Human Rights Protection
Activities of the Human Rights Organs of the Ministry of Justice
May 2005
Human Rights Bureau, Ministry of Justice

Index
1. The Human Rights Organs of the Ministry of Justice
(1) The Human Rights Bureau of the Ministry of Justice and Related Agencies
(2) Human Rights Volunteers
2. Activities of the Human Rights Organs of the Ministry of Justice
(1) Human Rights Promotion
(2) Human Rights Counseling
     Human Rights Counseling Offices for Foreigners
(3) Human Rights Infringement Cases
<Reference> New Human Rights Protection System
3. Major Human Rights Problems
(1) Women
(2) Children
(3) Elderly Persons
(4) Persons with Disabilities
(5) Dowa Issues
(6) Ainu People
(7) Foreign Nationals
(8) HIV Carriers, Hansen's Disease Patients
(9) Persons Released from Prison after Serving Their Sentence
(10) Crime Victims
(11) Human Rights Infringements via the Internet
(12) Homeless
(13) Sexual Preferences
(14) Persons with Gender Identity Disorder
<Reference> UN Decade for Human Rights Education
<Reference> The Basic Plan for Human Rights Education and Encouragement

1. The Human Rights Organs of the Ministry of Justice

The Human Rights Organs of the Ministry of Justice consist of the Human Rights Bureau of the Ministry of Justice, related agencies, and human rights volunteers.

(1) The Human Rights Bureau of the Ministry of Justice and Related Agencies

The national administrative agencies in charge of the nation's human rights protection activities are the Human Rights Bureau of the Ministry of Justice, and as related agencies the 8 Human Rights Departments of the Legal Affairs Bureaus and the 42 Human Rights Divisions of the District Legal Affairs Bureaus all conducting human rights protection activities. In addition, 287 branch bureaus as related agencies of the legal affairs bureaus are also carrying out the work of human rights protection.

(2) Human Rights Volunteers

Human rights volunteers are private citizens appointed by the Minister of Justice. This system was established based on the concept that people in various fields should work to encourage respect for human rights, make efforts to avoid infringements of the rights of residents, and protect human rights in the local community. This system is unparalleled in any other country.

At present, about 14,000 volunteers have been posted in each municipality of cities, towns, and villages (wards in Tokyo) across the country, and carry out assertive activities such as awareness-raising for the residents of the area encouraging interest in human rights by holding lectures and discussions, or human rights counseling for the residents held at human rights counseling offices of legal affairs bureaus and public facilities, including city offices and department stores. Volunteers for children's rights protection, who exclusively deal with problems affecting children's rights such as bullying, corporal punishment and child abuse, and volunteers for human rights conciliation who try to amicably settle human rights infringements in order to help the victims, are appointed from among human rights volunteers.

In addition, human rights volunteers are carrying out activities with organizations such as the National Association of Consultative Assemblies of Human Rights Volunteers, each prefecture's Association of Human Rights Volunteers, of which there are 50, and the 339 Human Rights Volunteer Councils.

(Note) Human Rights Volunteers' Day

The National Association of Consultative Assemblies of Human Rights Volunteers has set June 1 as “Human Rights Volunteers' Day” to commemorate the day the Human Rights Volunteer Law was enforced (Jun. 1, 1949), and on this anniversary Nationwide Human Rights Volunteers' Day Special Counseling Offices are opened and activities to promote human rights are carried out for local residents.