Summary of the Japanese-language HURIGHTS OSAKA Newsletter No. 121, May 2015 (bimonthly)
Multiple Forms of Discrimination against Minority Women and International Human Rights Standards
(Researcher, Osaka University of Economics and Law)
What are the multiple forms of discrimination? Women belonging to minority communities suffer disadvantageous conditions unlike their male counterparts and the women in mainstream society. Such difference has been left untouched, and not given due attention. As members of the minority community, they are discriminated against in society, while as women, they are subject to gender-based discrimination within and outside the community. After the Beijing Conference in 1995, the international community, especially the United Nations, started to give special attention to the multiple forms of discrimination and incorporate them in its agenda. Nevertheless, the Government of Japan has consistently been indifferent to the situation of minority women. Faced with such attitude of the government, Ainu, Buraku and Korean women stood up and conducted a survey to disclose the intersectional discrimination and its negative effect on them. Based on the findings, they have continued, to date, advocacy work and lobbying with the central and local governments to urge them to change their policies and take action. Very little, however, has been achieved.
Call for Policies Incorporating the Voices of Minority Women
(Chairperson, APRO – resident Korean women group)
Resident Korean women as well as Ainu and Buraku women have long faced multiple forms of discrimination based on ethnicity, nationality or descent combined with their status as women. Women in these minority communities had no link with each other until 1999 when IMADR called for a joint research on the multiple forms of discrimination against women. Since then, women belonging to these minority communities have worked together for advocacy and intervention at the national and international levels. Through these collaborations, a network among minority women has developed. The latest forum organized by the network invited women with disabilities, expanding the network’s scope as a result. The concluding observations of the CEDAW after its review of the Japanese Government report in 2009 recommended the conduct of a comprehensive survey by the government on the situations of minority women in Japan. For minority women to live in dignity, the government was urged to make endeavors toward the full implementation of the Convention.
Buraku Women in Nara – What is the Reality
(Secretary General, Women’s Division of Buraku Liberation League [BLL] Nara)
The Women’s Division of Buraku Liberation League [BLL] Nara surveyed in September 2010 the actual situation of Buraku women in Nara prefecture. 1,568 women and 1,278 households responded to a survey questionnaire. Based on all responses, the Women’s Division came out with the following analysis:
• Residents in Buraku districts are mainly elderly who live alone with low annual income. Buraku people who live outside Buraku districts are relatively young. Many of them are richer than those living in Buraku districts;
• Buraku women aged over 60 tend to have difficulties in reading and writing. But even among younger generations, some have similar difficulties;
• Discrimination against Buraku people is usually manifested at the time of marriage. Younger Buraku people living outside Buraku districts tend to worry about their future marriage due to fear of being identified as having Buraku origin;
• Nearly one third of the respondents did not answer the question regarding personal experience of domestic violence. Women apparently do not answer this question because they do not want to remember what happened to them or they are not aware that it was domestic violence.
Buraku women are subject to gender discrimination as well as Buraku discrimination, thus suffering more disadvantages compared to Buraku men. The discrimination being suffered is structural and complex. The survey clearly suggests the need to give careful support to the Buraku women.
Exploitation of Japanese Filipino Children (JFC) and Their Mothers
(Researcher, HURIGHTS OSAKA)
The 2009 Revised Nationality Act increased the possibility of Japanese-Filipino children who were born out of wedlock to acquire Japanese nationality. Children who have been acknowledged by their Japanese fathers and who comply with the necessary procedures before they become 20 years old are qualified to get Japanese nationality. This amendment of the law also helps their Filipino mothers get residence status and work permit in Japan. Taking advantage of this development, many private agencies have been established in the Philippines to provide visa and job employment services to Filipino mothers of minor Japanese-Filipino children. The mothers typically get jobs in care facilities or small factories. However, the amount of fees being charged by the agencies is not commensurate to the service being provided. After arriving in Japan, many Filipino mothers are asked to pay exorbitant service fees by their Japanese employers, who are apparently connected to the Philippine agencies. In 2014, due to this exploitative situation, several Filipino mothers (and their children) successfully escaped from their employers and sought police help. These cases are the tip of the iceberg. They are indeed victims of trafficking.
Wind from Kuwait
This is an essay of Haruna YASUMICHI, a student of the Foreign Language Department of the Osaka University. She has been interested on the Palestine issue since she was a high school student, and entered Osaka University to study the Arabic language. Currently, she stays in Kuwait to study Arabic language at Kuwait University. She wanted to study in Palestine, but found it very difficult to do so. In this essay, she shares her daily life and experiences in Kuwait.