Japan Equality & non-discrimination

Chapter 2. Action Plan

2. Areas of the NAP

(1) Cross-cutting areas

A. Labour (Promotion of Decent Work)

(Existing framework/Measures taken)

As measures that have already been conducted in the labour area, the Government made efforts to realize decent work by promoting labour policies to respect, promote, and realize the four principles concerning the fundamental rights stated in the ILO Declaration, namely: … (4) the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation. For example, … the Act on Securing, Etc. of Equal Opportunity and Treatment between Men and Women in Employment (Equal Employment Opportunity Act) (Act No. 113 of 1972);

More recently, the revision of laws, including the Act on the Comprehensive Promotion of Labour Policies, and the Employment Security and the Productive Working Lives of Workers (Labour Policies Comprehensive Promotion Act) (Act No. 132 of 1966) in 2019 has resulted in new requirements for employers to establish necessary measures regarding employment management, such as the provision of counseling services, to prevent the abuse of authority, or so-called “power harassment,” in the workplace. The revision of these laws has also strengthened preventive measures against sexual harassment, such as the prohibition of disadvantageous treatment by an employer against employees who report.

(Future measures planned)

(a )Promote decent work ((1) promoting employment, (2) developing and enhancing measures of social protection (3) promoting social dialogue, and (4) respecting, promoting and realizing the fundamental principles and rights at work)

  • Continue efforts to realize decent work, including ensuring work-life balance that contributes to women’s participation and advancement in the workplace by promoting labour policies for respecting, promoting, and realizing the principles concerning the fundamental rights stated in the ILO Declaration. [Cabinet Office, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare]

(b) Reinforce measures against harassment

  • Continue to promote initiatives to achieve harassment-free workplace environments by securing the enforcement of the revised Labour Policies Comprehensive Promotion Act and other acts. [Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare

(c) Protect and respect the rights of workers, including foreign workers and technical intern trainees

  • The Technical Intern Training Program continues to be implemented under the new framework based on the Technical Intern Training Act enacted in 2017, while also incorporating gender perspectives. This is to be done through: introduction of a license system of supervising organizations and accreditation of technical intern training plans; establishment of provisions on prohibition of abuse of human rights of technical intern trainees and penalties against supervising organizations violating human rights; onsite inspection by the Organization for Technical Intern Training; establishment of offices for consultation and reporting in technical intern trainees’ native language; and making the system more appropriate through bilateral agreements. Continue steady implementation of improvement measures designed by the project team for the operation of the Technical Intern Training Program, and implement new measures for preventing the disappearance of technical intern trainees. [Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare]


B. Promotion and Protection of Children’s Rights

(Existing framework/Measures taken)

As measures that have already been conducted, the Government has supported initiatives in the area of education that leads to eradication of child labour and measures against trafficking in persons by contributing to the UN Trust Fund for Human Security and international organizations. In addition, the Government has supported initiatives to enhance measures against trafficking in persons and protection of such victims mainly in Southeast Asian countries, through technical cooperation by JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) and contributions to various UN agencies. Furthermore, the Government has been making contributions to and participating in the Asia-Pacific regional framework, the “Bali Process on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime” (hereinafter referred to as the Bali Process). The Government has also taken part in the WePROTECT Global Alliance to End Child Sexual Exploitation Online. Moreover, the Government reaffirmed the G20 commitment to eradicate child labour and various forms of modern slavery in the G20 Osaka Leaders’ Declaration and the G20 Labour and Employment Ministers’ Declaration, both compiled by Japan as the chair. For these initiatives, sufficient attention has been paid to gender perspectives considering that a large number of the victims involved are women and girls.


(Future measures planned)

(a) Contribute to international efforts to eliminate child labour, including trafficking in persons and sexual exploitation

  • Continue to make efforts to reinforce measures against trafficking in persons and the protection of victims with gender perspectives through technical cooperation by JICA and financial contributions to various UN agencies, in cooperation with the international community, including contribution to and participation in the Bali Process. [Ministry of Foreign Affairs]


C. Human Rights Associated with the Development of New Technologies

(Existing framework/Measures taken )

As measures that have already been conducted, when consulted about the information on human rights violations, such as defamation and privacy infringement on the Internet, the Government has advised victims on the methods for requesting the disclosure of the sender’s information and the deletion of the information by providers. In case the victims find it difficult to recover from the damage caused by abusive content, efforts are made to remedy the damage by requesting providers to delete such abusive information. With respect to these initiatives, sufficient attention is paid to take into account gender equality perspectives as well as diversity and inclusiveness.



