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4 Apr 2023

The Japan News

Japan: Govt. decides to require business to respect human rights in bidding instructions and contracts in public procurement

"Japan Seeks Greater Human Rights Protection in Government Procurement" 4 April 2023

A clause requiring efforts to respect human rights will be included in the bidding instructions and contracts used when the government purchases products and services from businesses, it has been decided.

The decision was made Monday at a meeting of government entities related to public works projects and government procurement. [...]

Gen Nakatani, special advisor to the prime minister for international human rights issues, said at the meeting, “I expect this measure to further enhance efforts by both the public and private sectors to respect human rights.”

The principle agreed upon in the meeting is expected to be stipulated in the basic policy on economic and fiscal management and reform, which will be adopted by the Cabinet in June.

Participants agreed at the meeting that bidding instructions and contracts used when the government purchases products and services will include a stipulation requiring efforts to respect human rights. The clause will oblige businesses that provide products or services to make efforts not to use parts and products that have been manufactured by violating human rights, such as forced labor overseas.

However, as businesses will be obliged only to “make efforts,” it remains uncertain whether government entities will be able to take strict measures, such as terminating contracts, when human rights violations during production are exposed.

Government entities intend to enhance the new measure’s effectiveness by verifying whether contractors are paying careful attention to human rights during the manufacturing process.


In the run-up to the G7 summit meeting to be held in Hiroshima in May, the government intends to demonstrate its respect for human rights by working out a policy to eliminate human rights violations from the supply chain related to government procurement.