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UN Report March 2013 – Japanese delegation to The UN spreads Lies and Deception!

 Published by nuclear-news.net
9 May 2013
Edited by Arclight2011

Editors note: As an introduction to this post I would like to say that finding this report was difficult.. the link on the UN website search would not allow me there.. However, I found a way!

I will post a short video up of the fun I had getting the link maybe, but the important and relevant bits are here below!

At the bottom I will leave a link to the issues brought up by the rapporteur to Japan in November 2012.. Were those issues just brushed aside here? WHO is responsible? You decide!

Image source ; courtesy of the err IAEA 🙂

[…]

Regarding those that survived the atomic bombing, their medical needs related to their exposure was subsidised and this would allow them to maintain a suitable level of living. 

[…]

On a more technical point, it was explained that annual exposure to radiation was at the level advised by the International Commission on Radiological Protection.

[…]

On another point, the delegation said there was financial support available for refugees as they waited for their file to be processed.

[…]

In case of the loss of a head of household as a result of Fukushima, there was a 5 million yen compensation payment – and for the loss of a female, the compensation was half as much.

[…]

Policies to realise public policies on the promotion of science and technology were in place, as well as awareness raising on the ability of technology to improve quality of life.

[…]

More information was now being disclosed through information materials and press conferences on Fukushima, said a member of the delegation, and this was to make decision making more transparent. 

Continued reviews were required on the part of operators of nuclear power plants to ensure operations were as safe as possible.

[…]

On science and technology, the country was trying to connect it to the overall development of Japan, as their greatest resource was the people.  The idea was to use this knowledge for the benefit of the whole world. 

[…]

The concluding remarks of the Committee would be adopted on 17 May, and as a group they looked forward to the follow-up.

[…]

Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights considers Report of Japan

Committee on Economic, Social
  and Cultural Rights

30 April 2013

The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights today considered the third periodic report of Japan on how that country implements the provisions of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Introducing the report of Japan, Hideaki Ueda, Ambassador in charge of Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Japan, said Japan had a target for increasing the number of women in leadership positions and an action plan to combat human trafficking.  The number of persons with disabilities in employment had risen and persons with disabilities were offered vocational guidance carefully tailored to their abilities and aptitudes. The Government had implemented emergency support measures in the wake of the financial crisis, and support for employment for youth had been strengthened.  An integrated reform of the social security system had taken place and insurance payment requirements for pension payments had been relaxed.

The Committee asked about the labour force supply and demand structure, working hours, labour agreements, the National Wage Council, the linkage between the minimum wage and the benefit programme, the health insurance system, social security, nuclear accidents and how the comments of the Committee were considered in Japan.  Also issues concerning the impact of the financial situation on Japan’s ability to implement the provisions of the Covenant, austerity measures, the Fukushima nuclear power station accident and alternative forms of energy were raised.

Some extracts here to help locate quotes above in document below

[..]

There had been an intensive reform of institutional systems for persons with disabilities.  The number of persons with disabilities in employment had risen and persons with disabilities were offered vocational guidance carefully tailored to their abilities and aptitudes. A bill had been submitted to the Diet which promoted the elimination of discrimination on the basis of disability.

[.]

Recovery after the east Japan earthquake had included programmes to provide funds for house and town rebuilding, also rebuilding the lives of affected persons.  In order to enable long-term health management for residents of Fukushima, particularly children, the Government was providing support to the Prefecture.  Analysis and assessment was ongoing and appropriate health management continued.

Questions from Experts

MOHAMED EZZELDIN ABDEL-MONEIM, Committee Rapporteur for the Report of Japan, noted that there were some omissions in the country report.  For example, on the right to work it was stated that the unemployment rate had increased year-on-year, apart from the 20 to 24 age group – as a country that had suffered previous crises then Japan should have been most ready.  With reference to people with disabilities, he said a table included did not reflect the rates described in the text.

The employment measures implemented were not clearly explained.  The mention of changes in the labour force supply and demand structure was too ambiguous – what did flexibility mean?  What was wrong with having a uniform plan over a period of time against flexibility? In relation to the reduction of working hours, was this the only element needed to improve productivity?  Working hours should not be reduced at the expense of revenues.  Would a decrease in hours mean a decrease in wages?

