The Minister of Justice, Mr. Seiken Sugiura, announced on 7 April 2006 that the Human Rights Protection Bill, which has not been submitted to the Diet because of controversies in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), would be submitted to the next ordinary session of the Diet in the year 2007 after an intensive review of its provisions, including those concerning media regulation.
The Minister explained, "Little progress has been made in the deliberations within the LDP. We can't submit the Bill as it is now", and indicated that a task force would be set up within the Ministry of Justice for the examination of specific issues.
With regard to the virtual deadlock within the LDP, the Minister stated, "We need to make it possible to take effective measures against human rights violations. We can't leave [the Bill] on the table". With regard to media regulation, he said, "We need the media's understanding to take action against human rights violations. I hope to have a formal consultation with them to hear them fully". Concerning the criticism from within the LDP that the Bill has no "nationality clause" as one of the criteria for the appointment of human rights commissioners, who will actually deal with complaints, he stated, "Since there had been so much controversies, apart from what was said, I think [changes are necessary]", indicating the need for some modifications.
The Human Rights Protection Bill was submitted to the Diet in 2002 but dropped in the autumn of 2003. The Ministry of Justice intended to submit it again to the ordinary session of the Diet last year, having decided to stay the implementation of the media regulation provisions. There was no telling when the Bill could be submitted, however, because of successive criticism from within the LDP concerning "unclear definintion of human rights" and other issues.
· Human Rights Protection bill Given up in the Present Session: Justice Minister Sugiura, Nikkei Net (7 April 2006) (Japanese)
· Media Regulation May be Omitted from Human Rights Protection Bill, Tokyo Shinbun Chunichi WEB press(7 April 2006) (Japanese)
Related Material: Draft Bill Abandoned due to Diet Dissolution (Oct. 10, 2003)