E. Equality before the Law (Persons with Disabilities, Women, Persons of Diverse Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, and Other Groups)

(Existing framework/Measures taken)

The Constitution of Japan sets forth the principle of equality before the law and there shall be no discrimination in political, economic or social relations because of race, creed, sex, social status or family origin. Various laws have prohibited discrimination, as stated below.

With respect to persons with disabilities, the Act for Eliminating Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Act No. 65 of 2013, hereinafter referred to as the “Disability Discrimination Act”) prohibits governments and businesses from engaging in unfair discriminatory treatment on the grounds of disability, and prescribes that they are required to provide reasonable accommodation (companies must endeavor to provide reasonable accommodation). The Act on Employment Promotion Etc. of Persons with Disabilities (Act No. 123 of 1960) prohibits businesses from taking discriminatory measures in the area of employment based on disability and requires provision of reasonable accommodation.

With respect to women, the Equal Employment Opportunity Act prohibits discrimination against workers on the grounds of sex at each stage of employment management, and the Act on the Promotion of Women’s Participation and Advancement in the Workplace (Act No. 64 of 2015, hereinafter referred to as the “Women’s Participation Act”) encourages initiatives to promote women’s participation and advancement in the workplace.

Furthermore, the Basic Act for Gender Equal Society (Act No. 78 of 1999) lists “Respect for the human rights of men and women” as one of the pillars for realizing a gender-equal society. The Basic Plan for Gender Equality has been formulated in accordance with the Basic Act, and related measures have been implemented based on this plan. Internationally, the Government supports promotion of women’s empowerment, including through various declarations at G7 and G20 Summits, and moreover has engaged in further promotion of women’s participation in society, including the workplace by organizing the World Assembly for Women (WAW!).

In addition, a survey on business enterprises’ initiatives ensuring diverse sexual orientation and gender identity was conducted and a report on the survey results and case studies was prepared and published to promote accurate understanding on diverse sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace.

With respect to the Ainu indigenous people who inhabit areas around the northern part of the Japanese Archipelago, especially in Hokkaido, the Act on Promotion of Measures for Realization of a Society in Which the Pride of the Ainu People is Respected (Act No. 16 of 2019) prohibits discrimination on the grounds of Ainu identity.

In the area of employment, Article 22 of the Constitution of Japan prescribes that “every person shall have freedom to … choose his occupation to the extent that it does not interfere with the public welfare.” In addition, the freedom of choice of occupation is guaranteed in both the Employment Security Act (Act No. 141 of 1947), which prescribes that “every person may freely choose any job, provided that it does not conflict with the public welfare,” and the Mariners’ Employment Security Act (Act No. 130 of 1948), which prescribes that “every person may freely choose occupation as a mariner on an appropriate vessel corresponding to the person’s ability and license or certificate in possession, or qualifications based on trainings received or experience.”

Unfair or discriminatory treatment against particular users is prohibited within the areas of residence, places or services intended for public use (hotels, restaurants, cafes, cinemas, and use of transportation).

(Future measures planned)

(a)Promote barrier-free and universal design

  • Promote initiatives, including various public relations and awareness-raising activities based on the Disability Discrimination Act. [Cabinet Office]
  • Promote accessibility across Japan by preparing and distributing a nationally consistent reception manual and implementing training for transportation, tourism, logistics restaurants and industries, and other industries.[Japan Tourism Agency]
  • Raise the level of barrier-free standards across Japan through steady implementation of the Act for Partial Revision of the Act on Promotion of Smooth Transportation, Etc. of Elderly Persons, Disabled Persons, Etc. (Act No.28 of 2020), such as the revision of Transport Accessibility Standards and Guidelines, and the revision of the Design Guidelines of Buildings for Users with Accessibility Needs. [Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism]
  • Implement various human rights awareness-raising activities to realize a society of coexistence with mutual respect for individuality and character regardless of disability. [Ministry of Justice]

