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7 Mar 2023

Elizabeth Beattie, the Japan Times

Japan: Companies incl. Mitsubishi Electric, Toshiba, Yamaha and Kirin sign up for grievance mechanism launched by Japan Center for Engagement and Remedy on Business and Human Rights

"Japan firms sign up for greater scrutiny of rights issues in supply chains" 7 March 2023

Amid growing global scrutiny of human rights issues in relation to supply chains, prominent Japanese companies including Mitsubishi Electric, Toshiba, Yamaha and Kirin have signed up for a platform designed to address such concerns in Japan and overseas.

Designed by the Japan Center for Engagement and Remedy on Business and Human Rights (JaCER) and launched late last year, the platform allows for allegations of human rights violations to be filed against member companies through an online process. In February, JaCER released its first grievance list, which included an overseas complaint from a worker at a Japanese company’s China operation.

The U.N. Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights state that grievance mechanisms should be in place in order to address claims of abuse and protect individuals, but lawyer and JaCER Representative Director Sakon Kuramoto said that in Japan, few companies had established such tools.

“The grievance mechanism is one of the three main factors under the international norms, including the U.N. guiding principles,” Kuramoto said. “Companies should set up and maintain the grievance mechanism under the international norms, but actually, very few Japanese companies set up such mechanisms exactly in line with such international norms.”


Kuramoto said while there was still a way to go, he was optimistic about the receptiveness of businesses in Japan.

“The issue of human rights will become increasingly important … for management executives in Japanese companies,” he said.

“Japanese companies understand this current trend in the international business society, they understand if they are not able to take action, their businesses will (struggle).”