The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) examinated Japan’s record on women’s rights in its 63rd session. In the Concluding Observations CEDAW/C/JPN/CO/7-8 the committee made several recommendations for Japan to eliminate discrimination against Buraku women:
Stereotypes and harmful practices
(d) Sexist speech continues to be directed against women, ethnic and other minority women such as the Ainu, Buraku and Zainichi Korean women and migrant women.
- The Committee reiterates its previous recommendation (CEDAW/C/JPN/CO/6, para. 30) and urges the State party to:
(d) Adopt legislation to prohibit and sanction sexist speech and propaganda advocating racial superiority or hatred, including attacks on ethnic and other minority women such as the Ainu, Buraku and Zainichi Korean women as well as migrant women;
Participation in political and public life
(c) The under- representation of women with disabilities, ethnic and other minority women such as Ainu, Buraku and Zainichi Korean women in decision making positions.
- The Committee reiterates its previous recommendation (CEDAW/C/JPN/CO/6, para. 42) and calls upon the State party to:
(c) Take specific measures, including temporary special measures, to promote the representation of women with disabilities, ethnic and other minority women such as Ainu, Buraku and Zainichi Korean women in decision making positions.
(e) Reports of low literacy levels among ethnic and other minority communities, in particular, older women from the Ainu and Buraku ethnic communities;
- The Committee recommends that the State party:
(d) Remove all obstacles to access to education for women and girls with disabilities, migrant women and ethnic and other minority women such as the Ainu, Buraku and Zainichi Korean women; and provide information in the next periodic report on their access to education as well as to scholarships
(e) The persistence of multiple/intersectional forms of discrimination in the employment sector with regard to indigenous women, minority and other women (Buraku, Korean, Okinawa), women with disabilities and migrant women workers
Disadvantaged groups of women
- The Committee is concerned at reports that indigenous and ethnic minority, such as Ainu, Buraku and Zainichi Korean women, as well as other women such as women with disabilities, LBT women and migrant women continue to experience multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination. The Committee is particularly concerned that these women continue to have limited access to health, education and employment.
- The Committee calls upon the State party to vigorously pursue efforts aimed at eliminating multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination experienced by indigenous and ethnic minority women such as Ainu, Buraku and Zainichi Korean women, as well as women with disabilities, LBT women and migrant women which affect their access to health, education, employment and participation in public life, as well as in their experiences with the health and education services and at the workplace.
The Committee on Racial Discrimination (CERD) considered Japans seventh to ninth periodic report in the 85th session of the Committee (20 and 21 August 2014).
In the Concluding Observations, CERD/C/JPN/CO/7-9, the Committee highlighted the situation of the Burakumin and made the following recommendations:
Bearing in mind its general recommendation No. 29 (2002) on descent, the Committee recalls that discrimination on the ground of descent is fully covered by the Convention. The Committee recommends that the State revise its position and adopt a clear definition of Burakumin in consultation with Buraku people. The Committee also recommends that the State party provide information and indicators on concrete measures taken upon the termination of the Dowa Special Measures in 2002, in particular on living conditions of Burakumin. The Committee further recommends that the State party effectively apply its legislation to protect Burakumin against illegal access to their family data which may expose them to discriminatory acts, investigate all incidents relating to illegal abuses of the family registration and punish those responsible.
The List of issues includes discrimination against the Burakumin and four NGO reports address the issue. Further, in the Committee meeting with civil society, ahead of the review, the Buraku Liberation League expressed serious concern about widespread racist demonstrations against the Burakumin. Please find a more extensive note on the review.
At the review, the Committee raised several concerns regarding discrimination against the Burakumin. At the outset, the Japanese delegation described the efforts that had been taken by the Japanese government to eliminate discrimination against the Burakumin. However, the Committee raised serious concern regarding continued discrimination. The Committee specifically emphasized harmful and racist expressions and attacks via the internet against the Burakumin, the situation of Buraku women and access to information from the family registration system used for purposes of discrimination against the Burakumin.
Even though, the Japanese representative emphasised that Buraku discrimination does not fall under the scope of the ICERD, the Committee underlined that Buraku discrimination does fall under the scope of the ICERD and further, that the General Recommendation No.29 on descent-based discrimination applies to the Buraku people. Committee member Mr. Kemal further noted that the Committees last set of concluding observations to the State party in 2010 referred to discrimination against the Burakumin. However, that the State party omitted reference to the Buraku issue in its latest report. Civil society has reported that although the living conditions of the Baraku had improved over recent years, thanks to special measures, the gap in the standard of living between Baraku and the majority remained wide, and social discrimination continued to be a troubling problem.
