Japan – Non-judicial grievance mechanisms
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）
Non-judicial remedies such as the following have been established: consulting services based on individual legislation (e.g., workers, persons with disabilities, consumers); remedial procedures such as Objection Procedures Based on JBIC (Japan Bank for International Cooperation) Guidelines for Confirmation of Environmental and Social Considerations, JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) Objection Procedures Based on Guidelines for Environmental and Social Considerations, and NEXI (Nippon Export and Investment Insurance) Objection Procedures on Guidelines on Environmental and Social Considerations in Trade Insurance; and the Japanese NCP under the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises based on the international framework. In addition, pursuant to the Act on Promotion of Use of Alternative Dispute Resolution (Act No.151 of 2004) private dispute resolution procedure services (mediation conducted by private enterprises) are certified. This Act prescribes special rules such as suspension of prescription and discontinuation of litigation proceedings that can be applied subject to certain requirements when using the aforementioned services, thereby improving their utility. Furthermore, human rights consulting services and relief procedures are being offered at Legal Affairs Bureaus and District Legal Affairs Bureaus.
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)
(c）Publicize activities and improve operation of the Japanese NCP under the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises
- Enhance and facilitate cooperation among the three ministries in charge in accordance with the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and perform appropriate functions as the Japanese NCP. In particular, make procedures more transparent, while securing fairness and impartiality, and continue public relations activities. In so doing, pay attention to the perspectives of gender and respect for human rights in supply chains. Cooperate with the Japanese NCP Committee comprising the Government, labour, and management, and seek advice from experts where necessary. [Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry]
(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]
(g) Promote use of alternative dispute resolution procedures
- As a contribution to the improvement of access to remedy related to issues and human rights abuse by business activities, provide support such as disseminating information to promote the use of certified dispute resolution procedures under the Act on Promotion of Use of Alternative Dispute Resolution [Ministry of Justice] and other initiatives provided by various stakeholders [All Ministries]
(h) Continue the provision of grievance redress services in development cooperation and development financing
- To ensure compliance with the Guidelines for Environmental and Social Considerations, JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) has established and continues to provide a system where affected residents can file objections to non-compliance with the guidelines. In case an objection is filed, Examiners for the Guidelines, who are independent of departments responsible for specific projects, will investigate the facts concerning compliance/non-compliance, encourage dialogues between the parties concerned for resolution of disputes, report the results directly to the President of JICA, and disclose the result on JICA’s website. [Ministry of Foreign Affairs]
- To ensure compliance with the Guidelines for Confirmation of Environmental and Social Considerations, JBIC (Japan Bank for International Cooperation) has established and continues to provide a procedure for raising objections to non-compliance with the guidelines. The request to raise objections can be submitted by the country’s residents to be affected by the project, and an Examiner for Environmental Guidelines as an organ independent of departments responsible for lending or investment operations will make a determination, with the result to be disclosed publicly. [Ministry of Finance]
- JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) and JBIC (Japan Bank for International Cooperation) are to continue enhancing effectiveness through through operational improvement. [Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Finance]