HRN Delivered Oral Statements on Fukushima and Okinawa at the 33rd session of Human Rights Council

Human Rights Now, a Tokyo based international human rights NGO in special consultative status with the ECOSOC, delivered the oral statements on “The Human Rights Situation of People Affected by the Fukushima Nuclear Accident and “Forcible Removal of Okinawans Protesting the Construction of US Military Facilities and their Indigenous Land and Participation Rights” at the 33rd session of the Human Rights Council, which is being held during the period of September 13-30, 2016.

Whole text can be read or downloaded below:

33rd-hrc-oral-statement-on-fukushima [PDF]

33rd-hrc-oral-statement-on-okinawa [PDF]

Also, you can watch the scene of our oral interventions at:




During the session, the government of Japan made remarks responding to our oral statement on Okinawa.

The transcription of the Japanese government remarks can be read or downloaded below:

20160916-jpn-governments-response-in-general-debate [PDF]

September 15, 2016

33rd Human Rights Council
Agenda item 3: Clustered Interactive Dialogue with the Working Group on use of mercenaries and the Special Rapporteur on hazardous substances and wastes

The Human Rights Situation of People Affected by the Fukushima Nuclear Accident

Thank you Mr./Ms. President,

Nearly 150,000 people from Fukushima Prefecture remain displaced by the 2011 nuclear accident, many still in temporary housing. The government announced it will lift evacuation orders for areas under 20 mSv/year by March 2017, without effectively consulting affected people. Compensation payments by TEPCO, the power company responsible for the accident, and the government’s housing support program will both end by March 2018.

This situation pressures evacuees to return to areas with exposures potentially up to 20 mSv/year, higher than the ICRP’s recommended limit of 1 mSv/year for public radiation exposure. Decontamination is not complete, and 6 million bags of contaminated soil remain in temporary sites concentrating radiation near residential areas.

The government has also not established free, periodic, and comprehensive health checks for all affected people, only youth thyroid exams. As of March 2016, 172 children in Fukushima were diagnosed or believed to have thyroid cancer, 57 of them newly diagnosed in the last survey.

Human Rights Now (HRN) calls on the government of Japan to implement the 2013 recommendations by Special Rapporteur Anand Grover to use a 1 mSv/year standard for lifting evacuation orders, and to provide necessary support to residents which evacuate, stay, or return to areas above that standard, and comprehensive and long-term health checkups for residents of such areas.

HRN also requests that the Human Rights Council monitor the human rights situation in Fukushima and that the Special Rapporteur, Baskut Tuncak, conduct an official visit to Japan.

Thank you for your attention.

September 16, 2016

33rd Human Rights Council
Agenda item 3: General debate (including on Report of WG on the right to development and on HC/OHCHR/SG thematic reports)

Forcible Removal of Okinawans Protesting the Construction of US Military Facilities and their Indigenous Land and Participation Rights

Thank you Mr./Ms. President,

Human Rights Now expresses grave concern over the ongoing human rights violations in Okinawa, Japan in the course of constructions of the US military facilities.

In Okinawa, southernmost part of Japan, there are 34 US military facilities covering 10% of its area. The United States and Japan plan to build another base in the seaside area of Henoko and six large helicopter landing pads in Takae, two of which have already been built, despite its abundant forest and wildlife.
Peaceful protests against the construction are currently occurring in surrounding neighbourhoods.

The government of Japan has dispatched riot police and violently removed both protesters and journalists with excessive uses of force. Currently500 to 700 riot police currently surround Takae, with a population of about 160 and continue forcibly removing protesters and journalists.
The excessive use of force constitutes grave violations of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and the right to press.

The government actions in Henoko and Takae also constitues a violation of the rights of Ryukyu/Okinawa’s indigenous people. The constructions will cause devastating impact to the environment of the surrounding lands and oceans, and lives of the indigenous people.
However, the government violently enforces the construction without free prior, informed consent of the indigenous populations.
We calls on the Japanese government to immediately cease excessive use of force of protesters and journalist in Okinawa and ensure their rights to assembly and expression.
We call on the United States and Japanese government to respect indigenous rights of Ryukyu/Okinawa people and their rights to traditional land and natural resources.
We urge US and Japanese governments to solve the problem in accordance with the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, particularly article 19’s principle of free, prior and informed consent.

Thank you.

Transcription of the Japanese government remarks regarding Human Rights Now’s oral statement on Okinawa

Thank you, Mr. President.

A statement was made that may cause misunderstanding regarding the government of Japan’s measures. For a more accurate understanding of the situation, I would like to make a brief explanation.

The construction works at Henoko and Takae of Okinawa are measures by the government of Japan for the mitigation of impact on Okinawa. The construction of the Futenma replacement facility has been carried out based on the land field permit given by the then governor of Okinawa. And with the regards to the return of the Northern Training Area which is the purpose of the construction work at Takae, the government has received a request from the local governments for an early return of the land in order to develop the area.

Japan is the country ruled by law and thus the construction works are also being carried out in accordance with laws and regulations. The government of Japan fully guarantees freedom of expression. With regards to the construction works in Okinawa, the government does not impose any unjust restrictions on freedom of expression.

However, in the case that a person enters off limits area, obstructs traffic, or conduct actions that pose risk to themselves and/or others, the government has a will to continue to take appropriate measures in accordance with laws and regulations.

Thank you very much.