Japanese Local Assembly Takes a Decision for Human Rights

Japanese Local Assembly Takes a Decision for Human Rights
People using phone while standing, Camilo Jimenez via Unsplash, 2019

Aysu Amaha Öztürk

Japan and Human Rights Researcher 

Global Human Rights Defence

The Mie Prefectural Assembly now prohibits members from clicking ‘likes’ on social media posts that violate human rights as well as posting content that can amount to human rights violations (Yamamoto, 2022). This new law is about the ethics of politics as well as the weight that human rights violations carry when endorsed by politicians. This prohibition stems from the event that took place in 2021, where an assemblyman liked a post that was negatively targeting a queer couple (‘Japan pref. assembly bans members…, 2022). This is the first time in Japan that advocating for human rights is implemented on a prefectural level, thus, it is hoped that it also opens up space for change in other prefectures (Yamamoto, 2022).

Article 26 of the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), a provision of the covenant that Japan ratified in 1979 (Ratification Status for Japan), asks for laws of the state parties to prohibit discrimination and guarantee that all persons are protected from it. With the passing of the law, Japan is taking a step towards promising the prohibition of discrimination, however, there are still steps to be taken to fully ensure that all actions that are discriminatory and supporting discrimination are eliminated, especially from public officials. 

Sources and further reading:

Human Rights Bodies. Ratification Status for Japan. United Nations Human Rights Treaty Bodies Database. https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/15/TreatyBodyExternal/Treaty.aspx?CountryID=87&Lang=EN

Yamamoto T. (2022, December 21) ‘Mie assembly bans members clicking ‘likes’ of offensive posts.’ Asahi Shimbun. https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14798360

Japan pref. assembly bans members from liking discriminatory social media posts. (2022, December 21). Mainichi Shimbun. https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20221221/p2a/00m/0na/008000c