Japanese Consulate talk

February 4, 2008 in events by sinead

Hello everyone,

Just thought I’d post up some information about Japans Human Rights record over the past year, in case anyone was thinking of going to the talk on Monday and wanted some backgroud information.

The title of the talk is ‘Japan’s Foreign Policy on Human Security’ and is part of the europe Japan public lecture series. I found this information about it (from http://www.edinburgh.uk.emb-japan.go.jp/europe__japan_dialogue.htm) :

‘Human Security’ is a relatively new concept advocated by the United Nations Development Programme in 1994. However, it has become the key concept guiding Japan’s foreign policy. For example, Japan’s Official Development Charter adopted in 2003 states:

‘In order to address direct threats to individuals such as conflicts, disasters, infectious diseases, it is important not only to consider the global, regional and national perspectives, but also to consider the perspective of human security, which focuses on individuals. Accordingly, Japan will implement ODA to strengthen the capacity of human development. To ensure that human dignity is maintained at all stages, from the conflict stage to the reconstruction and developmental stages, Japan will extend assistance for the protection and empowerment of individuals.’

After graduating from the Faculty of Law, The University of Tokyo, Mr Kenichi Suganuma joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1978. His previous postings include, among others, Director, International Energy Division, Economic Affairs Bureau; Director, OECD Division, Economic Affairs Bureau; Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Japan to the International Organisation in Vienna; Minister, Embassy of Japan in Russia; Minister, Embassy of Japan in Singapore; Deputy Assistant Vice-Minister (Crisis Management), and Deputy Director-General, Consul Affairs Bureau. Since 1997, Mr Suganuma has been Consul General of Japan in Edinburgh.

The seminar will be chaired by Professor Steve Beaumont, Vice-Principal for Research & Enterprise, University of Glasgow.

The Europe-Japan Dialogue series is supported by, Toshiba International Foundation and The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, and is organised by the Europe-Japan Centre, Research & Enterprise, University of Glasgow.

Amnesty 2007 report highlights a few issues which suggest Japan doesn’t have the cleanest human rights record, they still impose the death penalty and in 2006, 97  people were on death row, some of whom have been there since the 60s. As well as this, those who are waiting to be executed are not given a date of execution, and some are told the morning of excution. Refugees seeking asylum in Japan, have reportedly been detained with no access to the otside word, meaning they have no acccess to legal advice. Amendments to Japanese law have introduced fingerprinting and photographing to all visitors to Japan. Police are allowed to hold suspects in prison for up to 23 days without charge, this is known as the ‘daiyo-kangoku system’, and allows fo rhte extraction of confession under pressure. As well as this, many of the sex slaves that pre-date WWII have been refused compensation and some of these cases brought to court have been thrown out.

 Japan did withdraw troops from Iraq in July 2007, and the government also announced at this time that Japan would accede to the Rome  Statute of the International Criminal Court.

 All this is from Amnestys 2007 report, to be found here: