Japan NGO Network for CEDAW (JNNC)
"Gender Training of the Personnel in Judiciary" and "Independent National Human Rights Commission" are Urgently Needed!
Statement of the Japan Civil Liberties Union for the Consideration of the Fourth and Fifth Periodic Reports of Japan by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
The Japan Civil Liberties Union (JCLU) presents the
following statements focusing on two issues among many areas of concern
in japan under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination
The Need for Education and Trainign of the Personnel
Nationa Human Rights Commission
Today, in a limited time, we'd like to address two points. Firstly, the Asian Women's Fund has failed. The Asian Women's Fund is a private agency that collected private donations to give the survivors as so-called "atonement money". Only 285 women accepted this charity money, out of tens of thousands of women who have suffered from the "comfort system" throughout the Asia-Pacific. There are even countries excluded from this charity scheme.
The reason why the AWF failed is because it didn't give the dignity back to the survivors. Sixty years later, today, Japanese politicians still call the women survivors common prostitutes, as if the women had any choice about their conduct in those military rape camps. Sixty years later, the victims of sexual violence continue to be blamed.
The Japanese government must acknowledge it was their fault, not the women's. In order to lift the stigma from so many women who have suffered too long, the Japanese government must provide them with what is long overdue: it must accept legal responsibility for their sufferings; it must give the individual survivors reparations including full and sincere, meaningful apology and legal state compensation.Nine years ago, this committee called upon the government of Japan to ensure the protection of the full human rights of all women, including foreign and immigrant women. Why are we still here, asking Japan yet again and again, to fulfill its obligation under this convention. Thank you
Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA)
1 The first is about the Domestic Violence Prevention Law.
The Domestic Violence Prevention Law allows requests for protection orders against violencethat is defined as “ illegal attacks.....that threaten the spouse's life or physical condition." This definition narrows violence to physical violence. It does not cover psycological violence and sexual violence. And requests for protection orders are not allowed for cohabiting people,boyfriedns, the relatives or children of a victim, and even after divorce.This law should be amended.
2 The second is about sexual-harassment.
There is no law to control sexual-harassment. Article 21 of the Amended EEOL only stipulates that employers must exersise precautions to prevent sexual-harassment.Thus,victims need to file lawsuit demanding compensation for damages.Some court decisions have reduced amounts of compensation by reason of the victim's attitudes, such as,lack of sufficient caution, desperate resistance.
The small amounts of compensation for sexual-harassment are not redress for the victims, and do not deter offenders. The government should prohibit sexual-harassment in workplace,universities and other educational institutions, and establish an organaization to provide quick and effectuive remedial measures to victims.
3 The third is about Part-Time Workers.
69% of part-time workers are women. The average hourly wage level of part-time women workers is only about 43% that of general men workers. About 40% of part-time workers are limited-term employees and have insecure status.The government is proceeding in the direction of administrative guidance for a“ Japanese-style principle of balanced treatment" instead of legislating a principle of equal treatment. The government shuold revise the Part-Time Work Law, or pass a new law, expressly state the equal treatment principle.
4 The fourth is about Gender-sensitive Education for Judicial Personnel.
There are examples in which the statements and actions of judges,conciliators, and lawyers have caused domestic violence victims to lose confidence in the justice sysytem. e.g. In a settlement meeting for a domestic violence case, the judge said “ I too hit my wife." Gender-sensitive education should address all kindes of gender isses including general violence against women, sexual- harassment,gender discrimination in the workplace,gender-defined roles.
|Statement at JNNC Lunchtime
July 7, 2003
Under the CEDAW Convention, it goes without saying that States Parties have the obligation to eliminate discrimination against all women in their territories regardless of nationality, ethnic origin, citizenship or legal status. However, the Japanese Government has failed to recognize that this treaty obligation. It has not reported on the situation of women belonging to minority groups --- such as the discriminated Buraku, indigenous Ainu, Okinawans, Korean permanent residents --- as well as female migrant workers, trafficked women and foreign women married to Japanese men. Our concern is that there is hardly any official data showing their situations, nor any policies to improve them.
