Press Releases

Demarche to the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography

November 9, 2015

1. On November 2, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (MOFA) issued a complaint against the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) over a comment made at a press conference on October 26 by Ms. Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, who visited Japan in late October, in which Special Rapporteur Boer-Buquicchio stated that “13% of schoolgirls have experienced ‘Enjo Kosai’ (compensated dating)” (initially the figure reported was 30%, but was subsequently amended as an erroneous interpretation to 13%). MOFA made a demarche to the OHCHR, as the rapporteur’s side, that she should disclose the basis and information source for the 13% figure.

2. In response, the OHCHR released a document on the same day acknowledging that she had not received an official statistic concerning this matter while in Japan, and explaining that the 13% figure was an estimate found in open sources that she mentioned to highlight a phenomenon that must be urgently tackled.

3. However, the basis and information source for the 13% figure was not clarified, and as a result, on November 7 (November 6 local time), MOFA once again made a demarche to the OHCHR through Mr. Kansuke Nagaoka, Minister of the Permanent Mission of Japan to the International Organizations in Geneva, stating that the above-mentioned explanation is completely unconvincing, that the comment was inappropriate and highly regrettable, that because the comment was made by an individual holding a United Nations title it will generate misunderstanding and be taken as fact, which will have serious consequences, and that the notion that it is acceptable to quote figures that lack a basis in order to highlight a problem that should be urgently tackled and to quote at a press conference or in a report information that lacks credibility because the source of the information cannot be clarified is totally unacceptable. MOFA strongly requested that the comment be retracted, and made a demarche that a report the Special Rapporteur is scheduled to submit to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in March 2016 should be based on objective data.

4. The OHCHR replied that it will convey the Japanese side’s demarche to the Special Rapporteur herself, and will ask her to respond.

5. In regard to this matter, MOFA will continue to strongly request the retraction of her comment, and the creation of a report that is based on objective data.

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