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Japan: Official Recognition of Ainu as Indigeneous People

(Sept. 5, 2008) The Diet (Japan's parliament) passed a resolution on June 6, 2008, to recognize the Ainu as an indigenous people. On the same day, Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura released a comment on the resolution, in which he acknowledged the suffering of the Ainu and recognized them as an indigenous people. There are […]

Japan: New Insurance Law

(July 2, 2008) The Diet (Japan's Parliament) passed the new Insurance Law on May 30, 2008. The old law was enacted in 1911. At that time, the legislature did not foresee the spread of injury and illness insurance, and so there have not been specific provisions for such insurance. The life insurance part of the […]

Japan: Foreign Ship Navigation Within the Territorial Waters Law

(July 2, 2008) The Diet (Japan's Parliament) passed a new law on June 5, 2008, to regulate foreign ships' navigation within Japan's territorial waters. Japan did not previously have a law to control the movements of suspect foreign ships within its territorial sea, and so Japanese maritime officials could not conduct on-the-spot inspection of suspicious […]

Japan: Acceptance of Indonesian Healthcare Workers Based on Agreement

(June 2, 2008) Japan and Indonesia signed the Agreement for an Economic Partnership (EPA) on August 20, 2007, under which Japan agreed to issue visas and allow resident status for qualified Indonesian nurses and nursing-care workers. The workers will receive Japanese language classes for six months. Then, they will work at hospitals and nursing homes […]

Japan: Controversy over Payment for U.S. Military Bases

(June 2, 2008) The Japanese government has paid a large part of the expenses for U.S. military bases in Japan since 1978. Those expenses include housing, schools, and recreational facilities for U.S. soldiers and base employees, salaries of Japanese employees, utility bills, and expenses to relocate training sites. The opposition party, the Democratic Party of […]

Japan: High Court Calls Air Self-Defense Force Activities in Iraq Unconstitutional

(May 2, 2008) Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution renounces war and states: “land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained.” The constitutionality of Japan's Self Defense Force (SDF) has been a legal, political, and social issue since the creation of the SDF. Japan has supported the United […]

Japan: Executives Responsible for Damage Caused by Concealing Use of Unauthorized Food Additive

(Apr. 2, 2008) Shareholders of a Japanese company recently sued the company's former president and directors, alleging that they caused damage to the company by concealing the use of an unauthorized food additive for pork buns and continuing to sell the inventory of buns containing the additive. The company was blackmailed by a person who […]

Japan: Videotaping Questioning of Suspects

(Apr. 2, 2008) It has sometimes been argued in court proceedings that police officers or public prosecutors forced or led certain contents of written declarations of suspects. In Japan, police officers or public prosecutors draft written declarations of suspects while questioning them and suspects sign the declarations. To prove that a suspect voluntarily stated the […]

Japan: Victims to Receive Money Deposited by Criminals

(Mar. 2, 2008) New legislation, the Law Concerning the Distribution in Payments to Victims of Crime-Related Deposits in Financial Institutions, was promulgated in Japan on December 21, 2007. This Law facilitates financial institutions' freezing of accounts in which funds were deposited by victims because of fraud, deception, or coercion. Financial institutions can distribute the money […]