Committee on Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, The Third Consideration of Japanese Governmental Report: Proposal of List of Issues for Pre-sessional Working Group

2003.1.27


Article 2(c)(d)[Obligation of State Parties]
<Discriminatory remarks made by public officials >

  1. Is the Japanese government taking necessary action against discriminatory remarks made by the public officials, especially those in high ranks?
  2. Is there an appropriate training (program) in place to prevent further recurrence?

Description of The Government Report

Not mentioned in neither the fourth nor the fifth report of the state party.

Reason for the Questions

Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Elimination of the Racial Discrimination (CERD) to the Japanese government in March 2001 noted concern regarding discriminatory statements made by high ranking public officials. (See the Background below)

In March 22, 2001, during the Judicial Committee session of the House of Councilors, the government explained that the observation was made in reference to Tokyo Governor, Shintaro Ishihara.

Nevertheless, Governor Ishihara has been repeatedly making discriminatory comments even after the above Observation was made by the CERD. In fall 2001, he made comments implying that the "old women who have lost their reproductive function are not worth living" (see the Background below) in a magazine interview and in the Tokyo City Parliament session.

Governor Ishihara is not the only one making these kinds of comments. Members of the parliament are making discriminatory remarks against women; there is sexual harassment and a hostile environment toward women seen in the legislatures.

These recurring discriminatory acts by high public officials show that the Japanese government has not taken any measures to implement recommendations from the UN, and the government has no intention of dealing with the discriminatory acts of public officials-- leaving the problem as it is.

Background

Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (58th session)

13. The Committee notes with concern statements of discriminatory character made by high-level public officials and, in particular, the lack of administrative or legal action taken by the authorities, as a consequence, in violation of article 4 (c) of the Convention, and the interpretation that such acts can be punishable only if there is an intention to incite and promote racial discrimination. The State party is urged to take appropriate measures to prevent such incidents in the future and to provide appropriate training of, in particular, public officials, law enforcement officers, and administrators with a view to combat prejudices which lead to racial discrimination, in compliance with article 7 of the Convention.

Discriminatory statements disparaging women made by Governor of Tokyo, Shintaro Ishihara

  1. (Ishihara answering the interview, referring to the theory he have read(?)), "It is said that the 'Old women is the worst evil and malignant being that the civilization have produced.' It says that the 'old women who lives after they have lost their reproductive function are useless and are committing a sin.' Men have reproductive functions even in their 80s and their 90s, however, women cannot bear children after they reach their menopause. It says that it is evil and malicious for the world that these people live until the age of Kinsan and Ginsan (famous twin sisters over 100 years of age)...I agree with the idea, but can not say it as a politician (laughter)." (from the Interview article of "Shukan Josei", December 11, 2001 issue)
  2. The Governor has admitted the charge that he had made those remarks, but counter-reacted to the pursuit from the Metropolitan parliament by saying that the old women are tyrant beings. (December 11, 2001)
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