rights institution has not yet been re- submitted to the Diet. Japan will continue to work on studies toward the establishment of a national human rights institution in accordance with the Paris Principles in order to realize a more effective remedy for the victims of human rights infringements.

8. 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 (subparagraph 14)

Prosecution officials:

The Ministry of Justice provides various training programs for prosecution officials according to their years of experience. As part of such training, the Ministry organizes lectures that take into account the characteristics of prosecution officials' duties, including a lecture on "international treaties on human rights" and a lecture on "due consideration for children and women in conducting prosecution activities".

Officials at correction facilities:

The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare covers and assists with, in accordance with the relevant law, expenses on the management and protection of such facilities as Child Guidance Centers, Women's Consulting Offices, and Women's Protection Facilities which function as rehabilitation and consulting facilities for child and female victims of violence.

9. Continue the efforts to combat trafficking in persons with a special emphasis on women and children (subparagraph 15)

Japan revised its existing action plan and formulated Japan's 2009 Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in Persons in December 2009 based on the recognition that trafficking in persons is a serious crime and grave violation of human rights. According to the Action Plan, ministries and agencies concerned led by the Cabinet Secretariat have been working closely in implementing measures comprehensively in the areas of the prevention and eradication of trafficking in persons and the protection of victims. Specifically, Japan intends to consider implementing those policy measures contained in the Action Plan, including the enhancement of provision of services in victims' mother languages and services for women, the consideration of the operation of a multi-language hotline, and the further strengthening of the strict response to sexual exploitation of children and of efforts to eliminate child pornography. Efforts to promote international cooperation include strengthening bilateral collaboration on measures to combat trafficking in persons mainly through the dispatch of Government Delegations; providing assistance through the IOM to victims of trafficking in persons for their return home and reintegration into society; and implementing projects centered on the protection of, and palliative care for, victims, through the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Thailand and other countries.

10. 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 residence (subparagraph 16)

Japan has been addressing the issue in cooperation with other countries concerned with the basic principle being to attach importance to the welfare of children who are put in a difficult situation. Japan has also taken measures to raise awareness of Japanese nationals abroad and has introduced stricter control on the issuance of passports for minors, from the perspective of preventing children from being wrongfully removed. The Government of Japan is also seriously engaged in the issue of international child abduction. With the best interest of children in mind, the government aims to reach a decision as early as possible on the possibility of concluding the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. To this end, relevant ministries and agencies are working closely and are also taking into account a broad range of views.

11. Prohibit expressly all forms of corporal punishment of children and promote positive and non-violent forms of discipline (subparagraph 17)

Article 11 of Japan's School Education Law strictly prohibits corporal punishment. The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology has provided guidance to this effect, through notifications and annual conferences / training sessions for teachers and related personnel, implemented by the boards of education. On the other hand, Article 822 of the Civil Code stipulates that a person who exercises parental authority may discipline a child to the extent deemed necessary. This provision allows a person who exercises parental authority to impose sanctions on the child to the extent deemed necessary and appropriate from the perspective of taking care of the child in order for the person to correct the child's misconduct and guide the child onto the right path. Whether or not such sanctions are deemed necessary and appropriate from the perspective of caring for the child is determined by sound common sense prevailing in society and the era. If the discipline is provided excessively to an extent which is impermissible, that will lead to the loss of parental authority (Article 834 of the Civil Code). Moreover, in cases which the right to discipline the child is exercised to an extent that goes beyond what is deemed appropriate by conventional wisdom, such cases are punishable by law, including the Penal Code (e.g. assault, injury, unlawful capture and confinement, etc.) as well as the Child Abuse Prevention Law.

Further Information

CRIN extracted all mentions of children's rights from Japan's UPR, including references in the pre-review reports submitted by the government, UN bodies, and also NGOs / NRHis. This report also details all the children's rights recommendations accepted and rejected by Japan.

The page includes children's rights extract reports for all States reviewed to date, CRIN's "Status of Children's Rights in the UPR" report, and much more information on the UPR process and how can NGOs can engage with it.

Including practical tips on reporting and lobbying, as well as follow-up methods. The guide is based on the findings of a comprehensive survey of experiences shared by NGOs, NHRIs, Ombudspersons, academic bodies, and so on.

pdf: http://www.crin.org/docs/JapanFollow-up.pdf



Please note that these reports are hosted by CRIN as a resource for Child Rights campaigners, researchers and other interested parties. Unless otherwise stated, they are not the work of CRIN and their inclusion in our database does not necessarily signify endorsement or agreement with their content by CRIN.