(b)Promote employment of persons with disabilities

  • Promote initiatives to increase opportunities for persons with disabilities to play an active role as a measure introduced under the Revised Act on Employment Promotion Etc. of Persons with Disabilities of 2019. As a measure for the public services sector, this includes making it incumbent on persons with appointive power at national and local government agencies to prepare and publish the Guidelines for Formulation of the Plan on Promoting Dynamic Engagement of Persons with Disabilities. As a measure for employers in the private sector, this includes the establishment of an accreditation system for SMEs with excellent initiatives concerning employment of persons with disabilities, and a special benefits system for employers who employ part-time workers whose weekly working hours are within a certain range. [Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare]
  • In employment of persons with disabilities, consideration will be given to individuals who are vulnerable to intersectional human rights violations, such as women with disabilities. [Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare]

(c)Advance women’s empowerment

  • Extensively present the significance of economic growth through women’s empowerment and share outcomes in business with women. [Cabinet Office, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry]
  • Promote equal allocation of care work to realize work-life balance for both men and women. [Cabinet Office, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare]

(d)Promote understanding and acceptance of diverse sexual orientation and gender identity

  • Steadily enforce the revised Labour Policies Comprehensive Promotion Act by raising awareness of the contents of the Guidelines for Preventing Power Harassment. The guidelines clarify that insulting speech and behaviors targeting diverse sexual orientation and gender identity fall under power harassment in the workplace. [Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare]

(e) Ensure impartial treatment among employment fields

  • With respect to job placement and vocational guidance, the Employment Security Act prescribes that “no one shall be discriminated against in job placement vocational guidance (rating vocational guidance under the Mariners’ Employment Security Act) for reasons such as race, nationality, creed, sex, social status” A Public Employment Security Office (Regional Transport Bureau in case of mariners) will continue to provide instruction and education for businesses recruiting through the agency to assure equal employment opportunity without discrimination on the grounds of race or ethnicity. [Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism]
  • As awareness-raising activities on fair recruitment and selection, the Government has created and made available on its website awareness-raising pamphlets for employers stating that opportunities should be opened widely for applicants and recruitment criterion should only be on the basis of suitability and ability for the occupation. Continue to make efforts such as providing explanations during training for employers on fair screening processes for employment held at the Public Employment Security Office. [Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare]

( f )Ensure impartial treatment in public spaces or services

  • Continue steady implementation in accordance with the Hotel Business Act (Act No. 138 of 1948), which does not permit denial of lodging, etc. solely on the grounds of belonging to a specific race or ethnicity, or of being a same sex couple. [Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare]
  • Steadily implement the Ordinance for Enforcement of the Act on Development of Hotels for Inbound Tourists (Ministry of Transport Order No. 3 of 1993), which prohibits registered hotels from engaging in unfair discrimination against inbound international travelers or unfair discrimination between inbound international travelers and other guests concerning accommodation fees, food and beverage fees, and other services provided. [Japan Tourism Agency]


F. Acceptance of and Coexistence with Foreign Nationals

(Existing framework/Measures taken)

In recent years, the number of foreign nationals residing and working in Japan has been increasing, and there is a greater need for realizing a society where Japanese and foreign nationals can live safely and comfortably together through properly accepting foreign nationals and realizing a society of coexistence. Under these circumstances, the Government has taken the position of accepting foreign nationals who have status of residence, including Convention refugees and third-country resettled refugees as members of society without isolating them. To fully develop an environment where foreign nationals can enjoy the same public services and live without undue anxiety just as Japanese nationals do, the Ministerial Conference adopted the “Comprehensive Measures for Acceptance and Coexistence of Foreign nationals” (hereinafter referred to as “Comprehensive Measures”) in December 2018, and compiled a further document titled “Enhancement of “Comprehensive Measures” (hereinafter referred to as “Enhancement Measures”) in June 2019. The Comprehensive Measures were revised in line with the direction of the Enhancement Measures in December 2019, under which the Government has worked together to steadily promote the relevant measures.

Moreover, in July 2020, in consideration of the situation of implementation of related measures, the Comprehensive Measures were revised from the perspective of further enhancing and encouraging the environment for acceptance of foreign nationals.


