134. See Paragraphs 72 and 73 of the Initial Report of Japan.
(Notification of birth)
135. The notification of birth has to be submitted within 14 days after
birth of a child (Article 49 of the Family Registration Law). Primarily, the
father or the mother of the child is obliged to submit it; if these persons
cannot submit it, the duty is transferred secondarily to (1) a person who
lives with the mother, (2) a doctor, a midwife, or another person who was
present at the delivery, in this order. In case that none of those persons
can submit the notification, a legal representative other than those may do
so (Article 52 of the said Law). With this notification of birth, a child
who is a Japanese national is registered in the family register.
If a person who is obliged to submit the notification fails to do so, a mayor of a municipality shall give the person a notification of reminder, and if the person still does not, or cannot submit it afterwards, the mayor may register it in the family register by virtue of his/her authority (Article 44 of the said Law).
Furthermore, if a person who is obliged to submit the notification fails to do sowithout any justifiable reason in the prescribed period, he/she shall be imposed of an administrative fine of not more than 30,000 yen (Article 120 of the said Law).
The Family Registration Law is also applicable to a foreign child born in Japan, requiring the submission of the notification of birth described above.
(Appropriate training for staff engaged in the birth registration of a child)
136. Since a child can receive benefit of various social security systems only by registering the birth, etc., the necessity of the registration is widely recognized by the people. The Government makes efforts to promote this understanding, through the Maternal and Child Health Handbooks and many other means. Article 3 of the Family Registration Law prescribes the engagement of chiefs of Regional Legal Affairs Bureaus and District Legal Affairs Bureaus with mayors of municipalities who are in charge of registration work, and as a form of this engagement, training and on-the-spot guidance are provided for local public service personnel engaged in the registration work of each municipality.
(Components related to the child's identification in the birth registration)
137. Components related to the child's identification in the birth
registration include, in case of a legitimate child, full name, date of
birth, full names of his/her father and mother, family relations,
birthplace, and the name of the person submitting the notification.
In case of an illegitimate child, the information on his/her father among the items listed above is not recorded, except when a notification of filiation is submitted voluntarily by the father, or by the child after the affiliation has been made conclusive at court.
(Status of an illegitimate child)
138. An illegitimate child has rights and duties in relation to his/her
legal parents, prescribed by the Civil Code of Japan on the parent-child
relationship including a right to be supported and duty to support them as
well as the inheritance rights enjoyed by the first-order inheritor.
There are, however, differences in provisions of the Civil Code, etc., between legitimate and illegitimate children as follows:
(1) A legitimate child is, in principle, presumed to be the child of his/her mother's husband at the time of gestation, while there is no such presumption for an illegitimate child, and the child's legal father is identified by filiation (Articles 772 and 779 of the Civil Code).
(2) While a legitimate child assumes the common surname of his/her father and mother, an illegitimate child assumes the surname of his/her mother (Article 790 of the same).
(3) When heirs include legitimate and illegitimate children, the portion of inheritance for an illegitimate child is half of that for a legitimate child (proviso in Article 900, of the same).
(4) A notification of birth contains the distinction between legitimate and
illegitimate, and the family register records a legitimate child as the
first-born son/daughter, etc., while an illegitimate child is recorded as a
male/female child (Article 13 and Article 49, Paragraph 2 of the Family
The above differences are due to the following reasons, thus do not constitute unreasonable discrimination:
(1) The difference in the method of identifying the father is due to the following difference: a legitimate child is conceived in wedlock and can be presumed as the child of his/her mother's husband with a high probability, while it is difficult to presume with a high probability that an illegitimate child is the child of a particular man. Thus arises inevitably from the marital status of the parents of the child at the time of conception
(2) The difference in the surname that a child assumes is due to the following difference: since a married couple assumes a common surname in Japan, the parents of a legitimate child have a common surname while the father and the mother of an illegitimate child do not. This also arises inevitably from the difference of the marital status of the parents of the child.
(3) The difference in the portions of inheritance is set for the purpose of protecting a family consisting of a legally married couple and their children, which is not unreasonable discrimination.
(4) The difference in the records on the family register arises from entering the distinctions based on the legal facts in view of the register's objectives to correctly register and notarize the status and relations under the private law, which is not unreasonable discrimination, either.
