Statement by Mr. Hideo MAKUTA, Director, Criminal Affairs Department, Supreme Public Prosecutors Office, at the 21st Session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, on Agenda Item 4: Thematic discussion on the theme ”Violence against migrants, migrant workers and their families”

Thank you, Madam Chairperson.

It is my great pleasure to be part of this international forum of great importance for criminal justice policy of all countries.

The main theme of this Commission is "violence against migrants, migrant workers and their families".

The number of registered aliens in Japan was around two point zero eight million, which was equivalent to approximately one point six percent (1.6%) of the total population in Japan. Also, it is estimated that there are approximately seventy thousand of illegal residents that do not register themselves in Japan. These figures somewhat represent the current size of migrants in Japan, which I imagine, is relatively small in comparison with those of the population and economy of Japan.

This relatively small number of migrants / may be / due to several factors including: Japan is an island country surrounded by sea; and the Japanese Government takes the policy of not accepting unskilled workers.

As a matter of fact, in Japan, we have yet to encounter such major issues like conflicts between migrants and the Japanese citizen.

At the same time, this does not necessarily mean that there is no "violence against migrants" at all in Japan.  The issue of "Violence against migrants" is an important issue for Japan. I believe that the highest priority should be given in every country on the clear recognition of the significance of this issue.

"Violence against migrants" includes not only physical violence but also sexual exploitation, labor exploitation and psychological violence. "Violence against migrants" manifests the intolerance of society. We therefore should deal it in light of a wider goal, that is how to realize a sound society.

In this sense, in case where a migrant has been physically abused, the solution is relatively simple for prosecutors such as myself. We would pursue appropriate punishment regardless of victim's nationality nor their social status. With this in mind, Japan does not have criminal laws specifically targeting violence against migrants.

On the other hand, with respect to sexual and labor exploitation of migrants, the problem is much more complicated. If the violence were to take place in the form of exploitation especially by taking advantage of the weak status of an illegal migrant, detection of such crime would be highly difficult.

If victims in such cases were to return to their home countries, they will be hunted for repayment. In addition, they neither speak Japanese nor have sufficient knowledge of the Japanese criminal justice system and appropriate Japanese authorities in charge of providing relief for victims. Moreover, because they themselves are in violation of the Japanese immigration law, these victims are reluctant to report their victimization to law enforcement agencies.

The Japanese authorities are making every effort to create a comfortable atmosphere for the victims to make reports. For example, we assign officers capable of communicating in victims' mother tongue to be the contact person of victim consultations. More importantly, law enforcement agencies are always on duty to identify victims of such crimes.

One of the typical cases where the victims are reluctant to report is a case of trafficking in persons.

In 2004, the Japanese Government has established an Inter agency council for fighting trafficking in persons. This council has formulated and continues to implement an Action Plan which includes measures for protecting trafficking victims.

Madam Chairperson,

Now, let me refer to two new directions of our policy regarding migrants.

The first is about combating new trend in trafficking in persons.  Recently in Japan, trafficking techniques are becoming more and more sophisticated and difficult to identify. For example, brokers have trafficking victims engage in faked marriages to obtain residential status that places no restriction to work. It is our important task to combat such illegal cases.

The second relates to approaching the issue from a wider prospective and regulating the environment which generates violence.

Japan accepts foreign trainees and technical interns. In the past, however, in some incidents, trainees or interns would be forced to work under extremely low wages and poor working conditions by being categorised as non-workers. Therefore, in two thousand nine (2009), we amended our related law so that provisions of labour protection are fully applicable to foreign trainees and technical interns

Madam Chairperson,

The coordination and cooperation between States are important in this field. From this viewpoint, I would like to introduce the efforts of UNAFEI, the United Nations Asia and Far East Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders.

 UNAFEI is an international training and research institute, run under the joint auspices of the UN and the Government of Japan.

January this year, UNAFEI held an international seminar on trafficking in persons. UNAFEI will be holding a similar international seminar this summer as well.

 This year marks the 50th Anniversary of UNAFEI's foundation.  As we have done for the last half century, let me assure you of Japan's continued contribution to the UN Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme through the activities of UNAFEI.

Japan will continue to commit combating "Violence against migrants". I would like to conclude by stressing that we are ready to offer any help to other States searching for this common goal.

I thank you all for your attention.
The Practical Export Control Workshop was hosted by the Wassenaar Arrangement as part of its 20th Anniversary programs and held at the Permanent Mission of Japan to the International Organizations in Vienna on 27 and 28 June 2016. More than 100 government representatives from 46 countries participated in the technically focused Practical Workshop.
Workshop speakers included the 2016 WA Plenary Chair Ambassador Anu Laamanen (Finland), 2016 WA General Working Group Chair Ambassador Paul Beijer (Sweden), 2015-2016 WA Experts Group Chair Robertas Rosinas (Lithuania), 2016 WA Licensing and Enforcement Officers Meeting Chair Jon Erik Strömö (Norway), as well as the Head of the WA Secretariat, Ambassador Philip Griffiths. The WA control lists as well as export licensing and enforcement topics were covered during the two days.
The following link from WA’s webpage contains more details: