Implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women in Japan

Author:Yoko Hayashi
Pages:341-366
SUMMARY

Upon Japan's ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women in 1985, certain law reforms for gender equality were realized. However, international human rights law has impacted limitedly on the Japanese judiciary. The Women's Convention has been invoked by parties in a number of cases, but so far has never been positively quoted by the courts. On... (see full summary)

 
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The Women's Convention
341
VI JEAIL 2 (2013)
Yoko Hayashi
Upon Japan
s ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of all forms
of Discrimination against Women in 1985, certain law reforms for gender
equality were realized. However, international human rights law has impacted
limitedly on the Japanese judiciary. The Women
s Convention has been invoked
by parties in a number of cases, but so far has never been positively quoted by
the courts. On the other hand, the jurisprudence of individual complaints under
the Optional Protocol of the Women
  
This paper introduces the case law of the individual complaint procedure of the
Women
 
jurisprudence. As the jurisprudence of individual complaints under the Women
s
Convention is still in the law-making stage, the author encourages the Japanese
government to ratify the Optional Protocol so that it can participate in the process
of developing this jurisprudence.
Keywords
Gender Equality, CEDAW, The Women’s Convention, UN Women, Optional
Protocol, Individual Complaint, CEDAW-OP, Japan
Implementation of the
Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms
of Discrimination against
Women in Japan
Attorney-at-law (Japan Bar); Member of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
(CEDAW). LL.B. (Waseda). This paper is written in the author’s personal capacity and does not necessarily
represent the views of CEDAW. The author may be contacted at: hayashi@athena-law.com / Address: Athena Law
Office, 4th floor, Kaishin Building, 7-12-5 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-0061 Japan.
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14330/jeail.2013.6.2.01
ISSUE FOCUS
342 Yoko Hayashi
I. Introduction
Twenty-eight years have passed since Japan ratified the Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (hereinafter the Womens
Convention or the Convention) in 1985. The Optional Protocol, which includes
an individual complaint mechanism, was added to the Convention in 1999. At
present, all nine core human rights treaties of the UN
1
are vested with individual
complaint mechanisms. Yet, to date, Japan has not agreed to give individuals within
its jurisdiction the right to access these mechanisms. Nonetheless, there has been a
remarkable development of case law in treaty bodies.
The primary purpose of this research is to analyze the case law of individual
complaints under the Optional Protocol of the Womens Convention in order to assess
   
of this paper is composed of five parts including Introduction and Conclu sion. Pa rt
two will give a brief history of Japans
Convention, and outline the shortcomings of these reforms as identified by the
Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
2
(hereinafter the
CEDAW Committee or the Committee). Part three will examine Japanese case law
invoking the Womens Convention, and observe its limited impact as well as the
negative attitude of the Japanese judiciary towards international human rights law.
Part four will analyze the case law of individual complaints under the Optional
Protocol of the Womens Convention, and contrasts it with the jurisprudence of Japanese
courts. Finally, the author will propose, as a means of enhancing the implementation
of the Convention, the establishment of a stronger link between the CEDAW
Committee and UN Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women
(hereinafter UN Women).
3
1 The followings are the nine conventions: the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966); the
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966); the International Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (1965); the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination against Women (1979); the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading
Treatment or Punishment (1984); the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989); the International Convention on
the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (1998); the Convention on the
Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006); and the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from
Enforced Disappearance (2006).
2 CEDAW is a treaty body established pursuant to Article 18 of the Women’s Convention to monitor State parties’
implementation of their treaty obligations under the Convention.
3 G.A. Res. 64/289, U.N. Doc. A/RES/64/289 (July 21, 2010), available at http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/
GEN/N09/479/17/PDF/N0947917.pdf?OpenElement (last visited on Sept. 20, 2013).

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