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14 Sep 2022

Japanese Trade Union Confederation

Japanese Trade Union Confederation urges govt. for better stakeholder engagement and welcomes inclusion of labour unions in HRDD Guidelines

[ 「責任あるサプライチェーン等における人権尊重のためのガイドライン」の策定・公表に対する談話] 14 September 2022

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

  1. We welcome the development of guidelines to promote respect for human rights in the supply chain.
    [...] Amidst a wave of legislation, mainly in Europe, that makes it mandatory to take action on human rights due diligence (prevention, mitigation and remedy of adverse human rights impacts), we welcome the formulation of the guidelines in Japan as a first step towards strengthening efforts in this area.
  2. Cooperation with stakeholders in the drafting process remains a challenge.
    The guidelines are commendable in that they cover all companies operating in Japan, including those that are not direct business partners such as suppliers, and they should make efforts to respect human rights to the fullest extent. The scope of human rights to be respected was also defined as all internationally recognised human rights, including the ILO's core labour standards.
    On the other hand, certain issues remained in the process of formulating the Guidelines, such as the lack of sufficient coordination with the members of the Round Table on the Promotion of the National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights. The Government is again urged to improve the process by emphasising cooperation between relevant ministries and agencies and dialogue with stakeholders.
  3. The inclusion of trade union engagement is important
    We have been advocating the importance of trade union engagement in all aspects of human rights due diligence. Through day-to-day labour-management relations, trade unions raise issues related to workers' human rights, such as improving workplace occupational health and safety standards and preventing harassment, while taking workers' voices into account and seeking to resolve these issues. In light of this, it is very important that the engagement of trade unions is mentioned throughout the guidelines.
  4. We will also work to strengthen the protection of human rights in business activities
    With the formulation of the guidelines, we expect to broaden and strengthen its efforts to include small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the future. Human rights due diligence is often discussed from the perspective of reducing management risk and improving corporate value, but its essence lies in realising a society in which respect for human rights is taken for granted. To this end, trade unions, as special stakeholders in corporate activities, are also expected to strengthen their efforts to protect the human rights of all workers in the supply chain. We will continue to participate in relevant government meetings and work with other stakeholders to strengthen the protection of human rights in corporate activities.