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Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games

Tokyo will host the 2020 summer Olympic games.  Preparation for the Olympics is proceeding against a backdrop of social change in Japan. Once an equal society, Japan has witnessed a dramatic increase in wealth disparity and skyrocketing poverty.  Over 35% of the workforce is in temporary employment, usually with lower pay and fewer (if any) benefits.  The status of women in the workplace also remains problematic, with an extremely low percentage of women in managerial positions, and widespread sexual harassment.  And while the Olympic bid was successful after the Prime Minister gave personal assurances that the cleanup of the 2011 nuclear disaster was “under control”, subsequent developments put in question those assurances.  Tens of thousands of people are still living in temporary accommodation, and measures to hold TEPCO energy company accountable have not advanced.

The treatment of foreign labourers will be subject to particular scrutiny in the run-up to the Olympics. The Foreign Trainee Programme (now the Technical Intern Training Programme) continues to be a hotbed of abuse, and has been condemned not only by human rights actors but even by the US Department of State. Japan lacks comprehensive antidiscrimination legislation, and instances persist of private establishments refusing foreign customers.  Private companies involved in the 2020 Olympics must be able to demonstrate that they are respecting human rights, not only domestically but also throughout their supply chains abroad.

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24 June 2015

Japan: Comments sought on human rights statement for 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Caux Round Table Japan (CRT-Japan) and the Institute for Human Rights and Business(IHRB) are working together to help galvanise respect for human rights as part of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The two organisations are preparing a Human Rights Statement...

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16 June 2015

Japan: Expert group recommends human rights for 2020 Tokyo Olympics theme

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26 May 2015

Japan: First bill outlawing racism, hate speech submitted to parliament

Author: Tomohiro Osaki, Japan Times

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13 May 2015

Japan: Progress still needed in ensuring access for persons with disabilities

Author: Magdalena Osumi, Japan Times

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20 April 2015

Japan: Concerns high as foreign trainee system is expanded for Olympics

The Japanese government decided in April 2014 to expand the Foreign Trainee Programme (now the Technical Internship Training Programme), to ensure an adequate supply of unskilled labour in the run up to the 2020 Olympics. The Foreign Trainee Programme...

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5 April 2015

Comments sought: Sustainability Themes for 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics

The Group of Experts for Sustainable Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games is seeking comments on proposed sustainability themes (available in both English and Japanese) for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. Comments will be deliberated by the...

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23 March 2015

Japan: Caux Round Table Japan calls for a sustainable and rights respecting Tokyo Olympics

Caux Round Table Japan issued a statement in English and Japanese calling on the authorities (domestic and international) and corporate sponsors to ensure a sustainable and rights respecting Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics 2020, building on the lessons...

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2 January 2015

Japan: Human rights abuses persist in the "foreign trainee" programme

Since 1993, Japan has operated a foreign trainee programme (the Technical Intern Trainee Programme), under which persons from developing countries are employed as technical interns by companies in Japan for a maximum of three years, ostensibly to...

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5 May 2015

"The Worst Internship Ever": Report on exploitation of migrant workers in Japan

Author: Vice

Japan is facing a serious labor shortage, a problem that can be traced back to an aging population and a prevailing fear that immigrants will dilute the country's pure gene pool. In order to keep the world's third-largest economy afloat, the Japanese...

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