Besides limited access to political and public activities, education and employment, the following are some examples of the problems faced by these women.
Female students of Korean schools wearing national clothes as school uniforms are constantly exposed to harassment, violence and hate crimes, which escalates whenever political tension between Japan and DPRK arises. In Okinawa, where 75% of the U.S. military bases in Japan are located, women have been surviving suffering? rape and other sexual violence committed by U.S. military men. Migrant workers (especially those undocumented) and asylum-seekers have poor access to medical care, and their reproductive health and rights are not secured. The victims of trafficking are punished under the criminal law as undocumented workers, whereas traffickers are merely sentenced to light penalties for abetting illegal labour.
Liberation of all women would never be realized until the most oppressed women are liberated. The government should conduct research, gather data on the situations faced by minority women and take measures to protect their rights and improve their situations.
Statement at JNNC Lunchtime Briefing
July 7, 2003
（Buraku Liberation League） I am a Buraku woman living in Aichi prefecture, Japan. Some of the most serious problems for Buraku women are illiteracy, unemployment and marriage-discrimination. These causes sometimes drive these Buraku women to commit suicide. I would strongly like to let you know that there are women who suffer from illiteracy as a consequence of discrimination in Japan. For more detailed information, please refer to our shadow report.
In my Buraku community, we run a community learning center, where we learn how to write and read in order to express ourselves in words.
The Japanese government does not conduct any surveys to identify the challenges that Buraku women face. Furthermore, they don`t take effective measures to improve our situation. Therefore, I would like the CEDAW committee members to recommend that the Japanese government conduct surveys and take effective measures for our well-being.
Even though national and local governments established Councils on the promotion of equal participation between men and women, there is no reserved seat for Buraku women. Here, I would like to insist that these governments should appoint Buraku women to the council members in order to better reflect the reality of the Buraku women's situation and viewpoint into policy.
|July 7, 2003
Statement at JNNC Lunchtime Briefing
（The Ainu Association of Hokkaido, the Sapporo Branch）
I am an indigenous Ainu woman from Hokkaido-the northern
island in Japan. As a result of being forcibly assimilated and ruled
over by the Japanese government and due to structural discrimination,
the indigenous Ainu have continued to be invaded by the mainstream Japanese
culture. We have seen the creation of a large disparity between our
own educational, economic and environmental conditions and those of
the general Japanese population for the last one hundred and thirty
I am Natsuko Murakami. I am speaking on behalf of WWIN,
an organization of plaintiffs of the Sumitomo Cases and their supporters.
Japan is an economically advanced country, but as it is well known, there is a considerable wage gap between men and women.
Women in regular employment earn 65% of men’s wages, and the figure decreased to 40% when women in non-regular employment, are included. The women do not fully enjoy equal right to work. This is one of the causes of sexual harassment and domestic violence.
There has been over 20 cases claiming wage difference in regular employ, the government, however, has not mentioned any of them in the Report.
There is a 2000$ wage difference between men and women with the same educational background, who started working at the same time. But the Court held against the plaintiffs, saying that the difference was the result of difference in hiring categories. This is indirect discrimination raised in the 91st ILO Conference Report.We hope to see the realization of the next 4 issues.
1. Prohibition of indirect discrimination
2. Revision of the Guideline under the Equal Employment Opportunity Law permitting comparison only within the same employment categories.
3. Compliance by the Japanese Government to its responsibilities under international treaties, in particular, to eliminate discrimination without delay.
4. Ratification of the Optional Protocol.
We would like to explain further at the 5:00 informal meeting.
| The Equality Action 2003
is a network group, acting for eliminating indirect discrimination in
employment, and realizing the equal pay for work of equal value.
Women full-time workers in Japan find difficulties to continue working after pregnancy, childbirth, or childcare. Because of that, more than a half employed women are irregular workers.
