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Statement regarding the UPR of Japan by the United Nations Human Rights Council

Japan underwent its third Universal Periodic Review at the 28th session of the Human Rights Council's Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group on 14 November 2017.

At the session, 106 countries took the floor, and approximately 200 recommendations were made to Japan. The main issues covered by the recommendations include: i) anti-discrimination; (ii) the death penalty; iii) establishing a national human rights institution; iv) ratifying the Optional Protocols, including for the purpose of providing a system for individual communications; and (iv) issues concerning sexual exploitation of women and children as well as human trafficking. In particular, more than 60 recommendations were made to ask the Government of Japan to eliminate discrimination against women, LGBT persons, racial and ethnic minorities, as well as to eliminate discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation. Recommendations concerning the death penalty amounted to more than 30, and approximately 30 recommendations were made on the establishment of a national human rights institution. 2 countries made specific references to the JFBA Declaration adopted in 2016 at its Convention on the Protection of Human Rights calling for reform of the penal system including abolition of the death penalty. 

Furthermore, noteworthy recommendations were made by several countries regarding criminal justice and detention conditions, evacuees of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, independence of the media and the Specially Designated Secrets Act, migrant workers including those under the Technical Intern Training Program, and business and human rights. Recommendations about the atomic bomb survivors and non-ratification of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons were also made. 

In advance of the working group session, the JFBA submitted its stakeholder report on the condition of human rights in Japan to the United Nations Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights in March 2017, and provided additional information through various channels including briefings for the foreign embassies in Japan and the Delegation of the European Union to Japan, as well as a briefing session at the UN headquarters attended by the Permanent Missions in Geneva.

In the session, many recommendations were made to Japan from other UN member states which called for enactment of new legislation, amendments of laws, and proper applications of laws. Legislative, executive, and judicial branches should recognize the recommendations as challenges which should be addressed not only by the administration but also by the Diet and the judiciary of Japan.

The JFBA recommends that the government of Japan seriously consider accepting all recommendations in light of international standards, and make efforts to prepare the appropriate conditions for the respect of human rights in a concrete manner so Japan can occupy an honored place in international society ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Paralympics, and the 14th United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice.

In light of the recommendations of the UPR, the JFBA will continue to hold a constructive dialogue with the government of Japan aiming at the improvement of the human rights situation of Japan, and disseminate information to society to stimulate nation-wide discussions on the issues raised at the UPR, and fulfill our mission to protect fundamental human rights and realize social justice.


November 15, 2017

Kazuhiro Nakamoto


Japan Federation of Bar Associations

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