Responding department: Rules and Regulations Office, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
Note from the respondents: "From the outset, it should be noted that the Rules and Regulations Office of METI (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry), Government of Japan, fills out the answers below based on the office's knowledge and thus the answers may not be comprehensive and there could be other activities, initiatives, positions and/or plans that are not mentioned in the answers below. These answers are of said office and by no means meant to represent positions, opinions and/or priorities of the whole Government of Japan."
Has your government taken any initiatives to reduce companies’ negative impacts on human rights that you consider particularly successful?
Japan promotes human rights education and enlightenment in a synthetic and planned manner, based on the Basic Plan on Human Rights Education and Enlightenment (approved in a Cabinet meeting in March 2002, and partially modified in 2011), which was based on the Act of Promoting Human Rights Education and Promoting Human Rights Development (implemented in December 2000). As a part of the enlightenment activities, Japan hosts lecture meetings and symposiums for industry and business sectors in all parts of the country on various human rights issues regarding business activities from the viewpoint of corporate social responsibility. The seminars held so far are listed on the webpage in the Japanesel anguage at: [link] Japan also distributes leaflets that will be helpful for enlightenment activities on corporate social responsibility and others.
What department or departments have significant responsibility for business and human rights within your government?
Since the issue of business and human rights is rather new, at the moment, there seems to be no specific department that is specialised in this issue. However, METI (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry) takes charge of business activities, and Ministry of Justice takes charge of human rights enlightenment. When it comes to ODA projects, three ministries of MOFA (Ministry of Foreign Affairs), MOF (Ministry of Finance) and METI are mainly responsible. MEXT (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology) is responsible for human rights education. Thus it would be appropriate for these ministries to handle the issue in cooperation with each other.
Has your government undertaken new business & human rights initiatives or strengthened existing ones since the endorsement of the UN Guiding Principles in June 2011?
Has your government adopted a National Action Plan on business and human rights as encouraged by the UN Human Rights Council and UN Working Group on business & human rights, or will it do so in the future?
At the moment Japan does not have a National Action Plan on business and human rights. However, Japan does have a national plan on human rights education and enlightenment. In the plan, the government is to call for business sector to promote female participation, respect for children's human rights, and corporation on other human rights issues.