(Future measures planned)

Improve and promote the development of an environment for acceptance of foreign nationals leading to realize a society of harmonious coexistence

  • To realize a society of harmonious coexistence, the Government continues to steadily implement, promote and disseminate the measures related to various situations in life incorporated in the Comprehensive Measures (revised in 2020), including measures that contribute to business and human rights, while listening to the opinions of relevant parties. [Cabinet Secretariat, Cabinet Office, National Police Agency, Financial Services Agency, Consumer Affairs Agency, Fair Trade Commission, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism]


(2) Measures of the Government as an Actor regarding State Duty to Protect Human Rights

A. Public Procurement

(Existing framework/Measures taken)

the Government has promoted enhanced awareness by companies for respecting human rights and the environment in accordance with the … Women’s Participation Act …

(Future measures planned)

Thoroughly implement procurement rules relevant to business and human rights, including grievance procedures (initiatives based on Act on Priority Procurement Promotion for Persons with Disabilities, initiatives related to public procurement based on Article 24 of the Women’s Participation Act, and initiatives concerning exclusion of organized crime groups)


  • Continue to award additional points to business enterprises with certification under the Women’s Participation Act and other laws, when the Government and incorporated administrative agencies use criteria other than price (in the procurement procedures applying to the overall‐greatest‐ value evaluation method and the competitive proposal evaluation method). The aforementioned certification is provided to business enterprises promoting measures, such as work-life balance. This scheme is being implemented in accordance with the Guidelines for Utilization of Public Procurement and Subsidies Towards the Promotion of Women’s Advancement (decided by the Headquarters for Creating a Society in Which All Women Shine on March 22, 2016) and other criteria. [Cabinet Office]


B. Development Cooperation and Development Finance

(Existing framework/Measures taken)

When engaging in development cooperation projects, internationally established human rights standards, including the international human rights treaties, have been respected. Particular attention has been paid to human rights of socially vulnerable groups, such as women, indigenous people, persons with disabilities, and minorities. Nevertheless, further efforts are required in this regard.


Furthermore, the National Action Plan for the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and related resolutions on Women, Peace and Security incorporates the following elements in all activities in the areas of peace and security, humanitarian assistance, and recovery: women’s participation and empowerment; measures corresponding to women’s needs; promotion of gender equality; and protection of women’s human rights.

(Future measures planned)

Implement effective measures regarding environmental and social consideration in the fields of development cooperation and development financing


  • From gender perspectives, “IV. Humanitarian and Recovery Assistance” initiatives, including the area of development cooperation in the National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security, fall under the context of business and human rights. The Government continues to incorporate gender perspectives in the implementation of Japan’s assistance when collaborating with companies for JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) and UN projects. [Ministry of Foreign Affairs]


(4) Measures regarding Access to Remedy

Judicial and Non-Judicial Remedy

(Existing framework/Measures taken)


As measures based on specific legislation, frameworks have been established in specific areas, including for workers and persons with disabilities.


(Future measures planned)


d) Continue human rights counseling (Human Rights Hotline and other relevant counseling sessions, including telephone counseling)

  • Provide human rights counseling in ten foreign languages by Human Rights Counseling Centers for Foreigners. Dedicated hotlines have also been established for protecting the human rights of women and children. [Ministry of Justice]


(f) Continue and reinforce measures, including those based on specific legislation (for workers, persons with disabilities, and foreign workers, including technical intern trainees, and for whistleblower protection)

  • In accordance with the Technical Intern Training Act, continue to report to the Commissioner of the Immigration Services Agency and the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare. Provide counseling by the Organization for Technical Intern Training to technical intern trainees in their native languages, and support transfer of workplace when human rights violations occur and technical intern trainees find it difficult to undertake training. [Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare]



(5) Other measures

In addition to measures aligned with the three pillars of the UNGPs, the Government contributes to measures against various issues expected in relation to business and human rights through the following measures.

(Future measures planned)

Promote quality infrastructure investment (the G20 Principles for Quality Infrastructure Investment)

In the G20 Principles for Quality Infrastructure Investment approved at the G20 Osaka Summit, “Principle 5. Integrating Social Considerations in Infrastructure Investment” states that infrastructure should enable the economic participation and social inclusion of all, and respect human rights and the needs of all people, especially those who may experience particular vulnerabilities, including women and children. Japan has actively appealed for dissemination and establishment of the G20 principles and led the discussion in the international community, and will contribute to the solution of various issues expected in relation to business and human rights by continuing to promote the principles. [Ministry of Foreign Affairs]