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25 Nov 2022

Teppei Kasai, Human Rights Watch

Japan Football Association President Sidelines Rights Issues in Qatar

As the FIFA World Cup kicked off in Qatar this week, Kohzo Tashima, the president of the Japan Football Association (JFA), told journalists it was “unfavorable that topics other than soccer are being raised at this point.”…

“As an association, we of course want to bring issues of discrimination and human rights towards a better direction, but we think right now is the time to focus on soccer,” Tashima said.

What’s truly “unfavorable” is that Tashima’s comments contradict JFA’s pledge of “social and international contribution”. They effectively let Qatari authorities off the hook for serious rights abuses...

Thirteen national football federations have supported the demand by Human Rights Watch and other human rights organizations for a remedy fund to compensate migrant workers and their families for wage abuses, injuries, and deaths. So have FIFA sponsors including AB InBev, Adidas, Coca-Cola, Visa, and McDonald. The JFA has not.

Instead of turning their back on these abuses, Tashima and JFA should stand with migrant workers and their families by joining the call for a remedy fund, and support players, fans, and other national teams who wish to express solidarity with LGBT people, and who stand up for an end to human rights abuses in sports.