The Durban Review Conference
Statement of Japan

April 20-24, 2009

Mr. President,
Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my great pleasure and honour to deliver a statement on behalf of the Government of Japan at the Durban Review Conference. I would also like to offer my respect and sincere gratitude to Mr. President Wako and the High Commissioner for Human Rights Madam Pillay for providing us with this opportunity to discuss a very important issue, the fight against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. I would also like to take this opportunity to express our appreciation to Madam Al-Hajjaji, chairperson of the Preparatory Committee, for her excellent chairpersonship, and Mr. Boychenko, Chairperson-Rapporteur of the ISWG from the Russian Federation, for his strenuous works on the finalization of the draft outcome document.

In this regard, I would like to join other participants of the conference in congratulating the adoption of the outcome document yesterday.

It is important to recall the original purpose of the review, "unite against racism: dignity and justice for all." Based on the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (DDPA) adopted in 2001, Japan hopes that we will have future-oriented and forward-looking discussions towards the elimination of racism and come up with practical and effective measures to fight against racism in the world.

It is deeply regrettable, however, that the statements by some of the earlier speakers, using this Conference as a platform to be divisive, included what is contrary to achieving the objectives of this Review Conference. In this vein, it was deplorable to hear the remarks by Iranian President made earlier in this Conference. We are here to "unite against racism" and to discuss how best to implement DDPA. It is Japan's strong and sincere desire that all participating delegations will be engaged with this august Conference in a constructive and cooperative manner, respecting its objectives and spirit.

Mr. President,

I would like to touch upon some of the policies and measures taken by Japan to fight against racism and racial discrimination. The Constitution of Japan, which was promulgated in 1946, stipulates that all people are equal under the law, and that there shall be no discrimination in political, economic or social relations because of race, creed, sex, social status, or family origin. Based on the Constitution and relevant domestic laws, Japan has been fighting various forms of discrimination based on race and other reasons and thriving to realize a society without any form of racial or ethnic discrimination.

The Government of Japan has been actively promoting the elimination of prejudice or discrimination against foreigners in our country, acceptance of foreign cultures and diversity, and respect for the human rights for foreigners, in accordance with the Basic Plan for Promotion of Human Rights Education and Encouragement.

During Human Rights Week, which is the week prior to the 10th of December -- the day of Human Rights, the Government of Japan carries out various nation-wide awareness-raising activities centering on human rights issues. "Respect the human rights of foreigners" is one of the slogans for this campaign. In order for foreigners to become accustomed to the living environment in Japan and to be able to receive the same residential services as members of Japanese society, the Programme to Accelerate Foreigners' Adaptation to the Life Environment was started in 2007. It covers such measures as Japanese language classes for foreigners of Japanese descent, teacher training for foreigners who speak Japanese, as well as model programmes to support the school enrolment of foreign children.

In addition, Human Rights Counseling Offices for Foreign Nationals with interpretation services have been established in major cities in Japan to deal with all forms of human rights counseling for foreigners.

Concerning the Ainu people, the Japanese Diet unanimously adopted a resolution in June 2008 recognizing that the Ainu People are an indigenous people residing mainly in Hokkaido. Responding to this resolution, the Government of Japan has established an "Advisory Panel of Eminent Persons on policies for the Ainu people." The Panel is expected to conclude policy recommendations this summer, and the Government intends to plan and promote comprehensive policies for the Ainu people in consideration of the recommendations by the Panel.

In this era of highly-developed information technology, we have growing concerns on violations of human rights, including racial discrimination through the Internet. In Japan, the "Guidelines for Defamation and Privacy" were adopted by the Telecommunications Carriers Association as a code of conduct for Internet service providers and similar businesses. The revised Guidelines now include a procedure for fighting serious human rights abuse cases, by which the human rights organs of the Ministry of Justice are authorized to request ISPs to delete information that infringes on the rights of others.

Mr. President,

On this auspicious occasion, and as a State Party to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, Japan would like to reaffirm that it is firmly resolved to fight against discrimination and will continue to make every effort to achieve a society in which each person is respected as an individual and can fully realize his or her own human potential. These efforts are not limited to Japan, but extend to the rest of the world, as Japan has been engaged under the concept of human security.

Lastly, we are here to "unite against racism" and to discuss how best to implement the DDPA. It is our strong wish and hope that this Conference will be another important step to carry out this task with which the international community is charged.

Thank you for your attention.

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