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Draft Human Rights Protection Bill Abandoned due to Diet Dissolution (Oct. 10, 2003)

The Prime Minister dissolved the House of Representatives at the 157th Extraordinary Session of the Diet, thus scrapping all pending draft bills. Included in the abandoned drafts was the Draft Human Rights Protection Bill, submitted to the House of Councilors on March 8, 2002. The Draft Bill was based on the Report of the Council on the Promotion of Human Rights Protection, and would have provided for the prohibition of human rights violations, and the establishment of a system for the provision of remedies for victims of violation, by a Human Rights Commission. But the Commission envisaged by the Draft Bill would have had several problematic aspects, such as being under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Justice, having no provisions for local human rights commissions as well as insufficient remedies procedures for violations by public authority, and vesting the Commission with strong powers to deal with human rights violations by the media. Opposition parties and civil organizations had strongly criticized the bill, and both houses never got around to discussing it in substance in the 18 months since submission.
On September 25, Mr. Nozawa, who was appointed Minister of Justice in the third Koizumi Cabinet, spoke in an interview with Yomiuri Shimbun and other media, that he expected the Draft Human Rights Protection Bill to be abandoned by the dissolution of the Lower House. He said that this was an opportunity for it to be reviewed and improved, indicating his intention to revise and resubmit the draft bill. On the critics' calls for placing the Commission under the jurisdiction of the Cabinet Office instead the Ministry of Justice, he maintained that the Ministry has the most experience and expertise regarding human rights. It is expected that reaching a consensus for adoption will not be easy.

-> Human Rights Protection Bill(2002/04/08)
-> Outline of the Human Rights Protection Bill(2002/01/30)
-> Opinion : Views on the draft Human Rights Protection Bill - Human Rights Forum 21 (2002/04/08)
-> Opinion : Issues on the Human Rights Protection Bill(2002/03/08) By Koshi Yamazaki
-> Opinion : Views on the draft Human Rights Protection Bill - NICHIBENREN (Japan Federation of Bar Associations)

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