TOKYO (ILO News ) - ILO has participated in the development process of Japan's National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights (NAP), which has been released on 16 October 2020, as a member of the Working Group and the Advisory Committee. In response, the stakeholders (*), including the Japanese Trade Union Confederation (JTUC-RENGO) and the Japan Business Federation (Keidanren), comprising the Working Group on Japan's NAP released joint comments at a stakeholders' webinar on the published NAP held on 9 November 2020.
Japan's NAP for the period between 2020 and 2025 aims, among others, to ensure policy coherency and strengthen coordination among government ministries and agencies; to contribute to the protection and promotion of human rights in whole society by promoting responsible business conducts; to help ensure and enhance the international competitiveness and sustainability of Japanese companies; and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through the NAP implementation.
Japan's NAP is the first of its kind developed since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic. The NAP refers to the statement of the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stressing the importance of placing human rights at the center of counter-measures during the COVID-19 response and recovery period, as well as the ILO's indication on the vulnerability of business operations and supply chains due to the COVID-19. Taking these statements into consideration, a need for an adequate implementation of the NAP is recognized.
The followings are some of the government policies on labour included in the Japan's NAP, which are relevant to the ILO:
- Disseminate the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work (1998) as well as ILO Tripartite Declaration of Principles concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy, promote complementary function of human rights due diligence and dialogue/collaboration among stakeholders
- Pursue ratification of ILO core conventions and respect, promote and realize fundamental principles and rights at work towards promoting decent work
- Protect and respect rights of workers, including foreign workers and technical interns, and measures to address harassment
- Promote efforts to respect human rights through human rights dialogue with other countries
- Conclude investment/economic partnership agreements that benefit workers and promote civil society dialogue
- Cooperate with international organizations in awareness raising on the issue of business and human rights among public officials and businesses
- Raise awareness of human rights due diligence among companies operating overseas by Japanese diplomatic offices and government-related organizations in abroad
- Promote decent work in supply chains through financial contributions to the ILO
Joint comments issued on 9 November reiterate the need for a system that ensures the involvement of a wide range of stakeholders, including business community, labour, civil society and experts, in the implementation and monitoring phase of the NAP, as well as the need for policy coherency and multi-stakeholder involvement based on the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
On the same day, members of the Advisory Committee on the NAP Development too jointly released a commentary titled "Upon the publication of the National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights," in which they expressed an expectation that an effective process for implementation of the NAP and its update is ensured so that it substantially contributes to addressing the challenges.
ILO Office for Japan is leading this stakeholder dialogue which resulted in the issuance of the joint comments, following the Stakeholder Common Requests No. 1 and No. 2, as part of its mandate to promote social dialogue.
For further information please contact
Ryusuke TANAKA, Programme Officer, ILO Office for Japan
- Tripartite Declaration of Principles concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy (MNE Declaration)
- ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work
- Topics: COVID-19 and the world of work
- ILO Background Paper "Analysis of the instruments relevant to the NAP formulation: Summary of references by major issue categories" (Japanese)
- OHCHR Statement by the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights
(*) Japan Business Federation (KEIDANREN), Japanese Trade Union Confederation (JTUC-RENGO), National Conference of Association of Small Business Entrepreneurs (Chu-Dou-Kyo), Global Compact Network Japan (GCNJ), Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA), Civil Society Platform for Japan's National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights, investor (individual status) and International Labour Organization (ILO)