Annual income of part-time is below the level for livelihood protection, when they work 1800 hours in a year similar to full-time workers. The ILO has issued numerous recommendations to apply the principle of equal pay for work of equal value to part-time workers. But unfortunately the Japanese Part-time Work Law has not reached that level.
|Report on the Real Living
Conditions of Japanese Women and Our Demands for the Improvement of Institutions
and Infrastructures for Better Living Conditions (in connection with Articles
5, 11, 12, 13)
July 7, 2003
Japan Federation of Women's Organizations (FUDANREN) has 20 affiliates including women's organizations and women's sections of trade unions and citizens' groups, with a total membership of 900,000. I'd like to report on the actual situation in which Japanese women are living.
Japan continues to be in deep recession. In 2001, 200,000 enterprises went bankrupt and the unemployment rate of both men and women rose above 5 percent level. Half of the employed women are now non-regular workers, which has resulted in lower wages for women. Women workers, if part-timers included, only receive 50 percent of what male workers get paid.
In addition to this wage gap, there is a disparity in the length of service between men and women; women are often obliged to quit jobs due to the lack of adequate measures that would allow them to continue working. As a result, women receive less amount of pension benefit than men. The delaying of the starting age for pension benefit to 65 years old, combined with the cutback on the benefits has increased anxiety among people for the livelihood in their old age.
The increased burden and reduced benefits of social security are weighing heavy on people's livelihood. The number of the self-employed who fail to pay premium of the national health insurance is rising. Due to the increase in the medical cost for the elderly and the raise in the percentage of workers' medical expenses to be paid by individually, many people refrain from going to hospital. Fatherless families, whose income accounts for only one third of families in general, are facing further difficulties in making a living because of the drastic cut made last year in the child rearing allowance.
The Government plans to revise the existing gender-role, household-based social and tax systems to individually based ones. As a prerequisite for preventing such alternative systems from resulting in more burdens and tax increase for the people, we demand measures be taken to improve institutions and infrastructures for better living conditions. Such measures include: 1) to secure conditions allowing both sexes to work and to be paid as equals, 2) to raise the minimum taxable income based on the principle of non-taxation on living expenses, and 3) to establish guaranteed minimum pension at the government expense.
| Japan Network abolishing
“Koseki” and Discrimination against Children Born out of Children
Lunch time Briefing 7 July, 2003
In Japan the division of labor by sex is very strong. If women reject to get married, their children are discriminated against. We are supporting the lawsuit on discriminatory expressions of family relations in the family register (“Koseki”) concerning children born out of wedlock.
In Japan, there still exists discrimination against children born out of wedlock in the legal system, including the discriminatory provision of the Civil Code on the right to inheritance, discriminatory expressions of the family relations in Koseki (the family register), discriminatory expressions in the birth notification which mothers are forced to mark, the difficulty of acquisition of Japanese nationality by children born out of wedlock with mothers of foreign nationality and fathers of Japanese nationality. Such discriminations against children born out of wedlock are also discriminations against women as mothers. The birth rate of children born out of wedlock in the year 2002 is very low, 1.9%, due to discriminations..
Since the recommendation of 1993 given by the Human Rights Committee, recommendations on children born out of wedlock were successively given to the Japanese government. However, the government has neglected these recommendations. In March and June of this year, the Supreme Court gave judgments hat the discriminatory provisions of the Civil Code concerning the right to inheritance are not unconstitutional.
Discriminations against children born out of wedlock should be eliminated immediately
| DISCRIMINATION MUST
NOT BE HONORED
[Article 2: Obligations of State Parties to Eliminate Discrimination against Women]
Japan Women's Council- Nara
We make an urgent appeal about the possible designation
of our local mountain, Mt. Omine, as the site of World Cultural Heritage.
We believe the designation process should not proceed without first
addressing a serious human rights problem of the site - women are not
allowed to set foot on a considerable part of the mountain.