Japan: Business & Human Rights Resource Centre and Human Rights Now survey shows most Japanese apparel companies fall short on human rights

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre and Human Rights Now, an international human rights NGO based in Tokyo, conducted a survey of the human rights policies and practices of the top 62 apparel companies in Japan. Despite individual approaches and reminders over a period of several months, only 21 companies responded to the survey - 33.8 percent. This low response rate in itself raises concern as to the level of understanding of companies regarding their human rights responsibilities, including their responsibility to respond to civil society concerns. Only half of the top 10 apparel companies responded, and only 37 percent of the top 30. Some companies stated it was their policy not to respond to human rights related surveys.  

The survey shows that a small number of leading companies have policies and procedures in place to prevent and remedy negative impacts their business activities may have on human rights. Aside from that small group, however, most companies have yet to take adequate measures - for example, of the 21 that responded, 9 still do not have human rights policies that make concrete reference to international human rights standards. Several companies have no procedure for remedying human rights abuses, and of those that do, most provide for them only in Japanese. Only four companies that responded to the survey - only one of which, Fast Retailing, is Japanese - has a remedy procedure accessible in languages other than Japanese. 

On the positive side, several companies stated that they had started to strengthen their human rights measures, at least partially because of this survey. The Japanese industry association is also reportedly discussing how to ensure that member companies respect human rights. 

In addition to summaries in both Japanese and English, the full results of the survey are available in Japanese here (at the bottom of the page).  

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23 December 2018

Japan: Human rights concerns in the Japanese apparel industry A majority of companies fail to implement mechanisms to either prevent or address human rights abuses

Author: Human Rights Now; Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

The results illustrate that, aside from a small group of leading companies, most apparel companies in Japan have yet to address human rights concerns adequately. The key findings include:


1) The response rate was low, with nearly two thirds of companies, including leading domestic Japanese companies, failing to respond to the questionnaire. 2) The mechanisms in place within most companies to implement human rights remain in the very early stages of development. 3) There was a distinct difference between the foreign companies and the Japanese companies. The Japanese companies, in general, lag behind. 
This is a grave concern and needs to be addressed. We urge the apparel industry in Japan to effect a significant improvement, in particular by the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

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+ 日本語 - Hide

Author: Human Rights Now

アンケート調査の結果を通して、一部のリーディングカンパニーを除いて、総体として 人権に対する取り組むが大きく立ち遅れているという状況が浮き彫りになった。
1) 全体に回答率が悪く、著名なブランドを持つ売り上げ上位の日本企業でも回答しない 企業が多かったこと、2) 一部の例外を除き、人権方針の実施が極めて初歩的な段階にある こと、3) グローバル企業との格差が顕著で、総体として日本企業の人権方針およびその実 施が立ち遅れていることが明らかになった。

この結果は 2020 年のオリンピックに向けて憂慮すべき事態であり、アパレル産業全体の 抜本的な対応改善を求める。

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