Ministry drops DPJ rights panel bill

JIJI

The Justice Ministry will not submit a bill for setting up a human rights commission when the Diet opens due to opposition from the Liberal Democratic Party, sources said.

The bill was crafted by the Democratic Party of Japan-led government, which was toppled from power by the LDP after taking a drubbing in Dec. 16 general election. The Diet is expected to convene on Jan. 28.

The bill calls for creating a human rights commission as an external body of the Justice Ministry. It was submitted to an extraordinary Diet session last autumn but was automatically scrapped because the Lower House was dissolved for a snap election. No deliberations were held on the bill.

During its Lower House campaign, the LDP clarified its opposition to the bill and vowed to promote human rights remedies in a more detailed manner through specific laws.

“It’s not an option to submit the same bill again,” a ministry official said. “We have no choice but to sit down and consider the matter carefully.”

In 2002, the LDP-led administration at the time submitted a human rights bill that included plans to set up such a panel. But the following year, the bill was killed amid public criticism chiefly against a clause that would have restricted media coverage.