• Kyodo

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A U.N. committee asked Japan this week to enact legislation to ban all kinds of racial discrimination in the country.

The U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination said it “believes it necessary (for Japan) to adopt specific legislation to outlaw racial discrimination.”

The report, following examination of the initial and second periodic reports of Japan, comes as a wake-up call to Japan to face up to racial discrimination and to fulfill its responsibility of becoming a leader in human rights protection, analysts said.

The concluding observations also noted “with concern, statements of a discriminatory character made by high-level public officials and, in particular, the lack of administrative or legal action taken by the authorities” and urge Japan to make appropriate efforts to curb the recurrence of such incidents.

The statement was apparently referring to remarks made by Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara last April 9 when he asked the Ground Self-Defense Force to be prepared for rioting by foreigners illegally staying in Japan in the event of a disaster.

Ishihara used the term “sangokujin,” which literally means “people from third countries,” and was used as a derogatory term after World War II for people from Japan’s former colonies — Korea and Taiwan.

The committee also noted Japan’s “reservation” on the full execution of Article 4 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, on the grounds that it would interfere with the right to freedom of expression.

Article 4 of the convention, to which Japan has acceded, stipulates a ban on remarks or publishing of books that may fuel discrimination.

The report says Japan has not taken sufficient steps to address the issue of discriminatory treatment of Koreans and Ainu living in Japan.

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