From The United Nations
August 23 2022
The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities today concluded its consideration of the initial report of Japan on its implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Committee Experts commended Japan’s compensation of victims of eugenic surgery, while asking questions on institutionalisation and inclusive education.
Jonas Ruskus, Committee Expert and Country Co-Rapporteur, welcomed the provision of lump-sum compensation to persons who received eugenic surgery under the former eugenic protection law.
Mr. Ruskus said that the perpetuation of the institutionalisation of persons with disabilities in residential care settings raised serious concerns. He asked if the State party had taken steps to address eugenic attitudes within institutions. What measures had been taken to establish independent living conditions for persons with disabilities?
Mr. Ruskus also expressed concern about regress observed as regards the education of children with disabilities. Some new national legislation promoted special segregated education of children with disabilities, subjecting them to a medical assessment, resulting in the denial of inclusive education. A Committee Expert asked about policies or strategies for promoting accessibility in regular schools and inclusive education.
The delegation said in 1996, the eugenic protection law was amended, and provisions concerning eugenic surgeries had been abolished. The law’s aim now was to protect maternal health. The preamble of this amended law expressed remorse and apologies, and 3.2 million yen was provided in compensation to each victim of forced sterilisation.
In order to support the transition of persons with disabilities into the community, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Public Welfare provided services such as housing for persons about to leave hospitals and institutions. From April 2021, training had been provided to workers at such facilities on preventing abuse.
On education, the delegation said that children with disabilities had the choice whether to attend normal schools or special schools. Those receiving support in inclusive education settings had doubled in recent years. An increasing number of children with hearing or speech impediments were opting to attend inclusive education.
In concluding remarks, Kozo Honsei, Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations Office at Geneva, thanked the Committee for the dialogue, which had provided many valuable take-aways. The State party would next discuss concluding observations with relevant stakeholders, and make full use of them to achieve the full rights of persons with disabilities in Japan.
In her concluding remarks, Miyeon Kim, Committee Expert and Country Co-Rapporteur, said that important issues had been raised in the dialogue, such as the absence of a procedural remedial act and the lack of legal grounds for reasonable accommodation in various aspects of society, among other issues. Ms. Kim urged Japan to continue to engage in dialogue with civil society organizations. She expressed hope that Japan would become a world leader in upholding the rights of persons with disabilities.
The delegation of Japan consisted of representatives of the Commission on Policy for Persons with Disabilities; Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ministry of Justice; Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology; Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare; Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism; and the Permanent Mission of Japan to United Nations Office at Geneva.
The Committee will issue its concluding observations on the report of Japan at the end of its twenty-seventh session, which concludes on 9 September. Summaries of the public meetings of the Committee can be found here, while webcasts of the public meetings can be found here. The programme of work of the Committee’s twenty-seventh session and other documents related to the session can be found here.