Japan – Judicial remedy
Chapter 2. Action Plan
1. Fundamental Principles of the NAP
- Remedial procedures (judicial and non-judicial remedies) have been established to address human rights violations in business activities. The Government intends to continue to assure access to judicial remedies and make improvements where necessary. It also utilizes multiple efforts regarding non-judicial remedies, including consulting services based on specific laws and regulations (e.g., workers, persons with disabilities, and consumers) as well as remedial procedures. These include the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) Guidelines for Confirmation of Environmental and Social Considerations, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Guidelines for Environmental and Social Considerations, the Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI) Guidelines on Environmental and Social Considerations in Trade Insurance, and the Japanese National Contact Point (NCP) under the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (the Japanese NCP). The Government intends to secure access to these nonjudicial remedies and make improvements where necessary.
2. Areas of the NAP
(4) Measures regarding Access to Remedy
Judicial and Non-Judicial Remedy
（ Existing framework/Measures taken）
As a remedy for human rights violations by business enterprises, the Government intends to ensure accountability and remedies through the pursuit of criminal responsibility, damage claims, and administrative measures undertaken based on relevant laws, including the Penal Code (Act No.45 of 1907), the Civil Code (Act No.89 of 1896), the Product Liability Act (Act No. 85 of 1994), and the Labor Tribunal Act (Act No. 45 of 2004).
In relation to access to these remedies, the Japan Legal Support Center (the JLSC) makes efforts to ensure access to judicial remedies by providing legal aid services, such as free legal consultations for Japanese nationals and foreign nationals lawfully residing in Japan who have no financial means.
As measures based on specific legislation, frameworks have been established in specific areas, including for workers and persons with disabilities.
Consultations involving consumer complaints and mediation for the settlement of consumer complaints are also being provided under the Consumer Safety Act (Act No. 50 of 2009).
(Future measures planned)
(a) Digitalize civil proceedings
- Make efforts to realize online submission of complaints, digitalization of litigation records, arrangement of issues, and examination of evidence using online meetings without personal appearance of the parties concerned. Revise the Code of Civil Procedure in accordance with the review and deliberation by the Legislative Council of the Ministry of Justice to improve access to the legal system by the public. [Ministry of Justice]
(b) Conduct training on human rights for police officers, public prosecutors, and other relevant officials
- Continue to provide training on various human rights issues, including international trends in the area of human rights, to newly recruited and promoted police officers at the police academies nationwide. [National Police Agency]
- Continue to make efforts to increase broad understanding of human rights by means, including providing lectures on topics such as human rights treaties and crime victims at various trainings organized for prosecutors in accordance with their respective numbers of years of experience. [Ministry of Justice]
- Continue to offer lectures for Immigration Services Agency employees on human rights related legislation, the current status of protection of human rights, and trafficking in persons at trainings held in accordance with years of service. In addition, continue efforts to develop personnel who contribute to appropriate handling of work by providing lectures, including on human rights treaties and measures against trafficking in persons, at training sessions to deepen knowledge on human rights issues of employees that are central to the Agency’s operations and engaged in practical operations. [Ministry of Justice]
- Offer lectures on the topic of trafficking in persons at annual training sessions for Labour Standards Inspectors around the fifth year of appointment. Continue to promote understanding of the role of Labour Standards Inspection Agencies in promoting measures against trafficking in persons. [Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare]
(e) Prevent human rights violations and remedy damages
- Conduct necessary investigations if a suspected case of human rights violations is recognized through human rights counseling, and provide remedy and prevention by implementing appropriate measures for the case under investigation in cooperation with the relevant agencies. [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]
- The Whistleblower Protection Act (Act No. 122 of 2004) has been enacted for protecting whistleblowers who meet certain requirements, and promoting compliance with the laws and regulations concerning the protection of life, body, and property, and other interests of nationals. Continue to promote the establishment of whistleblowing systems at businesses and government agencies (including local governments) taking into account the G20 Osaka Leaders’ Declaration and the G20 High-Level Principles for the Effective Protection of Whistleblowers. [Consumer Affairs Agency]