Buraku Liberation News September 1999 No.110

Keynote Address on Discriminatory Background Investigation by BLL at Seminar ( latter part )

The following is the Keynote address on the discriminatory background investigation by the BLL at a seminar organized by the IMADR-JC held in June 1999. This is the latter part of the two-part series.

Our tasks to eliminate discriminatory background investigation

The following are our tasks to eliminate discriminatory background investigation:

  1. The actual facts should be completely discovered. In particular, it is necessary for us to disclose: why more than 1,400 companies registered at P and Q as member companies; what kind of investigation member companies requested in the recruitment of employees; how P and Q reported the results of investigations to their clients; and how the clients used the investigation reports. It is also necessary for us to find whether or not there are other investigative agencies than P and Q which have conducted similar discriminatory background investigations. We should find out the actual states of the investigation particularly in Tokyo, where most of the head offices of major Japanese companies are located.;
  2. We should enlighten companies, including investigative agencies, to be aware of the unfairness of discriminatory investigations that lead to Buraku discrimination and discrimination in employment, as well as the importance of respecting human rights. Since the end of March 1997, the Ministry of Labor has instructed companies with more than 100 employees to assign staff for promoting fair screening in employment and human rights education. In line with the UN Decade for Human Rights Education, a National Plan of Action was released after the establishment of the Headquarters for the Promotion of Human Rights Education. While the promotion of human rights education in private enterprises is stressed in this Plan, it is necessary for us to implement the plan.
  3. Faced with the deep-rooted discrimination, such as the said background investigation, and in spite of the long-term efforts made by different sectors to eliminate Buraku discrimination as well as to conduct awareness-raising programs for the promotion and protection of human rights, it is strongly required to ban discriminatory investigation and to guarantee the legal protection of individual privacy. Moreover, discrimination in employment should be prohibited on the basis of any kind of family background;
  4. Regarding the prohibition of discriminatory investigations and the legal protection of privacy, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) indicated in 1980 eight Guidelines Governing the Protection of Privacy and Transborder Flows of Personal Data. In 1995, the European Union (EU) released the EU Directive to embody the Guidelines of the OECD in protecting privacy, and called for its member states to legislate measures pursuant to the Directive, including "sanctions against the infringement of the provisions." In Japan too, legislative measures should be taken to prohibit discriminatory investigation and to protect privacy, in compliance with such an international standard of the legal protection of privacy;
  5. The ILO Convention No. 111 (Convention Concerning Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation) provides the prohibition of discrimination in employment. Even though there are more than 120 states party to the convention at present, the Japanese government has not yet ratified it. The Japanese government should immediately ratify the Convention and adopt necessary legislative measures;
  6. It is expected that investigative agencies voluntarily stop conducting discriminatory investigation, including an investigation that leads to Buraku discrimination, and that economic and industry associations agree to commit themselves to abolish discrimination in employment and protect workers' privacy. Trade unions, such as the Japanese Trade Union Confederation, will play an important role to influence economic and industry associations' possible commitment.

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