Opinion Paper on Project concerning Future Acceptance of Foreign Nationals and Interim Report on Future Acceptance of Foreign Nationals by Senior Vice-Minister of Justice
A project team concerning the future acceptance of foreign nationals, chaired by the Senior Vice-Minister of Justice, was set up in the Ministry of Justice, and released an interim report on the future acceptance of foreign nationals in June, 2006. This interim report admits the conventional Japanese system to accept foreign workers has been insufficient and aims to present new measures based on the actual situation. However, it includes serious problems from the perspective of creating a society where diverse ethnics and cultures live together and establishing fundamental human rights of foreign nationals.
Therefore, the Board of Governors of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA) adopted this opinion paper concerning the interim report on July 20, 2006, and the JFBA submitted it to the Minister of Justice.
The main points of the JFBA opinions are as follows.
- The government should consider the acceptance of foreign nationals with focusing on not only the measures on foreign workers and the residence control of foreign nationals but also the development of conditions for creating a society where diverse ethnics and cultures live together and everybody understands each other's differences by the establishment of fundamental human rights of foreign nationals.
- The JFBA opposes requiring foreign nationals to obtain Residence Cards (tentatively named) and carry the cards with them. It is beyond the necessary and minimum restriction on the rights to privacy and to control personal information, and contravenes Article 14 of the Constitution of Japan, Article 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and Paragraph 1 of Article 1 and Article 2 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination prohibiting discriminatory treatment.
- The JFBA opposes obliging companies and schools to report on their acceptance of foreign nationals to the Immigration Bureau. It is beyond the necessary and minimum restriction on the rights of foreign nationals to privacy and to control personal information. Furthermore, it will weaken the contractual position of foreign nationals in relation to organizations where they are hired though the contractual positions of both parties should be fundamentally equal. It will also be seriously prejudicial to their status.
- The JFBA opposes enabling administrative authorities to share the information of foreign nationals obtained by each authority. It opens a path to reinforcement of integrated control of information by controlling the information of foreign nationals on immigration and residence and other information obtained by the National Police Agency, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and any other authorities concerned in a concentrated and uniform manner. It seriously undermines the rights of foreign nationals to privacy and to control personal information.
- The JFBA opposes requiring Japanese descents who have been already residing in Japan to have an ability to maintain a stable livelihood (a steady job), and a certain level of competence in Japanese as requirements to permit continuous resident status. Large numbers of Japanese descents are employed indirectly and remain unstable and difficult working environments. Under such conditions, it is also extremely difficult for them to acquire competence in Japanese. These requirements might take away the foundation of life from Japanese descents who have been settling in Japan.
- Obliging foreign workers to have their children receive compulsory education should not conflict with the right to select their schools from not only public elementary and junior high schools but also ethnic or international schools. Furthermore, the government should actively implement measures to enhance the public financial support to these educational institutes and to teach Japanese language as well as harmony among diverse cultures in public elementary and junior high schools.
Japan Federation of Bar Associations
July 20, 2006