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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 April 24 - May 7  > Children’s Day reminds gov’t of its responsibility to promote value of UN Convention on Rights of Child
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2019 April 24 - May 7 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Children’s Day reminds gov’t of its responsibility to promote value of UN Convention on Rights of Child

May 5, 2019
Akahata editorial (excerpts)

May 5 in Japan is Children’s Day. This day was declared as a national holiday 71 years ago with the aim of respecting children as individuals and promoting their happiness. This year marks 30 years since the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted in 1989 and 25 years since the convention was ratified by Japan in 1994. The need is to create a Japan where all children’s human rights are fully protected in line with the ideas of Children’s Day and by utilizing the UN convention.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child was drawn up based on the principle that all children should be treated as individuals having human rights and that they should be entitled to receive support necessary for their full growth and development. Article 3 of the Convention stipulates that “the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration” in all actions concerning children. The philosophy behind this provision corresponds with what Children’s Day is intended to represent.

Under the Abe government, however, growing poverty and widening social gaps are threatening children’s wellbeing. Currently, one in seven children in Japan are living below the poverty line. It is reported that many children go to elementary school without breakfast and that many high school students have to work part-time in order to help support their families. The government should fulfill its responsibility to ensure these youngsters that their rights to education and to wholesome and cultured living are met.

On the other hand, movements by parents and concerned citizens and efforts made by the Japanese Communist Party have brought about some positive changes. More and more municipalities offer free medical care for children, provide advance payments of schooling subsidies, and have free school lunch programs. Now is the time to increase efforts to achieve the shared goal of protecting children’s rights.

Past related articles:
> Gov’t should step up efforts to address child poverty problem [July 19, 2017]
> NPO head calls for more public spending to combat child poverty problem [December 1, 2016]
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