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ERIC Number: ED532777
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Jan-14
Pages: 7
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 22
Observations on the State of Indigenous Human Rights in Light of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: Japan
Cultural Survival
Over the past 20 years, Japan has taken legislative and symbolic steps to recognize the Ainu as an indigenous people and to eliminate state-sanctioned racial discrimination. But the Ainu still experience discrimination from other sectors of society as a result of Japan's mono-cultural national identity, and the lack of judicial remedies to respond to discrimination. Ainu children face discrimination in school, which has lead to high drop-out rates and limited job opportunities. Despite new laws to protect Ainu culture, the government has not followed through with appropriate implementation. Today, the Ainu possess only ten percent of their ancestral lands, and are greatly limited in their capacity to engage in traditional occupations. The government has pledged to protect the Ainu language but has not incorporated it into the educational curriculum for Ainu children. Because Japan's political system does not provide mechanisms for minority representation, the Ainu lack parliamentary representation. Japan needs to take proactive steps to ensure that the Ainu can retain their culture while participating in the political life of the country. Those steps should include educating all Japanese to respect the Ainu; strengthening laws to combat discrimination; ensuring that Ainu have political representation; and taking meaningful action to redress past abuse and discrimination.
Cultural Survival. 215 Prospect Street, Cambridge, MA 02139. Tel: 617-441-5400; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Cultural Survival, Cambridge, MA.
Identifiers - Location: Japan
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child