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HOME  > Past issues  > 2023 December 20 - 2024 January 9  > Gov’t gives no view regarding global move to make apologies to indigenous peoples
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2023 December 20 - 2024 January 9 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Gov’t gives no view regarding global move to make apologies to indigenous peoples

December 26, 2023
The Kishida Cabinet on December 22 refused to give its view regarding the global move to make public apologies to indigenous peoples. This was shown in its written reply to a written inquiry submitted by Japanese Communist Party member of the House of Councilors Kami Tomoko.

Kami in her inquiry referred to the fact that in reaction to the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2007, the heads of Mexico and Denmark offered their apologies to indigenous peoples, respectively, and that Australia decided to compensate Indigenous Australians for damages caused by the nation’s forced assimilation policy.

Kami asked the government’s view regarding the global spread of apologies to indigenous peoples. The government in its written reply refused to give an answer on the grounds that making an apology is a “matter relating to the internal affairs of countries concerned.”

The Japanese government has yet to admit that it had imposed on Ainu indigenous people assimilation and relocation policies and expropriated their natural resources.

Kami in her document demanded that the government introduce a system that enables Ainu people and their organizations to be engaged in discussions on a revision of the Ainu Promotion Act which is slated from May 2024. The government in reply said, “We will consider it.”

When the law was established in 2019, the House of Councilors adopted a supplementary resolution which calls on the government to “take effective and concrete measures to eliminate unfair and discriminatory speech and behavior.”

In this regard, Kami in her written inquiry asked what measures the government has taken to deal with frequently-occurring discriminatory speech, behavior, and online postings. The government’s written answer states, “Necessary measures, such as educational activities, human rights promotion activities, and human rights counseling services, have been implemented in collaboration with relevant ministries and agencies.”

Kami noted that elderly Ainu people do not receive pension benefits and asked whether the government has conducted a survey of the living conditions of Ainu people based on the 2019 Ainu Promotion Act. The government in its written reply only stated that Hokkaido in September launched a survey program.

With the government written reply, it has come to light that 316 persons and 62 boxes of Ainu ancestral remains exist at national universities and museums.

Past related articles:
> About 45% of Ainu indigenous people earn less than 3 million yen a year [December 26, 2022]
> Government should apologize for its horrendous Ainu policies: JCP Shiokawa [April 11, 2019]
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