Project to develop Guidelines for responsible business practices in Japanese textile industry

ILO and JTF sign an agreement to harness the responsible business practices in Japanese textile industry

- Launching the Development of Guidelines for Supply Chain Due Diligence -

News | 05 November 2021
©ILO Photo: Left to Right: Mr. Masanao Kambara, President of the JTF, Mr. Takeshi Nagasawa of the METI and Mr. Shinichi Takasaki, Director, ILO Office for Japan
Tokyo (ILO News) - The ILO and the Japan Textile Federation (JTF) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote responsible business practices in the Japanese textile industry.  The project team, which consists of the ILO, JTF, and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) as an observer, will contribute to the development of guidelines to make it easier for enterprises to conduct due diligence.  It will also help enterprises implement it, including capacity building of the relevant officials of the industry to ensure that decent work, which the guideline aims to achieve, spreads throughout supply chains in Japan and abroad.  JTF is a textile employers’ voluntary organization established in 1970.  Various Japanese textile industry organisations work together to address key issues relating to the industry. 

The signing ceremony, held on 5th November 2021, was by Mr. Masanao Kambara, President of the JTF, Mr. Takeshi Nagasawa of the METI and Mr. Shinichi Takasaki, Director, ILO Office for Japan.

As a background of this project, in July this year, METI released the report, “the Study Group on Sustainability of Textile and Apparel Industry ~A plan for the new era~“.  As mentioned in the report, the Japanese textile industry is currently at a significant transitional stage. In addition to the drop in sales of apparel and other products due to the spread of the COVID-19, there has been a structural change in the domestic apparel market with the import penetration rate rising to 98%. With a few exceptions, many companies are not fully taking initiatives such as managing supply chains, which are said to be long and complicated. [1] With the urgent need to address sustainability in the textile industry, the report pointed out that the government should work with relevant industry organizations to further raise awareness of the importance of conducting due diligence.  In addition, it was suggested that the textile industry in Japan collaborate with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and other international organizations that deal with a wide range of labour issues and encourage the development of guidelines to help enterprises conduct due diligence more effectively. [2] In light of this, the ILO also expressed its intention to promote cooperation for the realization of decent work not only in the textile industry but also in response to requests from other industrial sectors.

Mr Shinichi Takasaki, Director, ILO Office for Japan, who signed the agreement on behalf of the ILO, said that the mutually complementary implementation of human rights due diligence and stakeholders’ engagement is important, as set out in Japan's National Action Plan (NAP) for Business and Human Rights and ILO's “Tripartite Declaration of Principles concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy” (MNE Declaration). Based on that, he emphasized that promoting socially responsible business activities and labour practices that are consistent with internationally recognized principles will significantly contribute to creation of more and better jobs and, in turn, to the achievement of sustainable and inclusive economic growth and decent work for all.

The objectives of the development and implementation of the Guidelines for Responsible Business Practices in Japanese textile industry aim to:
  • strengthen sector-wide efforts and improve international competitiveness by implementing guidelines that meet the requirements of international labour standards and global standards
  • identify priority labour issues and how to address them through sectoral and social dialogue across the industry and supply chain
  • create decent work and make supply chains more resilient by strengthening supplier's capacity building.

The project will be led by the guideline’s development committee of JTF member organizations, composed of the ILO and the JTF, and will be facilitated by the project secretariat with the METI participating as an observer.  While holding study sessions to gain knowledge from external experts in Japan and abroad, as well as meetings to seek the opinions of stakeholders representing the tripartite constituents, the project aims to develop guidelines that incorporate the opinions of multi-stakeholders, as well as to communicate and publicize the strong points of Japanese companies to the international community. The overall project will be developed with the expertise of the following two advisors:
-    Mr. Kenta Goto, Professor, Kansai University's Faculty of Economics
-    Ms. Miwa Yamada, Director, Law and Institution Studies Group, Inter-disciplinary Studies Centre (IDE-JETRO)

The duration of the project is planned to be one year.

Contact: Mr. Ryusuke Tanaka (Programme Officer, ILO Office for Japan)

[1] ”New Body ‘Study Group on Sustainability of Textile Industry’ to be Inaugurated”, Lifestyle Industries Division, Manufacturing Industries Bureau, Ministry of Trade, Economy and Industry, 24 February, 2021.

"Study Group on Sustainability of Textile and Apparel Industry" Report Compiled, 12 July 2021.

The Report (PDF) p.5

[2] The Report (PDF) p.17