Japan came under pressure at a U.N. meeting Tuesday to do more to help stop hate speech that promotes discrimination by race or nationality.
“According to information we received, there have been more than 360 cases of racist demonstrations and speeches in 2013, mainly in Korean neighborhoods in Tokyo,” Yuval Shany from Israel, one of the experts at the U.N. Human Rights Committee, said at the meeting in Geneva.
Shany asked Japan whether it is considering adopting legislation to address hate and racist speech.
Existing laws in Japan do not allow police to intervene to stop hate speech demonstrations, Shany said at the meeting held to review the civil and political rights situation in Japan.
“It seems almost nothing has been done by the government to react to Japanese-only signs which have been posted in a number of places,” Shany said.
Another committee member, Zonke Majodina from South Africa, asked if Japan has “plans to enact a national anti-discrimination law, for direct and indirect discrimination, applying to both public and private sectors, complying with international standards and ensuring equal protection to everyone.”
Elsewhere in the meeting, committee members questioned whether human rights are protected in Japan under the country’s capital punishment system, as well as its system designed to provide equal employment opportunities for men and women.
The review is scheduled to continue into Wednesday when it is expected to cover the issue of “comfort women” who were forced to work in Japan’s wartime military brothels.
This is the committee’s first review of Japan in six years. The committee is set to announce recommendations for improvement on July 24.