• Kyodo

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Lawyers across Japan finished a conference here Friday by calling for the establishment of an organization to aid victims of human rights abuse and urging the government to phase out nuclear power generation.

The Japan Federation of Bar Associations made the call in a declaration adopted when they closed their two-day annual human rights conference Friday.

During the meeting, which had about 1,100 participants, the group also called for finding ways to eradicate loan sharks.

Some lawyers opposed a proposal by the association’s executive body that the planned organization to aid victims of human rights abuse should also offer help to victims of rights abuses by the media.

The issue stirred heated discussions, with opponents claiming the media should be held responsible and offer solutions when they abuse a person’s rights.

Ultimately, the association modified a declaration for adoption by inserting the sentence that “It is necessary to prudently consider serious issues concerning freedom of the press and other relevant matters as well as whether or not we should respect independent resolutions (by the media) in that area.”

On nuclear power generation, the association adopted for the first time a resolution calling on the government to phase out existing nuclear power facilities and to discontinue construction of new facilities.

In an effort to reduce the number of victims of loan sharks, the group urged the government to pass legislation to drastically lower the level of interest rates consumer finance companies can charge borrowers.

Meeting participants also heard a report on the association’s efforts to reform the judicial system that would involve, for instance, the introduction of a jury system.

They were also briefed on the association’s special report criticizing the ruling coalition’s move to introduce stricter punishments for juvenile offenders.

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