- 4.The Committee welcomes the legislative and administrative efforts made by the State party in order to promote the human rights and the economic, social and cultural development of some ethnic and national minorities, in particular (a) the 1997 Law for the Promotion of Measures for Human Rights Protection; (b) the 1997 Law for the Promotion of the Ainu Culture and for the Dissemination and Advocacy for the Traditions of the Ainu and the Ainu Culture; and (c) the series of Special Measures Laws for Dowa projects with the aim of eliminating discrimination against Burakumin.
- 7. While taking note of the State party’s point of view on the problems involved in determining the ethnic composition of the population, the Committee finds that there is a lack of information on this point in its report. It is recommended that the State party provide in its next report full details on the composition of the population, as requested in the reporting guidelines of the Committee, and, in particular, information on economic and social indicators reflecting the situation of all minorities covered by the Convention, including the Korean minority and the Burakumin and Okinawa communities. The population on Okinawa seeks to be recognized as a specific ethnic group and claims that the existing situation on the island leads to acts of discrimination against it.
- 8. With regard to the interpretation of the definition of racial discrimination contained in article 1 of the Convention, the Committee, unlike the State party, considers that the term “descent” has its own meaning and is not to be confused with race or ethnic or national origin. The Committee therefore recommends that the State party ensure that all groups including the Burakumin community are protected against discrimination and afforded full enjoyment of the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights contained in article 5 of the Convention.
- 23. The State party is also invited to provide in its next report further information on the impact of:
- (a) the 1997 Law for the Promotion of Measures for Human Rights Protection and the work and powers of the Council for Human Rights Promotion;
- (b) the 1997 Law for the Promotion of the Ainu Culture and for the Dissemination and Advocacy for the Traditions of the Ainu and the Ainu Culture; and
- (c) the Law concerning Special Government Financial Measures for Regional Improvement Special Projects and envisaged strategies to eliminate discrimination against Burakumin after the law ceases to apply, i.e. in 2002.
The Committee recommends that the State party submit its third periodic report jointly with its fourth periodic report, due on 14 January 2003, and that it address all points raised in the present observations.
The following paragraphs of the Concluding Observations explicitly touch on the issue of minority women: 31, 32, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 51, 52, 53 and 54. Paragraph 52 specifically mentions Buraku women.
The Committee expressed concern at the limited participation of buraku women in political life and concern at the widespread racist discrouse against members of minority groups such as Burakumin. It further issued recommendations on these matters. Please find a summary of the references to caste in the Concluding Observations
- Principal subjects of concern and recommendations
- 15. With regard to the Dowa problem, the Committee acknowledges the acceptance by the State party of the fact that discrimination persists vis-à-vis members of the Buraku minority with regard to education, income and the system of effective remedies. The Committee recommends that the State party take measures to put an end to such discrimination.
The Committee has fixed the date of submission of Japan’s fifth periodic report to be October 2002.
- 86. While noting the measures taken by the State party to improve the situation of the Ainu people, the Committee is concerned that children of Ainu, Korean, Burakumin origin and other minorities continue to experience social and economic marginalisation.
- 87. The Committee urges the State party to take the necessary legislative or other measures to eliminate discrimination against children belonging to ethnic minorities in all spheres of life and ensure their equal access to all services and assistance provided for under the Convention.
- 24. The Committee is concerned that legislation discriminates against children born out of wedlock and that societal discrimination persists against girls, children with disabilities, Amerasian, Korean, Buraku and Ainu children and other minority groups, and children of migrant workers.
- 25. The Committee recommends that the State party amend its legislation in order to eliminate any discrimination against children born out of wedlock, in particular, with regard to inheritance and citizenship rights and birth registration, as well as discriminatory terminology such as “illegitimate” from legislation and regulations. The Committee recommends that the State party undertake all necessary proactive measures to combat societal discrimination and ensure access to basic services, in particular, for girls, children with disabilities, Amerasians, Koreans, Buraka, Ainu and other minorities, children of migrant workers and refugee and asylum-seeking children, through, inter alia, public education and awareness campaigns.
The Committee expects to receive the third periodic report from the State party, which should not exceed 120 pages (see CRC/C/118), by 21 May 2006, date on which the report is due
- Suggestions and Recommendations
- 40. While noting that the State party is currently in the process of consultations with Koreans living in the Utoro area regarding their unresolved situation, the Committee recommends that the State party continue to undertake necessary measures to combat patterns of de jure and de facto discrimination against all minority groups in Japanese society, including the Buraku people, the people of Okinawa and the indigenous Ainu, particularly in the fields of employment, housing and education.
The Committee requests the State party to submit its third periodic report by 30 June, 2006, and to include in that report detailed information on the steps undertaken to implement the recommendations contained in the present concluding observations.