Migrant face racism and discrimination in Japan: Rights expert

Last Updated: Friday, April 2, 2010 - 00:01

United Nations: Discrimination based on
race and nationality still plagues Japanese society, including
its schools and workplace, even as the migrant community in
the country is subjected to exploitation, an independent human
rights expert has said.

After concluding a nine-day visit to Japan, an
independent human rights expert Jorge Bustamante, a UN Special
Rapporteur on rights of migrants slammed Japan for persisting
racism, discrimination and exploitation faced by migrants in
the country.
"Racism and discrimination based on nationality are
still too common in Japan, including in the workplace, in
schools, in health care establishments and housing," said
Jorge Bustamante, UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of

"While Japan started receiving migrant workers 20
years ago, it has yet to adopt a comprehensive immigration
policy that provides for the protection of migrants? rights,"
he added, noting a tendency by the judiciary and police to
ignore their rights.

The human rights expert strongly urged Japan to
discontinue its industrial trainees and technical interns
programme, which in some cases amounted to slavery.

The programme, he described said, "constitute
violations of the right to physical and mental health,
physical integrity, freedom of expression and movement of
foreign trainees and interns, and that in some cases may well
amount to slavery.
This programme should be discontinued and replaced by
an employment programme," the expert said.

Stressing that the current general provisions in the
Constitution were not offering adequate protection to foreign
residents, Bustamante called on Japan to adopt specific
legislation on the prevention and elimination of racial

"The Special Rapporteur heard recurring complaints
about the fact that the judiciary does not recognise the
rights of migrants as spelled out in national legislation but
instead favours Japanese nationals," a statement released by
the United Nations Human Rights body, said.

The independent investigator also found that a large
number of migrant women suffered from domestic violence, and
called for appropriate policies to protect and assist single
mothers and their children.

"A considerable number of migrant children in Japan
do not attend school. Governmental efforts should be increased
to facilitate that foreign children study either in Japanese
or foreign schools, and learn Japanese," he said.


First Published: Friday, April 2, 2010 - 00:01
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