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29 Aug 2021

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Japan: Government embarks on a large-scale investigation of human rights violations in supply chains

"【独自】サプライチェーン上の人権問題、政府が大規模調査へ…東証1・2部上場など対象" 5 August 2021

[Japanese-to-English translation: Business & Human Rights Resource Centre]

In August, the Japanese government will conduct a large-scale investigation mainly on listed companies to understand the human rights issues in their supply chains. As legislation on mandatory human rights due diligence is being promoted in Europe and the United States, there are growing concerns that Japanese companies may lose international competitiveness if they fail to address such issues properly.

The investigation will be conducted on about 2,600 companies that are listed in the first and second sections of the Tokyo Stock Exchange as well as other companies the government thinks necessary. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will conduct surveys and interviews to ask about how the companies address human rights issues and what kind of support they need from the government.

The findings will be provisionally compiled, and issues will be sorted out in September. After that, the government will discuss whether rules or legislation requiring companies to address relevant issues are necessary.


However, the processes of sharing information with businesses and identifying issues have just begun. In effect, companies must make their own decisions without any law or guidelines to follow. As China pushes back against the growing regulatory pressure from the United States and Europe, Japan could face the dilemma among these countries.