Buraku Liberation News, March 1998 issue (No.101)

1.The BLL Expressed an Opinion at the Council for Human Rights Protection Meeting.

By Kenzo Tomonaga
Director of the BLRI

On behalf of the BLL, Mr. Shigeyuki Kumisaka, Secretary General of the Buraku Liberation League, expressed an opinion at the monthly meeting of the Council for Human Rights Protection held on January 12, 1998 in an office of the Ministry of Justice. Ms. Akiko Kishida, Vice President of the BLL, and I also participated.

The followings are excerpts of the opinion.

---The report of the Dowa Policy Council released in August 1965 proposed a comprehensive and fundamental solution to the Buraku question. In response to the report's proposal, the Fundamental Law for Buraku Liberation should have been implemented.

---In reality, laws aimed mainly at improving the living environment of Buraku areas through infrastructure projects have been implemented. As a result, many things have improved, including the living environment, but there are still several matters to be settled.

---Even improvements in the living environment have not yet been completed. The reality faced by Buraku areas that have not been designated as Dowa areas by the government is serious. There are considerable differences between non-Buraku areas and those areas in educational opportunities, employment and standard of living.

---In addition to discriminatory practices in marriage and employment, many incidents of Buraku discrimination increased recently in schools and on the internet. On the other hand, the existing system for human rights protection has by no means functioned well, as the 1993 government survey on Buraku issues pointed out.

---Based on such reality, the BLL requests that the Council promptly conclude a policy recommendation for the measures (including legislation) for human rights education, and for relief measures (including sanctions against those who commit serious human rights violations) for the victims of human rights violations, in accordance with the opinion offered in May 1996 by the Consultative Council on Regional Improvement Measures, organized by the Management and Coordination Agency.

---The BLL also requests that the Promotion Headquarters of the UN Decade for Human Rights Education be included in the secretariat of the Council in order for Japan's National Plan of Action for the Decade to be implemented.
In addition, the Council should continue to listen to the opinions of victims of human rights violations as well as making inspection visits to Buraku areas.

---The BLL expects that the results of the Council's discussions will contribute to the establishment of a culture of human rights in Japan since the world will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights in 1998.

(*editor's note : The Council for Human Rights Protection was established in May 1998 and is mandated by the Law of Promotion of Measures for Human Rights Protection.)