Press Releases

Launch of Japan’s National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights

October 16, 2020

1. On October16, with the aim of promoting respect for human rights in the context of business activities, the Inter-Ministerial Committee for Japan’s National Action Plan (NAP) on Business and Human Rights launched the NAP.

2. In keeping with increased international attention on the need for business enterprises to respect human rights, the UN Human Rights Council endorsed the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (hereinafter the UNGPs) and encouraged all States to develop a national action plan. The protection and promotion of human rights are also considered important to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The UNGPs-based NAP was drawn up against such a background, through cooperation by relevant ministries and agencies.

3. The NAP lists a series of measures related to business and human rights to be implemented by the Government. It also sets out expectations for business enterprises to promote introducing human rights due diligence in the context of their business activities.

4. Through the implementation and promotion of the NAP and by encouraging responsible business conduct, the Government of Japan will endeavor to ensure the coherence of policy measures taken by the relevant ministries and agencies with regard to business and human rights. The Government also wishes to contribute to promoting and protecting both the human rights of people who would be adversely affected by the activities of business enterprises and human rights for society as a whole, including the international community. Furthermore, the Government hopes that the NAP will serve to enhance company values and Japanese enterprises’ competitiveness and will contribute to the achievement of the SDGs.

Reference 1: Background of Japan’s National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights
In 2016, the Government of Japan announced its intention to formulate a National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights. The Government further reiterated this intention in various policy documents such as “Growth Strategy 2018” and the “SDGs Implementation Guiding Principles Revised Edition.”

In 2018, as the initial step of developing the NAP, the Government of Japan undertook a Government-led baseline study with the aim of assessing the current landscape surrounding legislation and policies and the extent to which they provide for the protection of human rights in the context of business activities.
The Government of Japan established an Advisory Committee for the NAP on Business and Human Rights (hereinafter the Advisory Committee) and a Working Group on the NAP on Business and Human Rights (hereinafter the Working Group). Taking into account the views from the Advisory Committee meetings and the Working Group meetings as well as comments received in the “public comment” procedure, the Government of Japan formulated the NAP.

Reference 2: The Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Implementing the United Nations “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework (The UNGPs)
In 2011, the 17th session of the UN Human Rights Council unanimously endorsed the UNGPs, which are composed of three pillars: (1) the State duty to protect against human rights abuses by third parties, including business enterprises; (2) the corporate responsibility to respect human rights; and (3) access to remedy.

Reference 3: Human Rights Due Diligence
Human rights due diligence is a process of identifying, preventing, mitigating, and accounting for how business enterprises address their impacts on human rights. (The UNGPs)

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