[…]

How did the “strict balance” between benefits and contributions in the health insurance system work?  The rate of spending on social security had increased – but how were the beneficiaries?  Disaggregated data was needed.  Fukushima had affected areas covered by articles of the Covenant, and more detail would be required in the next report – which covered that period.

In 2001 the Committee had commented on the lack of preparation for the handling of nuclear accidents, and this was also reflected in the national report on the issue.  Was this not the case?

[…]
Another Expert said that a previous Japanese delegation had said the comments of this Committee were not binding – in this case, how did the country go about fulfilling its obligations to the Covenant?  A District Court decision in 2010 ruled that Article 10 of the Covenant did not infer rights – and it was respectfully suggested that the country become party to the Optional Protocol, therein offering a full and final commitment.

In relation to economic issues, how had the financial situation negatively impacted Japan’s ability to provide for the provisions of the Covenant?  Had there been a measurement of how austerity measures had impacted vulnerable persons?   Was enough done following the Fukushima accident?

As a country vulnerable to natural disasters, had Japan considered alternative forms of energy?

Had the accident response been commensurate to Japan’s treaty obligations?

[…]

Regarding irregular workers, many received low wages and unfair working conditions;
were there more details on the safety-net function mentioned?

Around 42.7 per cent of women’s wages put them below the poverty line, this figure was 9.8 per cent for men.  What was the present status of the equal opportunity employment law?  What could be done to improve the social security cover for short-term workers?  It appeared that many older persons would not be eligible for pensions, despite reforms, and the amount they did receive was too low for a better standard of living.  Was it possible to consider a minimum pension?

[…]

The Committee also asked about national human rights institutions and what was the current status of discussions on establishing such an institution according to the Paris Principles?  The targets set for women in senior positions were too long and too far away.  There was still legal discrimination in areas of marriage and children.

In order to ensure the enjoyment of rights for women, were there any programmes for new policies and legislation in Japan?  How was the collection of data performed?

[…]

Did the number of deaths by industrial accidents include death by overwork?  What were the latest figures on suicide, and did they include persons on overseas postings?

Finally, an Expert asked about the attitude of the Government to removing all reservations in relation to the Covenant.  Could the delegation provide some insight about the findings and the intentions of Japan in relation to signing up to International Labour Organization Conventions?  Figures for unemployment would be most useful if sorted by sex and age.

On discrimination against persons with disabilities, could the areas not covered (such as in recruitment), be covered in the new bill?

Would persons with disabilities in sheltered employment be able to be covered under labour protection, not just social protection as the situation now?

What were the figures for employment of persons with disabilities in the private sector?  What proportion of the elderly would be affected by the increase in coverage of the pension?

Response by the Delegation

In response to these questions and comments and others, a member of the Japanese delegation said the Covenant had a legal effect in Japan and international treaties were usually positioned as domestic laws and regulations.  The provisions were applicable domestically depending on the situation.  It was also highlighted that the State party had a right to increase these incrementally and stagger introduction.  The Government had the responsibility to implement those rights, but it was not required to give those rights to the population immediately.  About a comprehensive anti-discrimination law, he said that issues were covered by the Constitution and Penal Code.  The Ministry of Justice had human rights organs and they could be called to investigate.  This meant that a specific bill was not necessary.

If Japan was to conclude the Optional Protocol then the relationship between this and existing national laws would need to be considered.  About the withdrawal of the reservation on free education, there were still two reservations remaining, the first related to remuneration for public holidays and the second about basic labour rights.  No action towards withdrawal was planned on these.  Regarding the ILO Conventions, it was necessary to continue careful consideration of the possibility of ascending to these.  Discrimination in recruitment was already clearly banned.

The Japanese Government policy with regard to energy was based on the fact that the country was resource-poor, and establishing stable sources of energy was extremely important.

Following the Fukushima accident, several options needed to be taken into account to find the best mix of energy sources.

On a more technical point, it was explained that annual exposure to radiation was at the level advised by the International Commission on Radiological Protection. 

In relation to suicide, managers in both the public and private sector needed to pay attention to the mental health aspect of personnel management.

On another point, the delegation said there was financial support available for refugees as they waited for their file to be processed.

[…]

About wages, there had been significant improvements, but really not enough had been done compared to other countries – though this was being vigorously addressed.  The gap was shrinking, as seen by comparison to the previous report.  Policies and support efforts seen in private companies were part of efforts to close the gap.

