Have human rights problems changed in the last several years? graph of japanese statistics[part 1] [part 2] [part 3]

Ahh, this is a survey that is sure to be misconstrued and misquoted in the coming weeks and months. Already I’ve seen a poor summary from Kyodo News on Japan Today, and I’m waiting for the usual suspect to throw in his tuppence-worth on it. I’m talking about a recent survey sponsored by the Cabinet Office Japan on the subject of protecting human rights.


Between the 21st of June and the 1st of July 2007 3,000 people aged 20 or older were randomly selected from the voter rolls. 1,766 people, or 58.9%, were available and chose to take part in the survey conducted by means of face-to-face interviews. 53.3% were female, 8.1% in their twenties, 16.8% in their thirties, 16.3% in their forties, 20.8% in their fifties, 19.8% in their sixties, and 18.1% aged seventy or older.

The key question is, of course, what do Japanese consider human rights? This question is not directly asked, but Q1 sets the scene by mentioning the eternal and inviolate rights from the Constitution of Japan. This document includes basic rights such as the right of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. However, it also includes the right to choose and dismiss public officials and universal adult suffrage (Article 15), a right denied to foreigners, and the freedom to choose one’s occupation (Article 22), another right denied to many visa holders. Therefore, it can clearly be seen that the rights available to all citizens are not all available to resident aliens (and I personally believe that Article 15 and perhaps 22 are acceptable), therefore Q12 is not as bad as it sounds.

Research results

Q1: Do you know that the constitution of Japan guarantees a number of eternal and inviolate human rights? (Sample size=1,766)

Yes 77.8%
No 22.2%

Q2: On television and in newspapers, etc, “human rights problems” and “infringements on human rights” news gets reported. In the last five or six years, do you think the number of cases of human rights infringements has changed? (Sample size=1,766)

Decreased 11.0%
Not really changed 40.3%
Increased 42.0%
Don’t know 6.7%

Q3: Do you think your own human rights have been infringed upon? (Sample size=1,766)

Yes (to SQ) 16.3%
No 83.7%

Q3SQ: Which of the following do you think have been infringed upon? (Sample size=287, multiple answer)

Rumours, others speaking ill of me 47.4%
Infringement on privacy 25.1%
Defamation 20.2%
Public nusances such as foul odours, noise 13.9%
Disciminatory treatment (race, belief, sex, etc) 13.9%
Violence, duress, extortion 13.6%
Unjust handling by police 12.2%
Coercion at work or other unfair treatment 8.0%
Falling out with the local community 7.7%
Sexual harassment 7.7%
Stalking 4.9%
False accusations of crimes, illegal activity 3.5%
Unjust handling at public welfare facilities 3.1%
Stoppage of water, gas, or other home-related issues 1.0%
Other 7.0%
Nothing specific, just feel infringed upon 1.0%
Don’t want to answer 2.4%

This adds up in total to 192.7%, so on average all those who feel infringed have at least two areas where they feel so.

Q4: “On one hand there is the call to respect human rights, but on the other hand the number of people who assert their rights only without thinking of the trouble they cause others is increasing.” How do you think regarding this opinion? (Sample size=1,766)

Strongly think so 34.9%
Think so quite a bit 50.3%
Don’t really think so 11.7%
Don’t think so at all 1.0%
Don’t know 2.2%

Q5: Within Japan, which of the following human rights issues are you concerned about? (Sample size=1,766, multiple answer)

Disabled 44.1%
Old people 40.5%
Children 35.0%
Human rights abuse on the internet 32.7%
North Korean kidnap victims 31.5%
Women 25.0%
Crime victims 24.1%
HIV positive people 18.9%
Hansen’s disease sufferers, ex-sufferers 17.0%
Homeless 16.8%
Dowa issues 15.0%
Ex-convicts 14.9%
Human trafficing 12.5%
Foreigners 12.5%
Trans-gender issues 10.4%
Sexual preferences 9.2%
Ainu 6.2%
Other 0.5%
None in particular 8.6%

The total of the answers is 375.2%, so most people have at least four areas of human rights that they keep their eyes on.

Q6: Regarding women, what sort of human rights problems do you think there are? (Sample size=1,766, multiple answer)

Discriminatory treatment at work 41.7%
Domestic violence 33.2%
Sexual harassment at work 33.1%
Pressure to adopt traditional roles 30.6%
Prostitution 27.2%
Adult video and pornographic magazines 19.0%
Female nudes in magazines and newspapers 17.6%
Adult entertainment business 17.3%
Gratutious scantily-clad women in advertising 14.3%
Sexist terms for women 11.3%
Other 0.4%
None in particular 13.3%
Don’t know 4.5%

Q7: Regarding children, what sort of human rights problems do you think there are? (Sample size=1,766, multiple answer)

Seeing bullying but pretending you didn’t see it 68.0%
Pushing someone out of a group, giving them the silent treatment, direct violence, pestering, and other bullying 62.2%
Domestic violence against children 47.7%
Child sexual exploitation 37.4%
Parents pushing their own opinions over their children regarding school, work selection 28.1%
Corporal punishment at school 16.4%
Other 0.3%
None in particular 4.1%
Don’t know 2.6%

[part 1] [part 2] [part 3]


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.