Mr. Doudou Diene (Senegal), who was appointed by the UN Commission on Human Rights (now the Human Rights Council) to the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, had submitted and made available his report on "Mission to Japan" (E/CN.4/2006/16/Add.2, dated 24 January 2006)[PDF]. The report was prepared on the basis of his visit to Japan from 3 - 11 July 2005, undertaken in accordance with his mandate.
The report refers to the Buraku people, the Ainu, the people of Okinawa, people and descendants of former Japanese colonies (Korea and China) and migrants (migrant workers) from other Asian countries and from the rest of the world, describing how these groups are discriminated against in Japan. It makes 24-point recommendations to the government of Japan, including official recognition of the existence of racial discrimination as well as the expression of political commitment to its eradication; the adoption of anti-discrimination legislation; the establishment of national machineries to address these issues; and the revision of history textbooks.
In response to the report, the government of Japan submitted a note verbale[PDF], dated 30 May 2006 and with 16 pages in English, to the Human Rights Council. While expressing its respect for the detailed report by Mr. Diene, the government states that the reference by the Special Rapporteur to the issue of "comfort women" and other issues which had occurred during the World War II is beyond his mandate, which is to investigate and report on "contemporary forms" of racism and other related phenomena. The government also provides explanations on or counterarguments to the issues taken up by the Special Rapporteur on a paragraph-by-paragraph basis.
At the second session of the Human Rights Council, held in Geneva from 18 September to 6 October 2006, the Special Rapporteur presented his reports on the issue of racism, including those on his missions to Japan, Brazil, Switzerland and Russia. In response, the government of Japan took the floor to underline what was said in the note verbale.
In response to Japan's statement, International Movement Against All Forms of Racism and Discrimination (IMADR) took the floor to welcome the Special Rapporteur's report as the first UN document concerning racism and other related phenomena in Japan. It went on to express its commitment the promotion of a multicultural society in Japan on the basis of the report, expressing regret to the critical stance of the Japanese government to the report.
· "Human Rights Council Discusses Racism and Racial Discrimination, Human Rights of People of African Descent and Migrants", press release issued by the UN Headquarters in Geneva on 18 September 2006
· Report of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, "Mission to Japan" (E/CN.4/2006/16/Add.2) [PDF]
· Note verbale of the government of Japan [PDF]