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Japan: Anxiety Over Human Rights Commission Bill

The Japanese government decided to submit a bill to set up a Human Rights Commission in a cabinet meeting of September 19, 2012, according [ja] to the Japan Broadcasting Corporation. However, the move has been met with opposition from different parties.

The bill aims to set up an independent commission for human rights violation such as bullying, descrimination, and slander on the Internet, as an extra-ministerial committe of the Ministry of Justice. The Ministry of Justice hopes to submit the bill in the next session of the Diet legislature.

This video uploaded to YouTube by user  on October 17, 2011, when the bill was first proposed, explains some of the problems with it [in Japanese]. The video became popular in the forum 2ch, where right-wing leaning commentary is disproportionately represented and a lot of hate speech takes place.

「この法案では『人権侵害とは、不当な差別、虐待その他の人権を侵害する行為をいう。』ってあるの」
「差別、虐待、そのほかの人権侵害なんて すごいあいまいだよね!」
「それがね この法律 報道機関には関係ないんだよ
報道機関は 自主的に人権侵害しないよう心がけてね ってだけ」

This bill says “human rights violations are an act of unfair discrimination, abuse or other human rights infringement.” This is very vague!

This bill has nothing to say about broadcasters and it only encourage them to independently bear in mind not to violate human rights.

User sensen3091 [ja] commented:

選挙権のない学生がなんで法律反対の署名とかしてるのw
バカ丸出しだな、このネトウヨ動画w

This video depicts students without the right to vote signing a petition against the bill. These right-wing rednecks are full of ignorance.

Another [ja] commented:

これはなにも知らないオタク共にいいですなw

This video is good for uneducated Otaku [geeky] people.

This reaction come via a popular bulletin board [ja]:

名前:ハムスター名無し 2012年09月09日 22:35 ID:biMiSb0L0
オタクだけど女なのでこの手の絵がらに嫌悪感が……エロゲみたいで

もっとオタク受けするにしても汎用性があるものにしてくれないかなあ

Post by: anonymous user , Posted on: September 9, 2012  22:35 ID:biMiSb0L0

I'm Otaku [a geek], but as an woman, I feel disgusted by this type of anime [cartoon video]. It looks like a porn-game.
I know you want this to be popular among otaku [geeks], but couldn't it look more versatile?

The United Nation's Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) has long shown concern (since its 2010 report [enja]) regarding the human rights situation in Japan, such as hate speech and racist propaganda on the Internet, the lack of concrete information about the media and integration of human rights in television and radio broadcasting, and the absence of legislation to give full effect to the provisions against discrimination.

While the video was well noticed among rather xenophobic 2ch users, the Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA) also released a statement [ja] saying that the possibility of concurrent posts could endanger the commission's independency expected by the so-called Paris Principles.

On Twitter, some users overreacted on the misinterpretation that this bill would give the commission authority to arrest. Twitter user @21remon commented on September 10 [ja]:

フォロワーさんからの情報を元にまとめると、自殺した松下金融担当大臣は【日韓スワップ協定の延長停止】【外国人参政権反対】【人権救済法案反対】の立場の方で、特筆すべきは『明日、可決予定の人権救済法は、一人でも反対の大臣がいれば見送られるが、松下金融相は唯一の反対者だった』という件。

According to my followers, the Minister for Financial Services Matsushita, who committed suicide, was asking for them [Stop Renewal of Japan-Korea Swap Agreement, Against Right of Foreigners to Vote, Against Human Rights Relief Bill]. And most notably “A bill to set up human rights commission is expected to pass tomorrow will NOT pass if one minister opposes, and Minister Matsuhita was the only one who was against the bill”.

This was retweeted more than 8,000 times, even though the tweet contains wrong information since the bill is not even submitted to the Diet yet.

Another user [ja] carefully looked at the bill, and commented:

もしかしたら科料と過料を間違えて人権救済法案を「逮捕される」みたく必要以上に恐れてる人がいるのかもですね。条文にあるのは過料で、これは刑罰じゃありません 過料と科料の違いの参考 → http://www.nishino-law.com/column_familiar/post_763.html …

Probably people took “Non-Penal fine” for “fine” , and unnecessarily fear that the Human Rights Relief bill will arrest people. In the bill it says Non-Penal Fine which is not a penalty. Refer this for distinction between Non-Penal fine and fine.  http://www.nishino-law.com/column_familiar/post_763.html …

Human rights advocacy groups have not yet made any statements over the bill, however the Asia-Pacific Human Rights Information Center initially published a critique back when the 2005 draft Human Rights Protection Bill was proposed.

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