Japan was reviewed by the UPR working group at its 2nd session in May 2008. In the review of Japan, many states expressed concern about discrimination against minorities. Discrimination against the Buraku people, which is a form of discrimination based on work and descent, was not explicitly referred to in the debate. However, in the national report the Japanese administrative refers to the term “Dowa Issue” which is describe the set of social issues arising from discrimination against Buraku people, a form of caste-like discrimination of a feudal nature. It is used particularly in relation to “Dowa Areas,” which is the administrative term for officially registered Buraku communities. It is referred to in paras. 12 and 17 of the national report.

Japan is up for its second review at the 14th session in 2012.


The UN treaty bodies have addressed the situation of the Buraku community and the “Dowa issue” in a number of country reviews (CERD 2010, CEDAW 2009, HRC 2008).


The Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, Mr. Doudou Diène, visited Japan in 2005. The mission report (E/CN.4/2006/16/Add.2)was released in January 2006. In the report the Special Rapporteur explains how the Buraku people are discriminated on the basis of a caste-like class system based on social and professional belonging. Read a summary of the report here