Thursday evening’s Tokyo Shimbun ran a Kyodo report from Washington saying that the Department of State released on Wednesday its human rights report for 2019. The wire service said that the annual report expressed concern over Japan’s judicial system in connection with the case of former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn, who had been placed under prolonged detention in Tokyo and fled to Lebanon at the end of last year. The report referred to legal experts’ view that the prolonged detention of Ghosn, who was arrested four times, was being used to force a confession and that forbidding the defendant to have any contact with his wife was punitive.
Regarding the right to freedom of expression, the report took up the suspension of an Aichi Prefecture art festival where a statue symbolizing the comfort women was displayed. The exhibit was closed in response to a barrage of protests from the public against the display of the statue. Concerning the current situation in Japan, the report took up, as it did last year, such issues as an increase in hate speech and continued sexual harassment in workplaces. The report also said that there are concerns that some laws and practices, if misused, could infringe on the freedom of the press in Japan with the Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets in mind.
This morning’s Yomiuri also reported on the U.S. human rights report by saying that the United States strongly criticized China for its continued large-scale detention of Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang autonomous region. The paper wrote that Secretary of State Pompeo criticized China and also Iran, Venezuela, and Cuba by name for their human rights violations, calling China’s treatment of Uighurs the “stain of the century” and saying that China tries to hide what it is doing by intimidating journalists. The paper said that the report also took up the situation in Hong Kong and the prolonged detention of Carlos Ghosn.