Japan: Govt. publishes HRDD guidelines after finding 1 in 5 companies have no human rights guidelines or safeguards in first national survey of corporate efforts on human rights in supply chains
In September and October 2021, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) jointly conducted the first government survey on the situation of corporate initiatives on business and human rights in supply chains. In the Japanese National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights (NAP) established in October 2020, the Japanese government expressed its expectation that Japanese companies, regardless of their size or industry, would introduce Human Rights Due Diligence (HRDD). This survey was conducted as part of the follow-up to the NAP.
The survey targeted 2,786 firms listed in the first and second sections of the Tokyo Stock Exchange. 760 companies responded, revealing crucial issues that need to be addressed by the Japanese government and businesses, including the fact that 1 in 5 companies have no human rights guidelines or safeguards.
In response to the result, in March 2022, the METI created the "Study Group on Guidelines for Respecting Human Rights in Supply Chains” to establish a cross-industry guideline for human rights due diligence. Prior to the finalizing development of the guideline around September, public comments are solicited from August 8 to 29 for the draft guidelines.
Business & Human Rights Resource Centre made a co-submission with the World Benchmarking Alliance.
On 13 September 2022, the government published the Guidelines after receiving more than 700 public comments from 131 organisations, businesses and individuals.
In December 2022, the government announced to introduce a preferential treatment in public procurement to businesses respecting human rights in supply chains.
On 4 April 2023, the government decided to require businesses to respect human rights in bidding instructions and contracts in public procurement. The principle agreed upon 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.
On the same day, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry published practical reference material to complement the preceding guidelines.
This page compiles related updates with regard to government efforts.