Japan human rights proponents react to UN working group report

Proponents working on human rights issues in Japan have held a news conference following the release of a report by a working group of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

The Working Group on Business and Human Rights has released the report based on its first survey conducted in Japan in July and August last year.

The report refers to sexual abuse scandals involving Johnny Kitagawa, the late founder of a major talent agency formerly known as Johnny & Associates which is now Smile-Up, and the issue of long working hours in the animation industry.

It also pinpoints challenges to address discrimination against LGBTQ persons and working conditions for foreign technical intern trainees.

At a news conference in Tokyo on Thursday, an international human rights NGO noted that the report includes the working group's 25 recommendations for the Japanese government and 10 recommendations for the country's corporations.

The NGO added that the report also maintains that "systemic human rights challenges in Japan are not being sufficiently tackled."

Among other participants at the news conference was Muraki Maki who heads a group working to resolve issues involving Japan's LGBTQ community.

Muraki urged the central and local governments to do more to promote public understanding of LGBTQ and take action to improve human rights situation and provide remedy for the people. She called for the establishment of an independent human rights body.

Muraki also called for effective measures against hate speeches on the internet, which are also referred to in the report.

Hiramoto Junya, who formerly headed a group of alleged victims of Johnny Kitagawa, quoted the working group as saying in the report that "it is still a long way from meeting the needs of the victims."

He urged people and businesses in Japan to have another look at human rights issues.

The deputy leader of the victims' group, Ishimaru Shimon, said that he wants people in media to bear in mind that the report points out media's involvement in sexual abuse scandals.

Ishimaru said that he also wants journalists to remember that, when they report, there are hundreds of people who have not yet been compensated.

The working group's report is expected to be submitted to the UN Human Rights Council in late June.