UN racism expert reports on Japan

The Japan Rimes has reported that the U.N.’s expert on racism and discrimination has called on Japan to enact a national law condemning racism. After visiting Japan for a nine-day mission, Doudou Diene says that racial discrimination and xenophobia are deeply-rooted in Japanese society.

Most countries have problems with discrimination, but it’s more marked in Japan because Japan has relatively few foreign residents. To make matters worse, there are also some ethnic minorities and even second- and third-generation people born in Japan who are still considered to be foreigners.

Diene says that Japan is obliged to enact anti-discrimination laws because is is a member of the U.N. International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Japan can definitely talk the talk, as demonstrated by this excerpt from a UN press release from last year’s UN General Assembly.

ATSUKO HESHIKI (Japan), stressing his [sic] Government’s efforts to end racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia, said the fight against racism must confront ignorance and prejudice through the understanding of history and the education of succeeding generations about the dignity and worth of each human being. Japan hoped the resolution adopted by the Commission on Human Rights for “a world programme for human rights education” would contribute to the promotion of human rights and to the reduction of violence based on racial discrimination.

The final report on the visit will be published next year. Perhaps the new report will help get the government moving to deal with discrimination.

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