The Human Rights Committee considered the third periodic report
of Japan (CCPR/C/70/Add.1 and Corr.1 and 2) at its 1277th to 1280th
meetings, held on 27 and 28 October 1993, and adopted at its 1290th
meeting (forty-ninth session), held on 4 November 1993 the following
commends the Government of Japan on its excellent report, which
has been prepared in accordance with the Committee's guidelines
for the presentation of State party reports and submitted on schedule.
The Committee appreciates, in particular, the participation, in
its consideration of the report, of a competent delegation from
the Government of Japan, which consisted of experts in various fields
relating to the protection of human rights. The Committee is of
the view that the detailed information provided by the delegation
in its introduction of the report, as well as the comprehensive
replies furnished to the question raised by the Committee members,
contributed greatly to making the dialogue fruitful.
notes with appreciation that the Government of Japan gave wide publicity
to its report, thus enabling a great number of non-governmental
organizations to become aware of the contents of the report and
to make known their particular concerns. In addition, some of them
were present during the Committee's consideration of the report.
2. Factors and difficulties affecting the implementation of the
The Committee notes that the Government of Japan sometimes experiences
difficulties in taking measures to implement the Covenant owing
to various social factors, such as the traditional concept of the
different roles of the sexes, the unique relationship between individuals
and the group they belong to and the unconscious particularities
owing to the homogeneity of the population.
3. Positive aspects
takes note with satisfaction of the serious approach that the Government
of Japan has taken in dealing with issues relating to civil and
political rights, and of its commitment to fulfil its obligations
under the Covenant.
is of the view that the human rights situation in Japan has improved
since the consideration of the second periodic report of that State
party in 1988, and that there is generally a good regard for human
rights in the country.
the Committee notes, with appreciation, that Japan actively assists
in the promotion of human rights at the international level. It
also notes that there is awareness in the Japanese society of the
provisions of the Covenant; this awareness is confirmed by the interest
expressed by many Japanese non-governmental organizations in the
Committee's consideration of the third periodic report of Japan.
4. Principal subjects of concern
believes that it is not clear that the Covenant would prevail in
the case of conflict with domestic legislation and that its terms
are not fully subsumed in the Constitution. Furthermore, it is also
not clear whether the "public welfare" limitation of articles
12 and 13 of the Constitution would be applied in a particular situation
in conformity with the Covenant.
expresses concern at the continued existence in Japan of certain
discriminatory practices against social groups, such as Korean permanent
residents, members of the Buraku communities, and persons belonging
to the Ainu minority. The requirement that it is a penal offence
for alien permanent residents not to carry documentation at all
times, while this does not apply to Japanese nationals, is not consistent
with the Covenant. Moreover, persons of Korean and Taiwanese origin
who serve in the Japanese Army and who no longer possess Japanese
nationality are discriminated against in respect of their pensions.
the Committee expresses concern at other discriminatory practices
that appear to persist in Japan against women with regard to remuneration
in employment, and notes that de facto problems of discrimination
more generally continue to exist. The situation regarding mentally
ill persons has significantly improved, but problems continue regarding
access to employment. The Committee acknowledges the fact that legal
measures have been taken by the Japanese authorities to forbid those
practices and that there are comprehensive programmes to promote
equal opportunity. However, it appears that a certain gap exists
in Japan between the adoption of legislation and the actual behaviour
of certain sectors of society. The Committee notes that recourse
for settlement of claims of discrimination against trade-union activists
is very protracted.
is particularly concerned at the discriminatory legal provisions
concerning children born out of wedlock. In particular, provisions
and practices regarding the birth registration forms and the family
register are contrary to articles 17 and 24 of the Covenant. The
discrimination in their right to inherit is not consistent with
article 26 of the Covenant.
is disturbed by the number and nature of crimes punishable by death
penalty under the Japanese Penal Code. The Committee recalls that
the terms of the Covenant tend towards the abolition of the death
penalty and that those States which have not already abolished the
death penalty are bound to apply it only for the most serious crimes.
In addition, there are matters of concern relating to conditions
of detainees. In particular, the Committee finds that the undue
restrictions on visits and correspondence and the failure of notification
of executions to the family are incompatible with the Covenant.
is concerned that the guarantees contained in articles 9, 10 and
14 are not fully complied with, in that pre-trial detention takes
place not only in cases where the conduct of the investigation requires
it; the detention is not promptly and effectively brought under
judicial control and is left under the control of the police; most
of the time interrogation does not take place in the presence of
the detainee's counsel, nor do rules exist to regulate the length
of interrogation; and the substitute prison system (Daiyo Kangoku)
is not under the control of an authority separate from the police.
In addition, the legal representatives of the defendant do not have
access to all relevant material in the police record, in order to
enable them to prepare the defence.
regrets that there appears to be a restrictive approach in certain
laws and decisions as to respect for the right to freedom of expression.
notes with concern the exclusion of Koreans from the Government's
concept of minorities. This is not justified by the Covenant, which
does not limit the concept of minority to those who are nationals
of the State concerned.
5. Suggestions and recommendations
recommends that Japan become a party to both Optional Protocols
to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and
to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading
Treatment or Punishment.
also recommends that the Japanese legislation concerning children
born out of wedlock be amended and that discriminatory provisions
contained therein be removed to bring it into line with the provisions
of articles 2, 24 and 26 of the Covenant. All discriminatory laws
and practices still existing in Japan should be abolished in conformity
with articles 2, 3 and 26 of the Covenant. The Government of Japan
should make an effort to influence public opinion in this respect.
further recommends that Japan take measures towards the abolition
of the death penalty and that, in the meantime, that penalty should
be limited to the most serious crimes; that the conditions of death
row detainees be reconsidered; and that preventive measures of control
against any kind of ill-treatment of detainees should be further
view to guaranteeing the full application of articles 9, 10 and
14 of the Covenant, the Committee recommends that pre-trial procedures
and the operation of the substitute prison system (Daiyo Kangoku)
should be made compatible with all requirements of the Covenant
and, in particular, that all the guarantees relating to the facilities
for the preparation of the defence should be observed.