This report analyses Japan's compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its two Optional Protocols.
CRIN would very much like to thank the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom for initially compiling the report and to further thank Mr. Akihiko Morita for sharing his expertise on children's rights in Japan.
In summary, the Japanese Government did not perceive a need to amend any legislation or enact new laws to bring Japan into compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Japan claims to use the Convention's goals as a cornerstone for improving policy measures to protect children. Among the steps taken is the creation of the Headquarters for Youth Development chaired by the Prime Minister to better coordinate policy among all relevant branches of government. The Headquarters formulated the National Youth Development Policy to serve as a framework to indicate the government's basic principles and to direct medium and long-term measures. Finally, a mandate for the new Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Measures for Declining Birthrate was established to achieve further cooperation amongst government agencies.
Nevertheless, the Committee on the Rights of the Child (the "Committee") views many of the Government's efforts to be either half-hearted or even in contravention of the spirit of the agreement. For example, a 2007 amendment to the Juvenile Law (少年法) that lowered the age of eligibility at which children may be admitted to juvenile training schools was criticized as violating the aims of the Convention. Critics call for specific time-targets and indicators, to better assess and evaluate relevant legislative and policy efforts. Among the lingering issues is the failure to illegalize child pornography that is hand drawn or created by computer, particularly in manga comic books and anime cartoons. Sexual violence against girls remains a serious issue for its promotion in manga, anime, and computer programs. This problem is further complicated by the low age of consent which in turn makes it more difficult to prosecute rape crimes. Additionally, the rigors of a Japanese education are considered to increase problems such as suicide. Finally, the Committee has found the National Youth Development Policy to be neither comprehensive nor rights-based.
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Last updated 11/02/2010 02:30:43