The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan

Article 7

107. It is important to enhance awareness of human rights in every individual in addition to the coordination of Japan's legal system, in order to eliminate racial prejudice and discrimination. The Government has continued to promote human rights education and numerous activities to enlighten people on human rights protection. The Government intends to further fulfill measures in this field, following the conclusion of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the proclamation of the decade from 1995 as the "United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education."
Under the Law of Promotion of Measures for Human Rights Protection (Paragraph 42) enacted in December 1996, the Council for Human Rights Promotion was established in March 1997. The Council has been investigating and examining the basic matters of the comprehensive promotion of education and inculcation, which enhance the level of understanding on the concept of respecting human rights among citizens in accordance with a mandate from the Minister of Justice, the Minister of Education, Culture and Science, and the Director General of Management and Coordination Agency.

Education and Professors

108. It is important that school children study how to properly respect fundamental human rights, deepen their level of understanding of different ethnic groups, and eliminate racial or ethnic discrimination or prejudice. Therefore, elementary schools, junior high schools and high schools offer instruction on matters regarding respect of human rights through overall educational activities. These schools also promote education that will lead to deeper understand and respect for the ways of life and cultures of people of various foreign countries. Especially in social studies and ethics classes, school children, according to the particular development stage, study the significance and the role of international law on human rights and the respect of fundamental human rights.
Furthermore, in universities and junior colleges, students deepen their knowledge and understanding of human rights through seminars on humanities, social sciences and other fields. The Government provides financial support to municipalities that offer various high-level learning opportunities appropriate for the community and which meet the needs of the people at social education facilities, including citizen's public halls, conveniently located for the local residents. Thus, various academic activities take place, such as classes and lectures on understanding foreign cultures and human rights, which are important subjects of study in modern society.
109. Officials engaged in human rights protection and Civil Liberties Commissioners work together to disseminate and enhance the concept of respect for human rights to the general public. They use various methods to conduct these activities, including sponsoring symposia, lectures, discussion meetings, debates and films; participating in various events; television/radio/cable broadcasting; placing announcements in newspapers and notices in PR magazines; distributing pamphlets and other printed materials; putting up posters, banners and signboards; touring with PR vehicles, and holding exhibitions.
"The Festival on Human Rights Awareness" is a large scale event cosponsored by the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture, the Management and Coordination Agency, and the local authorities at the location for the program. This event is held every year at three in Japan. During this event, the programs to raise people's awareness of human rights, such as a symposium on human rights, presentation of reference materials, showing of movies, and such cultural activities as concerts and presentation of local cultures are carried out in a synchronized manner, in order to secure a higher level of participation in the event and to raise people's awareness of human rights. In 1998, under the theme of "Consider others Human Rights as well as your own Human Rights", the festival was held in three locations in which a total of 79,000 people participated.
Public awareness campaigns are carried out across the country every Human Rights Week, which ends on Human Rights Day, December 10. At the Cabinet session on September 25, 1998, the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Foreign Affairs determined that December 1998 be the commemorative month for the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 50th anniversary of Japan's establishment of the Civil Liberties Commissioner System, so as to increase people's recognition of the significance and importance of both the declaration and the system. Both Ministers also announced that, based on the national action plan for the UN Decade for Human Rights Education (determined on July 4, 1997), various events will be held for the promotion of education and efforts for raising awareness.
Accordingly, in December 1998, in place of the efforts which had been made thus far during the Human Rights Week (December 4th - 10th), the Ministry of Justice and the National Federation of Consultative Assemblies of the Civil Liberties Commissioners carried out an awareness campain under the motto of "raise awareness in the era of globalization", so as to strengthen people's understanding and recognition on various human rights problems, regardless of nationality, including racial discrimination.
Moreover, having established the Day of the Civil Liberties Commissioners on June 1 of every year, which commemorates the enforcement day of Civil Liberties Commissioners Law (June 1, 1949), the National Federation of Consultative Assemblies of the Civil Liberties Commissioners carries out nationwide activities to make the Civil Liberties Commissioners System widely know to the public and also to raise awareness of the human rights.

The United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education

110. Japan announced a national action plan for the "United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education" in July 1997. The said plan aims to create a universal culture of human protection and carry out training/seminars, PR activities and related information services. In view of the principles of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Government intends to further promote campaigns for human rights, recognizing that human rights education is the most important tool to disseminate the concept of human rights among the general public. The Government will also pursue the promotion of human rights education in line with the national action plan, which puts particular emphasis on respect for the rights of the Ainu people and the elimination of prejudice and discrimination against foreigners.


The Ainu Culture
111. The Government has continued to promote Ainu culture through the Utari Welfare Measures of Hokkaido Prefecture. The human rights organs of the Ministry of Justice are making efforts to promote public understanding of the Ainu people by publishing and distributing human rights materials titled "the Ainu People and Human Rights". The report of the Round Table on the Policy for the Ainu People (See Article 1) concluded that all possible measures, including legislative measures, should be taken for the conservation and promotion of the Ainu language and their traditional culture and to facilitate understanding of the Ainu people, such as (a) promotion of comprehensive and practical study of the Ainu, (b) promotion of the Ainu culture, including the Ainu language, (c) reestablishment of traditional life space, and (d) facilitation of understanding. Respecting the report, the Government enacted the Law for the Promotion of the Ainu Culture and for the Dissemination and Advocacy for the Traditions of the Ainu and the Ainu Culture in May 1997 and intends to promote the Ainu culture under the said Law.
International Cultural Exchange
112. With the internationalization of the Japanese society, opening people's minds and promoting mutual understanding of different races and ethnicity has become important in Japan to respect each other's values and to coexist by overcoming ethnic and cultural differences.
The Government, with such perception, actively implements many kinds of personal and cultural exchange programmes with various foreign countries at all levels, such as science, art, youth and student exchanges. The Government considers youth exchanges to be particularly important, as the youth of today will be the driving force of tomorrow. Therefore, the Government makes efforts to promote youth exchanges and acceptance of foreign students, as well as to expand the exchanges with various foreign schools. The local governments implement programmes to facilitate the understanding about foreign countries and areas and exchange programmes, to which the Government gives financial support.
Public Relation Activities
113. The Government has prepared and distributed pamphlets on the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and other United Nations human rights instruments. After the conclusion of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs prepared 100,000 pamphlets describing the process of the drafting of the said Convention, the full text of the Convention and the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, and distributed the pamphlets to related organizations, such as ministries, local governments, police offices around the country, public libraries, NGOs and those who requested such literature. The Government also tries to disseminate the meaning and the contents of the said Convention through Government PR magazines, radio programs and lectures. Moreover, major information on the said Convention is also offered on the Internet.
The human rights organs of the Ministry of Justice has also prepared 160,000 leaflets explaining the meaning of the said Convention and the process of its drafting, and makes them available to local governments through the Legal Affairs Bureau and District Legal Affairs Bureaus around the country. It also distributes the leaflets to the general public at lectures and symposia.
The Government plans to distribute this report to related ministries and make it widely available to the general public should they request it.

Back to Index