Employers of part-time workers were being encouraged to banish discriminatory treatment, taking into account their hours and tasks.

[…]

Questions from Experts

An Expert noted Japan’s efforts to help women back into work, mentioning childcare, and wondered how successful this had been?  On trafficking in persons, did the country subscribe to the view that tackling the issue required a regional approach?

It seemed there was a problem with support for the elderly, how were they provided for?

Another member of the Committee asked if domestic violence was punished, or was this only when there was a violation of a protection order?  Talking about child prostitution and child pornography, stronger measures were needed.

In case of the loss of a head of household as a result of Fukushima, there was a 5 million yen compensation payment – and for the loss of a female, the compensation was half as much. 

What was the basis of this discrimination?  The lump-sum condolence payment was given to the head of the household, not the individual persons and there were reports that some of this had been lost through gambling.

Women should also be fully involved in consultative measures.

[…]

What was the latest situation on scientific research in relation to the ethics of radiation?

Response by the Delegation

 Policies to realise public policies on the promotion of science and technology were in place, as well as awareness raising on the ability of technology to improve quality of life.

Privatised universities were still subject to the rules as in the public sector and much of the budget for their work came from national budgets.

Questions by Experts

An Expert said it seemed an anomaly that such a sophisticated democracy did not have a national human rights institution.  Inheritance rules regarding children born out of wedlock were a form of discrimination that needed to be reformed.  Was health insurance coverage comprehensive?  Did it include dentistry?

Response by the Delegation

Responding, the delegation said that Japan had concluded many covenants and treaties but the approach as to how to implement their provisions was left to the discretion of the States parties.  Dentistry work was covered under health insurance, but corrective work was not.  Prescription drugs were also available.  National policy had been reformed so there was no difference between children born in or out of wedlock, and this also related to inheritance issues.

[…]

Support for young people had improved their unemployment rates, and persons with disabilities were also receiving assistance through the “Hello Work” programme.  Counsellors offered targeted assistance there.

The Bill before the Diet also dealt with discrimination in the recruitment and accommodation of persons with disabilities.  It was also noted that persons with disabilities only worked short hours, and it was important to include this work in the overall picture, 382,000 persons with disabilities were currently employed.

[…]

On the questions about pensions and social security expenses, they accounted for about 30 per cent of the budget.  Pensions and health care represented about 35 per cent of this, 10 per cent went to long-term care costs.  In 2012, the national pension act was revised, reducing the pension contribution period and those not covered by corporate programmes were covered by the State programmes.  About 200,000 persons were now covered by this.  Persons working more than 20 hours a week could be covered for both pensions and health insurance.  Persons living in Japan, of whichever nationality, could join the healthcare and pension programmes.  When the pension legislation was revised an agreement was made saying the national council to reform social security should consider this issue.  A recommendation on this had not yet come forward.

[…]

More information was now being disclosed through information materials and press conferences on Fukushima, said a member of the delegation, and this was to make decision making more transparent. 

Continued reviews were required on the part of operators of nuclear power plants to ensure operations were as safe as possible. 

[…]

The differences seen in the amount given in condolence payment was not gender-related, it instead related to who was considered the head of the household.

Regarding those that survived the atomic bombing, their medical needs related to their exposure was subsidised and this would allow them to maintain a suitable level of living. 

In response to follow-up questions on domestic violence and sexual harassment, the delegation said that marital rape was considered rape and was punishable, and sexual harassment could be prosecuted under elements of the Penal Code.

Follow-up Questions

An Expert wondered about the reasons for the exclusion of the Korean schools from Government funding, saying that innocent children should not be punished for the past actions of their elders, if that was the case.  Additionally, the Expert said that Japan had really not taken legal responsibility for their past actions, as Germany had, and it did not help to exclude the generation from knowledge about what had happened in the past.

Another Expert asked for information on how Japan had benefitted from science and technology.  Did Japan cover entirely the costs of high school education?

Responses by the Delegation

Japan was able to offer redress to each individual country in Asia that was affected by its actions during the war, and in addition to that, there was a special response offered through the Asian Women’s Fund for comfort women.