(The right of a child to know one's parents and the right to be cared for by parents)
139. See paragraphs 76 to 79 of the Initial Report of Japan.
In the family register of Japan, one's full name, date of birth, full names of his/her natural parents, family relations with the natural parents, etc., are entered (Article 13 of the Family Registration Law), and it is possible to confirm the contents by a certified copy or an abstract of his/her family register. There is no restriction concerning age to request issuance of a copy or an abstract.
(Ensuring the right of a child to acquire nationality)
140. The Nationality Law of Japan adopts, in principle, the bilineal jus
sanguinis principle. It stipulates that a child shall be a Japanese national
when, at time of birth of the child, the father or the mother is a Japanese
national (Item 1, Article 2). However, as there is a possibility that a
child born in Japan may become stateless if this principle is applied
rigidly, the jus soil principle is also supplementally adopted so that a
child shall be a Japanese national when both parents are unknown or have no
nationality in a case where the child is born in Japan (Item 3, Article 2 of
the Nationality Law). Though this may still leave possibilities for a child
to become stateless under limited circumstances, a child who was born in
Japan, and had his/her domicile in Japan for three or more years
consecutively since his/her birth may acquire Japanese nationality by
naturalization in accordance with Item 4, of Article 8 of the Nationality
Law. According to the provision, such child is exempted from the conditions
on legal capacity and capability to make a living and the domiciliary
condition is alleviated concerning his/her naturalization. (See paragraph 75
of the Initial Report of Japan)
In addition, irrespective of whether or not a child was born in wedlock, if the child has a legal parent-child relationship with a Japanese national at his/her birth, the child acquires Japanese nationality at birth.
As for the acquisition of Japanese nationality by a child of an applicant for recognition of political refugee status or a child of a refugee, a child who was born in Japan without nationality but had his/her domicile in Japan for three or more consecutive years since his/her birth may acquire Japanese nationality by naturalization very easily, regardless of whether the nationality law of the country of the parent adopts the jus sanguinis principle or the jus soli principle, in accordance with Item 4, Article 8 of the Nationality Law. According to the provision, such child is exempted from the conditions on legal capacity and capability to make a living and the domiciliary condition is alleviated concerning his/her naturalization.
(Preservation of identity)
141. When a person requests for the issue of a certified copy or an
abstract of another person's family register, unless the former come as a
relative to the latter, the person must clearly state reasons for this
request. When requests are made apparently for unjust purposes, a mayor of a
municipality may refuse the issuance (Article 10, Paragraphs 2 and 3 of the
Family Register Law). As for a certified copy, etc., of the family register
from which all persons registered are removed, request for the issue may
made in such restricted cases as the request is by a person who has a
certain relation with the one on the register or by a qualified person such
as a lawyer for his/her duty; the certified copy shall be submitted to a
court or other government and municipal agency; or the person has a rightful
interest (Article 12, Paragraph 2 of the said Law, and Article 11,
Paragraphs 2 and 3 of the Enforcement Regulations of the Family Registration
Law), in order to prevent an outsider from obtaining the information on a
child identity illegally.
A person who has been issued with a certified copy or an abstract of another person's family register illegally shall be imposed of an administrative fine of not more than 50,000 yen (Article 121, Paragraph 2 of the said Law).
(Ensuring the right to freedom of expression)
142. See Paragraph 83 of the Initial Report of Japan.
143. With respect to school regulations, it is important to review them constantly based on the condition of students and the view of the students' guardians. From this point of view, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology has been providing guidance for the boards of education.
(Exercise of the rights to freedom of thought, conscience and religion and consideration for developing abilities of a child)
144. See Paragraph 100 of the Initial Report of Japan.
Freedom of thought, conscience and religion is to be instructed properly according to development stages of respective students. For instance, in the 6th grade of elementary schools, pupils learn that the Constitution of Japan stipulates principles for the state and the life of the people such as rights and duties of the people; in lower secondary schools, students learn about the significance of the dignity of individuals the respect for and human rights; and in upper secondary schools, these studies are further cultivated according to the interests and concerns of each student.
