At a meeting of relevant ministries and agencies on June 14, the government approved the outline of guidelines for businesses to prevent and take measures against human rights violations.
At the meeting, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister (in charge of international human rights issues) Nakatani Gen instructed ministries and agencies to create a mechanism to exclude companies involved in human rights abuses from government procurement and official development assistance (ODA).
The guidelines call for each company to formulate a human rights policy and take remedial measures in the event they cause adverse effects on human rights or facilitate the violation of human rights.
The government gave a list of examples of human rights, including the freedom not to be pressed into forced labor or child labor, the freedom to move residence, the freedom of association, and the right to collective bargaining.
Although the guidelines are not legally binding, the government noted that “all companies are obligated to respect human rights.”
To ensure that no suppliers or other members of supply chains are complicit in human rights abuses, the guidelines also specify that “both direct and indirect business partners, including those overseas” will make efforts.
The government plans to finalize the guidelines this summer and also prepare a booklet with specific examples for companies to use as reference.
“It is important to present initiatives and methods in line with international standards,” said Nakatani. “The government itself should take the lead and be a model in this area.”