On the Korean schools, it was highlighted that the group closely linked with these schools was closely linked to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  It was not conscionable to Japanese taxpayers to spend their money in this way

  On science and technology, the country was trying to connect it to the overall development of Japan, as their greatest resource was the people.  The idea was to use this knowledge for the benefit of the whole world. 

About the funding offered for schooling, this did not include the cost of textbooks or for tours or the auditing of classes.

In response to a follow-up question on whether the minimum wage was applied to migrant workers, the delegation said migrant workers were entitled to the minimum wage and also payments for industrial accidents if they occurred.

Concluding Remarks

MOHAMED EZZELDIN ABDEL-MONEIM, Committee Rapporteur for the Report of Japan, said that at the time of reporting Japan was one of the largest world economies, and inflation in the economy had led to large debt levels.

This had made spending cuts attractive but, in the face of economic recession, this approach had failed time and again.  He also mentioned that in relation to the need to comply with obligations, the Covenant noted the need to comply with other elements of international law.

HIDEAKI UEDA, Ambassador in charge of Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Japan, expressed his gratitude for a vibrant and comprehensive discussion of economic, social and cultural rights.  This was a valuable opportunity for review and Japan would continue with its efforts to improve access to these rights.

ZDZISLAW KEDZIA, Committee Chairperson, thanked all members of the delegation for the fruitful and friendly dialogue.  There remained differences in the evaluation of some points though a better understanding had been reached.  The concluding remarks of the Committee would be adopted on 17 May, and as a group they looked forward to the follow-up.

__________

For use of the information media; not an official record

http://www.ohchr.org/ar/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=13277&LangID=E%20-%2095k%20-%202013-05-08%20-

UN expert urges Japan to heed people’s voices in the aftermath of the nuclear disaster

TOKYO / GENEVA (26 November 2012) –

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to health, Anand Grover, concluded his mission to Japan today by stressing* the importance of monitoring the effects of nuclear radiation on people’s health. Commending the Government of Japan for undertaking a health management survey in Fukushima, Mr. Grover urged it to expand the survey to all radiation-affected zones and carry out more comprehensive studies that would examine and monitor internal radiation exposure of people in the long-term.

Mr. Grover warned about troubling concerns that affected residents “have had no say in decisions that affect them” at the end of his first mission to Japan – from 15 to 26 November – to assess the links between the right to health of the affected people and the actions taken in the aftermath of the worst man-made nuclear accident in the country.

The Special Rapporteur charged by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor the enjoyment of the right to health stressed that the right to health framework requires that “the affected people in Japan need to be part of the decision-making process as well as of the implementation, monitoring and accountability procedures”.

He also highlighted that the participation of the affected community can produce benefits such as building confidence in the Government, facilitating the implementation of those decisions, and improving monitoring and accountability.

The human rights expert pointed out that the forthcoming implementation of the parliamentary act on the protection and support for victims of nuclear disaster, adopted in June 2012, was a perfect opportunity for the Government to formulate “the basic policy and subordinate regulations with the full participation of the affected communities, including vulnerable groups”.

During his eleven-day visit to the country, at the invitation of the Government, the independent expert travelled beyond Tokyo to Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures to meet with different stakeholders, including Government officials, medical practitioners, legal experts, civil society, community representatives and affected residents.

The UN Special Rapporteur will present a comprehensive report on his visit to Japan at a forthcoming session of the UN Human Rights Council in June 2013.

The Special Rapporteur is an independent expert appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to help States, and others, promote and protect the right to the highest attainable standard of health (right to health). Anand Grover (India) is co-founder and Director of the Lawyers Collective HIV/AIDS Unit and the Senior Counsel in India. Learn more, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Health/Pages/SRRightHealthIndex.aspx

(*) Read the full end-of-mission statement by the Special Rapporteur: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=12831&LangID=E

OHCHR Country page – Japan: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/AsiaRegion/Pages/JPIndex.aspx

For press inquiries and additional information, please contact Jamshid Gaziyev (+41 794444078 / srhealth@ohchr.org), or in Japan, Yasuko Senoo (+81 354674451/ yasuko.senoo@unic.org)

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)

UN Human Rights, follow us on social media:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/unitednationshumanrights
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YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/UNOHCHR
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Check the Universal Human Rights Index: http://uhri.ohchr.org/en

 

May 8, 2013 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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