Protection of Human Rights

[1] Efforts in Human Rights Relief

In the case of a violation or threatened violation of human rights, the victims and related parties may file a petition for human rights relief with the Human Rights Protection Committee. Upon receipt of such a filing, the Committee establishes a case committee if necessary, and investigates whether there was an infringement of human rights. When the case committee identifies an infringement of human rights through its investigation, the JFBA may, after the approval by the Board of Governors, issue a warning, recommendation, or request, etc. to and against the institution or organization which infringed and thereby the JFBA endeavors to eliminate or improve infringing situations.

Another important activity is to provide relief to people who are innocent and have been wrongly convicted. The JFBA has provided support to wrongful conviction cases, with the Human Rights Protection Committee playing the central role, and as of today, innocence has been proven in 16 cases it has supported.

[2] Activities for the Establishment of Substantial Gender Equality and Women’s Rights

Aiming to establish substantial gender equality and women’s rights, the JFBA has addressed various issues including the issues of revising the Civil Code to address the remarriage prohibition period, selective dual-surname system for married couples, and discrimination against children born out of wedlock, as well as issues relating to the duty of sharing expenses from marriage and child support, among other issues.

In addition, efforts are made to realize gender equality within the JFBA. 5-year plans, called the “JFBA Basic Plan for Promotion of Gender-Equality,” were drawn up in 2008, 2013, and 2018 to tackle these challenges.

[3] Activities concerning Human Rights of Children

In order to establish the guarantee of children’s rights, the JFBA has addressed various issues including those concerning the juvenile justice system; expansion and enhancement of the attendant system for juvenile offenders; issues of human rights of children at school such as bullying and physical punishment; investigations, studies and recommendations concerning child abuse at home; and human rights issues of children at welfare institutions. Additional issues include those relating to domestic implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, issues relating to children’s counsel, and issues of unregistered children.

[4] Activities in Support for Victims of Crime

Not only the human rights of suspects and the accused, but the rights of the victims of crime must also be sufficiently guaranteed. Victims of crime sometimes suffer serious damage from the media, the local community, and others in addition to the damages caused by the crime itself.

The JFBA has actively engaged in activities to support victims of crime and has carried out activities to ensure that the victim participation system in criminal procedures, the compensation order system, and other systems are operated appropriately.

The JFBA has also established a system of “legal assistance for victims of crime” for those who have difficulty in bearing the attorneys’ fees, providing a wide range of support including: accompanying victims to bring an accusation or appear for questioning; responding to the attorney on the part of the assailant; and dealing with the media, etc. Handling of administrative matters is entrusted to the Japan Legal Support Center (“Houterasu”).

In addition, the JFBA has engaged in activities to promote the establishment of one-stop support centers where victims of sexual crime and sexual violence can receive comprehensive support from a single location immediately after the occurrence of the crime or violence.

[5] Activities to Protect Peace and Maintain Constitutionalism

War is the greatest violation of human rights and human rights can only be protected under peace.

With respect to the discussions over the proposed amendment of the Constitution, the JFBA has demanded adherence to constitutionalism which is the fundamental principle under the Constitution, and respect the fundamental principles, such as popular sovereignty, the protection of fundamental human rights, and eternal pacifism. Moreover the JFBA, in cooperation with the bar associations throughout Japan, has continued activities to deepen and broaden public and social understanding about the significance of the Japanese Constitution and the role that it has been fulfilling.

[6] Activities for Consumer Protection

The JFBA engages in various activities to relieve and eradicate damage to consumers. Consumer damage includes fraudulent business practices, defective products, troubles relating to financial products, troubles relating to electronic commerce, multiple debts, defective housing, and food safety. The JFBA has published numerous opinions and recommendations based on studies and research on such damage, and has been making efforts to relieve victims and prevent damage from spreading through seeking legal amendments to enhance consumer protection and consumer education.

[7] Disaster Reconstruction Assistance Activities

The JFBA engages in disaster reconstruction assistance activities in cooperation with local bar associations and other organizations until the relief of victims affected by disasters such as earthquakes, wind, floods, etc., is fully achieved.

In particular, facing the Great East Japan Earthquake which occurred on March 11, 2011, and the subsequent nuclear power plant disaster, the JFBA established the Headquarters for Emergency Disaster Control immediately after the earthquake and tsunami occurred and proactively proposed legislative and policy recommendations for victims of the earthquake and the nuclear power plant disaster. The propositions made by the JFBA were based on the idea of “human rehabilitation” which seeks recovery of fundamental human rights for each individual.

Among such legislative and policy propositions made by the JFBA, legislative measures to address double loan problems, establishment of the Nuclear Damage Compensation Dispute Resolution Center, establishment of a special measures law to extend the statute of limitation period for the right to seek compensation for damages caused by the nuclear power plant disaster, special measures to secure land for reconstruction projects have been taken up by the government and the Diet, and some of these initiatives have been implemented.

[8] Extensive Activities to Protect Human Rights

The JFBA also engages in the following activities to protect human rights:
- Activities to realize the full implementation of the court-appointed attendant system for juvenile cases;
- Activities to protect the rights of the elderly and disabled;
- Activities to protect the rights of foreign nationals;
- Activities to protect workers’ rights;
- Dealing with poverty issues;
- Activities to eliminate racketeering by interceding in civil disputes, stop threats of violence, and  expulse organized crime groups;
- Activities to protect personal information and relieve human rights violations by the media;
- Activities to eradicate pollution and environmental destruction and realize a sustainable society;
- Activities to establish a domestic human rights organization;
- Activities to enhance legal education.

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