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Japan lawmakers move forward with adoption of human rights resolution against China

By Okuhara Shinpei


On Dec. 8, five parliamentary groups including the non-partisan “Japan-Uyghur Parliamentary League” held a joint board meeting in the Diet. The participants confirmed their policy to urge each party to adopt in the current extraordinary Diet session a resolution condemning the human rights violations by the Chinese authorities in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and Hong Kong.


In the last ordinary Diet session, a draft resolution was prepared by non-partisan groups, but it was not adopted due to the stalemate between the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the junior coalition Komeito party. Amid growing international criticism of China, attention is being paid to how the LDP and Komeito will respond to the move.


“Many countries have expressed concern about the outrageous human rights situation in China,” said Executive Acting Chairperson Furuya Keiji of the LDP Policy Research Council, also the head of the league, during the meeting on Dec. 8. “We will firmly adopt a resolution [to condemn China] and move on to the next step to work on a ‘Japanese version of the Magnitsky Act’ (to impose sanctions on gross human rights violations).”


LDP Policy Research Council Chairperson Takaichi Sanae, the head of the LDP’s parliamentary alliance supporting Southern (Inner) Mongolia,” stressed, “We should move ahead with procedures as soon as possible and submit the resolution to the Diet.”


During the last ordinary Diet session, opposition parties including the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, Nippon Ishin (Japan Innovation Party), and the Democratic Party For the People agreed to support the draft resolution [to condemn China’s human rights violation] prepared by non-partisan groups, but an “obstacle” to the adoption of the resolution lay in the ruling parties.


Many conservative LDP members have been calling for the early adoption of a resolution to condemn China. On the other hand, junior coalition party Komeito has strong ties with the Chinese Communist Party and appears hesitant to criticize China. During the last ordinary Diet session, the LDP did not undertake party procedures for submitting a resolution proposal to the Diet. This is because, according to sources, then-LDP Secretary-General Nikai Toshihiro  and others did not approve the draft resolution, out of concern that such resolution would damage the cooperative relationship with Komeito as the two parties were preparing for the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly election in July.


However, as the U.S. Biden administration is increasingly critical of China’s human rights violations, there are signs of a change in the LDP and Komeito. Prime Minister Kishida Fumio (LDP president), referring to the human rights issues in China, stated during Diet interpellation in the House of Representatives on Dec. 8, “We will work closely with the U.S. and other countries to raise our voices.” Komeito also specified its concern about the human rights situation in China for the first time in its campaign pledge for the last Lower House election.


Senior officials of the five parliamentary groups will soon call on each parliamentary group of the House of Representatives to work together to realize the adoption of a resolution.

Separately, Furuya and others will ask LDP Secretary-General Motegi Toshimitsu, senior officials of Komeito and senior officials of the Japanese Communist Party, who are supportive to adopting a resolution, to call for its adoption during the extraordinary Diet session.


In the meantime, on Dec. 8, the five parliamentary groups also decided to submit a joint statement to the prime minister, calling for a “diplomatic boycott” of the Winter Olympics in Beijing slated for February next year and foregoing the dispatch of government delegations to the event.

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