Japanese Foreign Policy and Human Rights

  • Ian Neary


You have to look very carefully in the writing about Japanese foreign policy before the mid-1990s to find any mention of human rights. There were some references to the ambivalent attitudes adopted by Japan in the mid-1970s, when the United States began to stress human rights concerns in its criticisms of the Soviet Union, and there have been some passing comments on Japan’s voting record on human rights resolutions in the UN. Mostly, though, the issue has not been mentioned at all. However at the end of the 1990s human rights issues play a much more important role in both domestic and foreign policy agendas. Two committees exist, attached to the prime minister’s office, to consider detailed domestic policy changes and to promote human rights awareness in the UN decade of human rights education.


Prime Minister Foreign Policy Foreign Affair Japanese Government Liberal Democratic Party 
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    Japan Federation of Bar Associations, ed., A Report on the Application and Practice in Japan of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Tokyo, April 1993); Japan Federation of Bar Associations, Alternative Report to the Fourth Periodic Report of Japan on the ICCPR (Tokyo, September 1998).Google Scholar
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    Hoshino Eiichi, “Human Rights and Development Aid: Japan,” in Debating Human Rights, ed. Peter Van Ness (London and New York: Routledge, 1999), pp. 225.Google Scholar

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© Inoguchi Takashi and Purnendra Jain 2000

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  • Ian Neary

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