Japan's Security / Peace & Stability of the International Community

March 3, 2023

On March 2, Mr. NAKATANI Gen, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister delivered a statement at the High-Level Segment of the 52nd Session of the Human Rights Council.

Let me begin by congratulating you, Ambassador Bálek and Ambassador Ahmed, on assuming the role of President and Vice-President of this body. I look forward to seeing the Human Rights Council effectively addressing international human rights issues under your presidency this year.

I would also like to pay tribute to the energetic work of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mr. Volker Türk, who took office last September. Japan will cooperate closely with the Office of the High Commissioner and continue to contribute to international efforts to protect and promote human rights.

Mr. Vice-President,
It was just after the beginning of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine when I stood before this Council last year. I regret that I am once again obliged to refer to this situation after more than a year has passed. Japan firmly rejects Russia’s outrageous act that shakes the very foundation of the international order, and will continue to strongly support Ukraine. We will never tolerate unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force in any region. The international community must unite once again to send a clear message and take action in order to defend the free and open international order based on the rule of law.

At the same time, we must not forget to keep in mind the human rights situation of each person in the world who is currently facing severe difficulties, including those in Türkiye and Syria who have been hit hard by the earthquake.

Japan, which has itself experienced numerous major natural disasters, including the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, is providing maximum support to the people of Türkiye and Syria who have been suffering greatly in the aftermath of the earthquake. Japan has already dispatched Japan Disaster Relief Teams, and provided emergency relief goods and decided to provide emergency humanitarian assistance of approximately 27 million USD, including through international organizations and Japanese NGOs. We will continue to implement humanitarian assistance to meet the needs of those affected by the disaster and support Türkiye and Syria’s efforts toward recovery.

Mr. Vice-President,
The protection of human rights is the basic responsibility of all nations. It is therefore important for the international community to continue dialogue and cooperation toward ensuring we fulfil this responsibility. Japan has been conducting human rights dialogues with various countries, and supporting the protection of human rights in Ukraine, Sri Lanka, and other countries through contributions to OHCHR.

Japan has also drafted resolutions on the human rights situation in Cambodia that support Cambodia’s own efforts in this area. These resolutions reflect the voices of the international community and have all been adopted by consensus.

At the same time, Japan continues speaking out firmly against serious human rights violations.

Japan is concerned that no action has been taken to improve the situation in Myanmar. We will continue to work closely with the international community, including ASEAN, and make every effort to improve the situation in Myanmar.

Freedom, respect for human rights, and the rule of law, must also be protected in China, including in Hong Kong and Xinjiang. Last September, OHCHR published its “Assessment of human rights concerns in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, People’s Republic of China”. Japan is deeply concerned about the human rights situation in China, and again strongly urges China to take positive concrete actions to address this situation.

The issue of abductions by North Korea is a serious humanitarian issue with time constraints. As the families of the victims continue to age, there is no time to lose on this issue. “The resolutions on the situation of human rights in the DPRK” demonstrate the international community’s strong concerns about the serious human rights violations in North Korea, including the issue of abductions. Japan, in close cooperation with the international community, will continue to strongly urge North Korea to take concrete and positive actions toward the immediate resolution of the abductions issue.

Mr. Vice-President,
Japan is making tireless efforts domestically as well.

Last September, for the first time in Asia, we published the Guidelines on Respecting Human Rights in Responsible Supply Chains that I introduced to this Council here last year. Japan is discussing initiatives to promote respect for human rights in government procurement and aiming at their early introduction as well. We also held forums and seminars in Thailand and Bangladesh with the cooperation of UNDP and ILO. Japan has contributed 14 million USD to UNDP and other organizations to support the introduction of human rights due diligence by Japanese companies and their business partners operating around the world as well as the improvement of related systems in developing countries.

To promote women’s economic empowerment, as of July last year Japan has required employers above a certain size to disclose the gender pay gap within their organizations. In December, Japan hosted the World Assembly for Women: WAW! 2022 with the aim of sharing the initiatives and good practices of each country toward achieving gender equality and women's empowerment. This fiscal year, Japan contributed approximately 21 million USD to UN Women to support its work in this area.

Unjust discrimination and prejudice based on sexual orientation and gender identity should never be tolerated. Japan will realize a society where diversity is respected and all people value each other's human rights and individual dignity, and where people can live their lives on their own terms.

In this connection, Japan will continue to support the activities of the Special Rapporteur on the elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy.

Mr. Vice-President,
Japan has been addressing the discharge of ALPS treated water at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station with the highest priority on safety in accordance with domestic and international safety standards, which is also vital for the revitalization of Fukushima. The discharge will not be allowed in a manner that endangers human health and the marine environment.

Mr. Vice-President,
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Japan, as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council and the holder of the G7 Presidency, is determined to defend the international order based on the rule of law. Improvement of the global human rights situation cannot be achieved overnight. Conscious that much still needs to be done, Japan is running for election to the Human Rights Council this year to continue playing a leading role in the protection and promotion of international and domestic human rights. We would greatly appreciate the valuable support of many countries for this endeavor.

Thank you for your kind attention.

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