Japan – Sustainable development

Chapter 1. Towards the Formulation of the National Action Plan (NAP) (Background and Working Process)

1. Introduction: Increasing International Attention to Business and Human Rights and the Need for NAPs


(4) Following their endorsement, the UNGPs have increasingly received support from the international community. In September 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (the 2030 Agenda) with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at its core. With respect to private business activity, the 2030 Agenda articulated that the UN member states will “foster a dynamic and well-functioning business sector, while protecting labour rights and environmental and health standards in accordance with relevant international standards and agreements and other ongoing initiatives in this regard, such as the UNGPs and the labour standards of the International Labour Organization, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and key multilateral environmental agreements.” In 2020, the PRI published an investment action framework for institutional investors to achieve outcomes in line with the SDGs.


(9)(…) In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, OECD and ILO indicated that COVID-19 exposed vulnerabilities in company operations and supply chains regarding working conditions. Considering these global trends, the Government believes that it is more important than ever to steadily implement the UNGPs and the NAP to ensure responsible business activities with a view to promoting further efforts to realize the SDGs based on the principle of human security.


 2. Positioning of the NAP: Links with International Documents, including the UNGPs and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The Government holds that the promotion and protection of human rights and the realization of the SDGs are interrelated and mutually reinforcing, as stated in Resolution 37/24 on the Promotion and protection of human rights and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted at the 37th session of the HRC in March 2018. The Government considers the NAP formulation to be one of the measures to achieve the SDGs, and clearly mentioned its intention to formulate the NAP in the SDGs Implementation Guiding Principles Revised Edition, which was adopted at the 8th session of the SDGs Promotion Headquarters held in December 2019.


3. Objectives to be Achieved through the Launch and Implementation of the NAP


(4) To contribute to achieving the SDGs As stated in Section 2 “Positioning of the NAP: Links with International Documents, including the UNGPs and the SDGs,” the achievement of the SDGs and the protection and promotion of human rights are interrelated and mutually reinforcing. In this connection, the Government aims to contribute to realizing a sustainable and inclusive society where “no one will be left behind” through the implementation of the NAP.



Chapter 2. Action Plan

2. Areas of the NAP

(1) Cross-cutting areas

C. Rights and Roles of Consumers

(Existing framework/Measures taken)

Goal 12 of the SDGs is to “ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.” Accordingly, the creation of sustainable economies and societies requires action by consumers alongside businesses and governments. The Government works on realizing the rights of consumers in accordance with the Basic Consumer Act (Act No. 78 of 1968) that sets forth the responsibilities of the government, local governments, and businesses for the protection and promotion of consumers’ interests. Ethical consumption is the concept of consuming in a way that is considerate of people, society, and the environment, while incorporating the perspectives of regional revitalization and employment. In raising awareness on ethical consumption, explanations on social problems such as child labour and environmental issues are provided at workshops for children and using educational tools (leaflets, posters, and video) to introduce people to a manner of consuming that could lead to the resolution of such problems.