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ECONOMY

Gov’t releases findings of survey on companies’ human rights violation countermeasures

  • November 30, 2021
  • , Yomiuri , p. 11
  • JMH Translation

The government has revealed the findings of its first-ever large-scale survey of listed Japanese companies regarding their handling of forced labor and other human rights violations in their supply chains. Of companies that said they have not identified or addressed the risk of their own company or their business partners committing human rights violations, approximately 30% said they have not been able to do so because they do not know how to or because they lack the personnel and budget to do so. The survey revealed that the public and private sectors need to work together to formulate guidelines and take other actions to create an environment [to support companies in addressing human rights].

 

According to the survey, 69% of companies have put in place a human rights policy, including a guiding principle of respecting human rights. In terms of taking concrete measures, however, only 52% of companies said they are implementing “human rights due diligence (HRDD),” an [ongoing risk management] process widely used by companies overseas to identify and prevent the adverse human rights impact of their corporate activities and to take measures to address them. Among companies that engage in HRDD, only 25% said they are implementing HRDD through to their indirect suppliers in Japan and overseas, and only 10%–16% said they are implementing HRDD through to buyers and customers. Asked why they do not implement HRDD, 32% said “we don’t know how to,” while 28% said “we can’t secure sufficient personnel or budget.”

 

The survey was conducted by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from September to October 2021, and responses were received from 760 (27%) of the 2,786 companies surveyed.

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