(Relations with class on religion at public schools)
145. In Japan, Article 9, Paragraph 1 of the Fundamental Law of Education states that the attitude of religious tolerance and the social status of religion shall be valued in education, while Paragraph 2 of the same provides that the schools established by the state and the local governments shall not engage in religious education or any other religious activities for any specific religion, ensuring the freedom of religion for students thereby. Private schools are allowed to offer classes for religion.
(Restrictions in exercising the rights that conform to the provisions of Article 15, Paragraph 2)
146. The Subversive Activities Prevention Law stipulates that organizations which have conducted violent subversive activities such as civil war, external threat, and murder for political purpose shall be punished, under certain requirements, by restrictions on the organizational activities or designation of breakup. These are applicable to Article 15, Paragraph 2 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child: "[restrictions] imposed in conformity with the law and which are necessary in a democratic society or public safety, ... or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others."
(Protection of privacy)
147. See Paragraphs 102 and 103 of the Initial Report of Japan.
(Protection of honor and reputation)
148. See Paragraph 105 of the Initial Report of Japan.
(Asking a juvenile suspect to go voluntarily to the police)
149. In asking a juvenile suspect to go voluntarily to the police:
(1) If it is recognized more appropriate for a police officer to go to his/her home, school, workplace, etc., or to summon him/her to a facility other than the police, one of these alternatives shall be taken.
(2) In choosing the time for an interview, school hours or working hours, or
late hours shall be avoided, and an interview shall not last too long.
The above as well as other the detailed provisions are stipulated in the Guidelines for Police Activities on Juvenile Crimes for points to be noted in summoning and interviewing juveniles, based on which considerations are paid to juvenile characteristics in summoning and other actions.
150. The concluding observations adopted by the Committee on the Rights of
the Child after reviewing the Initial Report of Japan include a
recommendation on the protection of a child's privacy at various
institutions (Paragraph 36). In Juvenile Classification Homes, a juvenile
is placed in a single room in principle on entering the Home. Afterwards, if
the juvenile is judged to be capable of communal living, he or she is placed
in a shared room. Even in such case, the room is allocated to juveniles,
considering various aspects of their relationship, including such
information as personality, age, complicity with another, etc. In addition,
a chest for keeping personal items, clothing and bedding, daily necessities,
stationery for study, etc., are lent or supplied, and personal articles may
also be used, so long as they do not disrupt the maintenance of discipline
or pose hygienic problems in the institutions (Article 24 and 24-2 of the
Juvenile Classification Home Treatment Regulations). Thus, efforts are being
made to protect the personal lives of juveniles by paying consideration to
the juveniles' human rights, and treating them with respect for their
dignity and values.
A Juvenile who is sent to a Juvenile Training School is placed in a single room, on entering the School. Examinations is conducted on his/her circumstances such as conditions of mind and body in a relaxed environment so that the most effective educational program can be devised for respective inmates. Afterwards, he/she usually goes on to the treatment stage in a shared room. In this case, a chest for keeping personal items, clothing and bedding, daily necessities, stationery for study, etc., are lent or supplied, and personal articles may also be used, if necessary (Articles 37 and 38 of the Juvenile Training School Treatment Regulations), thereby providing an environment where the personal lives of juveniles are fully respected.
As for a juvenile sent to a penal institution, he/she is placed in a single room since the Juvenile Law requires that the juvenile should be separated from adult inmates. Even when juveniles are placed in a shared room, attention is given to each scene of treatment, as is shown by that consideration is paid to such information related to the juveniles as the contents of the crimes, personalities, ages, etc., in deciding which inmates to be in the same room. Therefore, personal lives of inmates are fully respected so long as the purpose of confinement is not damaged and no obstacle is posed to the maintenance of discipline and order in the institutions.
(Enrichment of school libraries)
151. Each school is equipped with a school library. Efforts are made to strengthen school libraries by training and allocating of librarian teachers, promoting information technology-in school libraries, promotion of library volunteers, etc.
(Recommendation of cultural assets for children)
152. See Paragraph 87 of the Initial Report of Japan.
The numbers of recommendations in 1999 were: 112 publications, 48 items of acoustic or visual material, and 28 items of theatrical art. The Welfare and Culture Subcommittee of the Social Security Council will be established in 2001, which will be engaged in operations of recommending cultural assets for children.
