Japan's Muji Stops Short of Ban on Cotton From Xinjiang, Where Forced Labor is Rife
21 Feb 2021
Japanese clothing and lifestyle brand Muji says it has stopped exporting cotton sourced in Xinjiang to the United States, but rights groups say the company has done little to remove Xinjiang cotton -- which has been linked forced labor by mostly ethnic Uyghur detainees who have committed no crime -- from its supply chain.
The company said in comments e-mailed to RFA that since the outgoing Trump administration had banned imports of cotton and tomato products from Xinjiang last month, it had stopped exporting items made with Xinjiang cotton there "to comply with U.S. laws and regulations."
"We are no longer exporting any products containing Xinjiang cotton to the United States, since the order," the company's public relations team said by e-mail... But it stopped short of saying it would stop using cotton from Xinjiang.
Campaigner Yang Zhengxian said companies like Muji are unlikely to act unilaterally, or without pressure from consumers and governments.
"They need a kick or a prod, because what they are doing right now is unacceptable," Yang said. "Muji is making it very clear that it doesn't care about the U.S. market, which isn't a surprise."