Nikkei and Yomiuri reported online on remarks made to the press this morning by Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato voicing “serious concern” about the human rights situation in Xinjiang. He was quoted as saying: “We’ve been asking the Chinese government to provide a transparent account” of what is happening there. As for the sanctions imposed yesterday by the EU on Chinese officials involved in the persecution of the Uyghurs, the government spokesman said Tokyo has been “exchanging various opinions” with the U.S. and European governments, but refused to elaborate. Asked if Japan plans to adopt similar punitive measures, the GOJ official said: “There are no provisions that stipulate the invocation of sanctions only for the reason of human rights” in relevant statutes, such as the Foreign Exchange Law.
Yomiuri explained that since Japan is the only country among the G7 members that has no legislation on penalizing foreign government officials or entities for human rights violations, some lawmakers are aiming to draft and enact such a bill. However, the GOJ is cautious about the idea on the grounds that “it may interfere in the internal affairs of foreign countries,” in the words of an unnamed senior administration official.
Yomiuri separately wrote that State Department Deputy Spokesperson Porter commented on Japan’s failure to punish the Chinese over the matter by saying: “We certainly won’t make recommendations or legislate what Japan decides to do on their own.”