153. See Paragraphs 92 and 93 of the Initial Report of Japan.
Subsidies to the Asia/Pacific Cultural Center for UNESCO
|Year||Amount of Subsidy (1,000 yen)|
Financial assistance made in educational/cultural broadcasting sector through Cultural Grant Aid
|Year||Number of Projects||Cooperation (budget-based) (10,000 yen)|
(Protection of juveniles from harmful information)
154. As magazines, videos, computer software, etc., with extreme contents
on sex and violence are sold at ordinary bookstores and convenience stores,
and thus they are easily available to juveniles, the Government is promoting
self-regulatory measures by the relevant business circles in cooperation
with related agencies and organizations and local communities, and is
endeavoring to guide and regulate individuals engaged in the concerned
Recently, computer networks such as the Internet have created a situation where a juvenile can easily access harmful information. Therefore, the Government actively implements comprehensive measures concerning information on networks harmful to juveniles, including reinforcement of regulations against child pornography, obscene pictures and other prohibited information, and promotion of voluntary measures by providers. In April 1999, Image Transmitting Type Sex-Related Amusement Special Business, i.e., the business of offering pornographic pictures using the Internet, etc., was to the objects of regulation according to the Law on Control and Improvement of Amusement and Entertainment Businesses, aiming at its proper management. The Government makes efforts to implement the revised regulations.
Moreover, foreseeing cases where a business operator in sales, etc., of object for particular sexual entertainment objects has committed a crime of distributing obscene items or child pornography, the Government has launched control on business operations by the Law on Control and Improvement of Amusement and Entertainment Businesses in case.
(Protection from injurious information in the field of broadcasting)
155. In the field of broadcasting, the Ministry of Public Management, Home
Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications (then the Ministry of Posts and
Telecommunications) established the "Study Group for Research on Young
People and Broadcasting" in May 1998 in order to discuss the direction of
measures regarding youths and desirable broadcasting. The report prepared in
December of the same year proposed: (1) enrichment of broadcast programs for
young people; (2) improvement of media literacy; (3) utilization of third
party organizations; (4) promotion of research on young people and
broadcasting; (5) consideration of broadcast time, and (6) improvement in
the provision system of program information.
In order to realize these proposals, in January 1999, the Ministry organized a "Panel of Experts on Young People and Broadcasting" jointly with the Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) and the National Association of Commercial Broadcasters in Japan (NAB). The conclusions of this meeting, published in June 1999, outlined such voluntary efforts such as establishing a new, third-party organization to handle issues related to young people and broadcasting (NHK, NAB), and setting a time zone (5 p.m. - 9 p.m.) with consideration paid to the youth audience (NAB).
In particular, as a third-party organization, the "Broadcasters Council for Youth Programming" was set up in April 2000. Other measures are being addressed by the broadcasters one by one.
In addition, the Ministry held meetings of the "Study Group on Young People and Media Literacy in the Field of Broadcasting" from November 1999 to June 2000, which discussed the direction of measures to improve media literacy. In response to the proposal from this Study Group, the Ministry is also making efforts to develop media literacy teaching materials, etc., for students at elementary and lower secondary schools.
(Protection from illegal and harmful information on the Internet)
156. The Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and
Telecommunications (then the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications)
started the "Study Group on Ensuring Appropriate Circulation of Information
on the Internet" (chaired by Professor Masao Horibe of Chuo University) in
May 2000. The report prepared in December of the same year proposed to
further the discussion on measures needed to support self-control by
Internet service providers (ISPs), etc., including clarification of ISP's
responsibilities, and legislation of procedures for disclosing information
of senders, and, as countermeasures on the recipient side,
to support efforts for promoting the widespread use of labeling/filtering
technology that intercepts access to undesirable information. In response to
these proposals, the Ministry plans to give further consideration to
clarification of responsibilities by ISPs, and legislation for disclosing
the sender information, as well as to prepare a system which enables
activities that help to promote wide-spread use of labeling/filtering.
The Telecommunications Advancement Organization of Japan, an organization authorized by the Ministry, had been conducting research and development for the advancement of rating/filtering technology, such as a technology to support contents rating, from January 1998 till March 2001. It has also been working, since FY 1999, on research and development of systems that will contribute to measures against improper use of information telecommunications, such as a system that supports countermeasures by ISPs, etc., against illegal and harmful information, and a system that controls troublesome communications on the Internet.
