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17 May 2021

Megumi Fujikawa, The Wall Street Journal

Japan’s Muji Appeals to China by Advertising Use of Xinjiang Cotton

"Japan’s Muji Appeals to China by Advertising Use of Xinjiang Cotton", 11 May 2021

[...] The Japanese chain has publicly sided with the Chinese government in a way that many Western and Japanese companies won’t. Muji says it uses cotton from the Xinjiang region–where the U.S. State Department says mostly Muslim Uyghurs are forced to labor in internment camps—and doesn’t see a problem with advertising that fact. [...]

Muji’s public statements represent one approach to the dilemma of doing business in China for apparel companies. Companies sometimes have to choose whether to please China’s government—and the many consumers in the country who follow the official lead—or heed the warnings of human-rights activists. Those activists say it is impossible for outsiders to ascertain whether the cotton used in T-shirts and other garments is being harvested humanely in Xinjiang.

Last month, Muji’s parent said it conducted an on-site audit at more than 12,000 acres of farms and other facilities in the Xinjiang region in 2020 and found no material human-rights violations. Earlier, the company had said the audit didn’t identify significant issues other than some that could be fixed.

The April statement said Muji’s use of cotton from organic farms was helping to improve the lives of people working there.


Part of the following timelines

China: 83 major brands implicated in report on forced labour of ethnic minorities from Xinjiang assigned to factories across provinces; Includes company responses

Brands face boycott in China over decision not to source Xinjiang cotton due to allegations of forced labour