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From Our Member Human Rights Now, Japan – What Japanese companies should do now in order to be complicit in the war of aggression against Ukraine

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“What Japanese companies should do now in order to not be complicit in the war of aggression against Ukraine. What we should ask of Japanese companies and the Japanese government now.”

Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine began in February last year. Not a day goes by without hearing news related to it, and the number of civilian casualties continues to rise. As of 9 January 2023, 6,952 people have died (including 431 children), and 7,967,409 Ukrainian refugees are residing in Europe. Also, Russian citizens who speak out against the war continue to be persecuted. While there is no sign of an end in sight, there are concerns that the number of victims will continue to increase.

What can we do about this dire situation? One approach is to raise our voices towards Japan-based companies that they not be complicit in war crimes and serious human rights abuses in Ukraine, that they rigorously verify whether or not there are any risks of complicity in human rights abuses through their business activities in Russia, and, if the results of their investigation show human rights risks that cannot be addressed, that they seek to withdraw responsibly.

In today’s world, there is a strong demand for companies to address human rights under the framework of “Business and Human Rights”. Companies have a responsibility to respect human rights in accordance with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and they are required to identify and mitigate human rights risks in their supply chains, as well as to remedy human rights violations. They are also required to conduct “heightened” human rights due diligence especially for business activities in Russia, a country to the dispute.

In Japan as well, the “Guidelines on Respecting Human Rights in Responsible Supply Chains”, which was announced by the government in September 2022, state that heightened human rights due diligence should be implemented in areas affected by conflicts, etc.

Given these international frameworks and domestic guidelines, are Japanese companies that are operating in Russia conducting heightened human rights due diligence? How many Japanese companies have withdrawn from Russia so far? What are the reasons for allegations that Japanese companies have not yet withdrawn their business? Is it fine if Japan does not have a law that requires companies to conduct human rights due diligence?

This webinar organized jointly with the Business for Ukraine coalition (B4Ukraine), aims to encourage companies to actively engage in “responsible withdrawal” based on respect for human rights. B4Ukraine is an international civil society initiative calling on companies to responsibly withdraw from the Russian market.

In the webinar, we will report on the current status of human rights violations in Ukraine, introduce the efforts of B4Ukraine, and report on examples of responsible withdrawal by overseas companies, as well as the status of responses by Japanese companies. Please join us to help stop this greatest human rights violation of war.

Overview of the Event

  • Date and time: Tuesday, 31 January 2023, 18:00-19:30 Japan time
  • Virtual Venue: Online (ZOOM webinar)
  • Language: Japanese/English (simultaneous interpretation available)
  •  Participation fee/capacity: Free for the first 480 people
  • Application Details: Please pre-register from this application form.
    *Application deadline: 19:00 on Sunday, January 29th. Japan time
    *The URL for participation will be sent to the registered email address.
  • Contact: info★ (Please change ★ to @.)
  • Sponsor/Co-sponsor: B4Ukraine & Human Rights Now