(Self-control, etc., of harmful information)
157. In accordance with changes of the social environment, the Government, by requesting the concerned business circles to practice self-control and self-restraint in offering harmful information, promotes protection of children from harmful information in cooperation with concerned industries.
State of Self-Control by Concerned Business Circles
|Mass Media in general||
|Movies, videos, computer software, etc.||
(Support for PTAs on measures against the negative influences of harmful information surrounding young people)
158. Since April 1998, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science
and Technology has been calling for concerned ministries and organizations
to consolidate self-imposed restrictions in order to take measures against
the negative influences of harmful information surrounding young people
including sexual or violent expressions in media. In
addition, the Ministry has been providing support for national monitoring
research of TV programs implemented by PTAs. In order to effectively support
the activities of NPOs, the Ministry is planning to conduct research to
study the cases of progressive activities of NPOs concerning TV programs
overseas in the fiscal year 2001.
Furthermore, the Government is promoting regional activities conducted by local residents or groups in order to protect children from harmful information, etc.
(Ordinances relating to protection and nurturing of youths)
159. Prefectural authorities establish youth protection ordinances for regulating harmful books, videos, movies, and advertisements in consideration of the existing circumstances of local communities. In the fiscal year 1999, the number of materials designated as harmful under ordinances was 23,685. The Government is aiming at the effective application of the ordinances.
Trends in the Number of Cases Designated as Harmful Under Youth Protection Ordinances
*Cases by the individual designation
(Torture, etc., of Children)
160. See Paragraphs 107-110 of the Initial Report of Japan.
(Corporal punishment at correctional institutions)
161. While the concluding observations adopted by the Committee on the Rights of the Child after reviewing the Initial Report of Japan recommended the prohibition on corporal punishment at various institutions (paragraph 45), the inmates of correctional institutions are guaranteed of the right not to be subjected to torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment, as described in paragraphs 107 to 110 of the Initial Report of Japan.
(Corporal punishment at child welfare facilities)
162. Corporal punishment at a child welfare facility is a serious violation
of the right of a child in the facility, and must never be allowed to
For this reason, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare has so far taken measures as follows:
(1) Revised the Minimum Standards for Child Welfare Facilities in February 1998 to include the provision on prohibiting the heads of facilities from abusing their authority for discipline, and endeavored to have them abide by it;
(2) Stipulated in the Social Welfare Law approved in June 2000, the obligation of managers of Social Welfare Businesses to make efforts in solving users' complaints; and required each prefecture to set a committee for proper management in the Social Welfare Council to provide a mechanism to address consultation of users with complaints and to mediate solution for the complaints;
(3) As for child welfare facilities, revised the Minimum Standards for Child Welfare Facilities in September 2000, to require the facilities to take necessary measures such as establishing a section to respond speedily and properly to complaints from children placed in the facility; and,
(4) For a facility that has committed an act of corporal punishment, violating the right of a child in the facility, gave a recommendation according to the Child Welfare Law to improve management of the facility, and provided guidance so that such act should never happen again.
(Corporal punishment at schools)
163. Corporal punishment at schools is strictly prohibited under Article 11
of the School Education Law. The Government has been giving instructions to
persons involved in education to realize the principle of this provision at
every possible opportunity, including training courses and conferences.
National Center for Teachers' Development, an independent administrative
institution responsible for the unified and comprehensive implementation of
training programs for teachers at the national level, provides lectures on
education-related laws and ordinances in training sessions for teachers
who are expected to play a leading role at each local level, or in
prefectures or cities. Such lectures deal with disciplinary actions and
corporal punishment against school children. At an annual conference of
student guidance teachers the Government promotes their awareness of this
At Japanese schools, disciplinary actions may be taken when they are considered necessary for educational purposes. In taking disciplinary actions, however, the Government has been repeatedly instructing the boards of education and other educational institutions, to pay full attention to the circumstances surrounding each student by listening to his/her explanation and opinions, and to ensure that such disciplinary actions have essential educational effects instead of serving merely as sanctions.
164. There are no court rulings in which a child is acknowledged to have been a victim of torture, etc.