NGO Report in Response to the First and Second Report

Prepared by the Government of Japan Concerning the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination

Buraku Liberation League (BLL)
Buraku Liberation and Human Rights Research Institute
(Continuation from BLL No.119)

5. Article 5 (Equality before the Law and the Enjoyment of Rights without Discrimination)

Paragraph (a): The Sayama Case is a case where a murder occurred in Sayama City, Saitama Prefecture, in 1963. Judicial proceedings were initiated on a biased presupposition that Buraku people are likely to commit such crimes. (Data 6)

Paragraph (b)

Paragraph (c)

Paragraph (d)

i) When Buraku people attempt to move outside their Buraku community and into a non-Buraku community they face opposition from residents of the non-Buraku community who attempt to prevent the Buraku people from moving in because of their prejudice against Buraku people. In order to prevent such disturbances, it is urged that more efforts should be made to raise awareness of the Buraku issue and to enact a law to eliminate Buraku discrimination. (Data 7)



iv) When Buraku people marry non-Buraku people they face opposition and obstruction based on prejudice against Buraku people. Personal investigations into their family background are conducted by detective agencies and investigative agencies upon request of the family of the husband (or wife) to-be. This leads to Buraku discrimination. While some prefectural governments have implemented ordinances to prohibit these kinds of investigations, the National Government has not yet taken any administrative or legal measures to resolve the problem. For the complete elimination of Buraku discrimination in marriage, it is urged that more efforts be made to raise awareness and to enact a law to prohibit personal background investigation by investigative agencies. (Data 8)

v) Land prices for land lots where Buraku communities are located are remarkably lower than those for adjacent non-Buraku areas. Both national and local governments are urged to take the necessary steps to resolve such discrepancies.

(Data 9)





Data 7

[Case 1]

In late June 1990, Mr. K, of Buraku origin, moved to a town-run housing in Akeshina-cho, Higashi Chikuma County, Nagano Prefecture. However, H, an inhabitant of the housing, circulated a rumour that a family from a Buraku community moved in. As a result, Mr. K was harassed by the inhabitants, being told "Buraku people must get out of our housing."

[Case 2]

In 1993, Mr. A, of Buraku origin, bought a piece of land to build a house in Asuka Village, Nara Prefecture. However, a rumour spread among the inhabitants of the village that a family from a Buraku community would move in and cause trouble. Prompted by the rumour, Mr. B, who sold the land to Mr. A, began to obstruct the construction of Mr. A's house.

Data 8

According to the 1993 Survey to Grasp the Actual Conditions of Dowa Areas conducted by the government, one of three persons from Buraku communities has experienced discrimination. Incidents of marriage discrimination are the largest cases among their discriminatory experiences.

When the Buraku List Scandal was disclosed in 1975, T, an investigative agent and a publisher of a Buraku list revealed that 99% of the investigations they undertook in relation to marriage are inquiries whether or not a fiance / fiancee was of Buraku origin.

In response, Osaka Prefecture enacted the Ordinance to Regulate Personal Background Investigation Conductive to Buraku Discrimination in 1985. However, a law to prohibit investigation that leads to Buraku discrimination has not enacted yet at national level.

Data 9 Land Prices

Prices of the land where Buraku communities are located are relatively low. Low land prices lead to lower valuation of the properties that Buraku people own, giving negative impacts when using it as collateral for financing. It has been widespread among the public that land prices of Buraku communities are cheap, as frequently attested by many housing contractors during interviews and investigations looking into discriminatory incidents. However, a specific survey focusing on the discrepancy in land prices between Buraku and non-Buraku areas has never been done by the administration. Meanwhile, there are several ways to indicate land values, such as 'officially rated prices,' 'prices set by road routes,' 'market prices,' and etc.

These different prices are determined based on the "basic values for property appraisal." These basic values are reasonably set up without any prejudice against Buraku areas. However, outcomes of the long history of Buraku discrimination negatively work in setting up these basic values, resulting in relatively lower prices of land located in Buraku communities. This attributes to disadvantageous geographical location of the Buraku community, the long exclusion of Buraku communities from the mainstream of social development, financial capacity of, and deep-rooted tabooing against Buraku areas.

So far, nothing has been done to address this problem, because land prices for transactions are determined in the market in which the government cannot interfere. The government's special measures for Buraku areas have not contributed to eradicate the discrepancy. Also, a low liquidity in transaction of Buraku land due to the long history of Buraku discrimination has hindered its solution.

While improvement in living environment of Buraku communities has helped reduce negative factors in determining land values for Buraku areas, a discrepancy in the land prices between Buraku areas and non-Buraku areas still remains. In order to find a solution, a comprehensive approach is required, such as promotion of the community development not only in Buraku communities but also their adjacent communities, democratisation of business practices in the real estate market, and awareness-raising among general public.

(By Hitoshi Okuda, "Buraku Mondai - Jinken Jiten" edited by the BLHRRI, published by the Kaiho Shuppansha)