- Location of case in SG report
- Relevant SG report
- Year of the report
- From Country
- Country Geolocation
- Country Geolocation (linked Cases)
- From Region
- UN body that raised the case prior to the SG report
- UN Special Procedures: Thematic
- Dates of prior UN action
- 30 May 2016
- Type of record
- Named individual
- Was the victim a foreign national?
- Was the victim a minor?
- Individual's/organization's activity
Secretary General of Human Rights Now
- Type of rights defended
- Civil/political rights
- Was the victim a civil servant, member of the security forces or of the judiciary?
- Reported trigger of reprisal
facilitating contact between the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression and civil society during his visit to Japan, from 12 to 19 April 2016
- Engagement with UN body
- UN General Assembly: CSW
- UN Special Procedures: thematic
- Dates of engagement
- from 12 to 19 April 2016
- Type of attempted engagement
- Meeting with UN officials during country visit / with locally present UN officials
- Dates of mentioned reprisals
- December 2015; 11 April 2016
- Reprisal information
On 20 May 2016, FACTA magazine published information received through a leaked memorandum, according to which the Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary “ordered intelligence community members, such as the Cabinet’s information research section”, to surveil Ms. Ito’s movements ahead of the Special Rapporteur’s visit. The memorandum reportedly also mentioned that Ms. Ito had asked the Special Rapporteur to visit the country in December 2015 and that she met the Special Rapporteur on 11 April 2016, the day he arrived in Tokyo. After learning about the existence of the memorandum, Ms. Ito contacted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs requesting information on her alleged surveillance, however, no formal response was provided at that time (ibid.).
- Types of reprisals suffered
- Alleged/likely perpetrators
- State actors
- Was the reprisal based on new legislation?
- Does the report make general comment about country’s environment for engagement with UN?
- Government response dates
- 16 June 2016
- Government response content
Government of Japan denied the validity of the allegations stating that they were based on groundless rumours as FACTA magazine had not requested interviews nor confirmation of the allegations from the offices or individuals mentioned in their publication. Moreover, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had requested the relevant ministries and agencies to conduct an investigation into the allegations, which had confirmed that no instructions for surveillance of Ms. Ito had been issued. The Government also informed mandate holders that a response was sent to Ms. Ito on 1 June 2016 (ibid.).
- Is the country cited for a "pattern of reprisal" in the context of this case?
- Is a pattern of reprisals mentioned otherwise in the context of this case?
- Does the report cite "self-censorship" as an issue in the context of this case?
- How many times has the case been followed up in subsequent SG reports?
- In which SG report was this case followed up on? 0
- Follow up information provided in SG report 0
30.In the 2016 report of the Secretary-General (see A/HRC/33/19, para. 25), reference was made to an urgent appeal to the Government by three special procedures mandate holders on 30 May 2016 alleging the monitoring and surveillance of Ms. Kazuko Ito, of non-governmental organisation Human Rights Now. Ms Ito had facilitated and organised meetings for Mr. David Kaye, the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, with representatives of civil society during his visit to Japan in April 2016 (see A/HRC/34/52/Add. 1, paras. 399 and 400; JPN 4/2016). These allegations stemmed from a magazine that reported information obtained through a leaked memo allegedly produced by Japanese intelligence agency members ordering the surveillance of Ms. Ito’s movements ahead of the Special Rapporteur’s visit to Japan. They expressed concern that the allegations of surveillance of Ms. Ito could be an act of intimidation and reprisal for her cooperation with the United Nations.Human Rights Now has been cooperating with the United Nations mechanisms since 2013, including the universal periodic review and the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). 31.The 2017 report noted the Government’s response of 16 June 2016 that, the allegations were investigated by the Public Security Intelligence Agency and the National Police Agency, who each confirmed that they “had neither received such instructions nor conducted such research activities as were reported by the media” (see A/HRC/36/31, Annex, para. 5). 32.In May 2018 it was reported that Ms. Ito and Human Rights Now continue to be targeted due to their cooperation with the United Nations.On 9 March 2018, during a videotaped session of the House of Representatives Committee on Cabinet, a member of the Diet and Liberal Democratic Party addressed government representatives where she characterized Human Rights Now as “(a)n organization that makes use of the United Nations and other [international forums] to spread around the world the fabricated information that the “comfort women” of the Japanese army were sex slaves, and does that with lots of enthusiasm; that’s what Human Rights Now is.”Human Rights Now had organised a side event on “comfort women” at the Commission on the Status of Women.The Diet member also reportedly requested the Diet to “control NGOs’ international forms of speech” in their collaborative activities with the United Nations and said, “it is obvious that there are people trying to use propaganda to discredit Japan,” which was reiterated on social media.Human Rights Now sent two letters to the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Cabinet and to the Liberal Democratic Party on 27 March 2018 regarding these allegations. The Government of Japan responded on 15 August 2018 that “it asked both the Liberal Democratic Party and the Secretariat of the House of Representatives about the letters mentioned. The Liberal Democratic Party replied that it cannot confirm if it received the letter because it has no information on which department of the Party the letter was addressed to. The Secretariat of the House of Representatives replied that the chairman has not responded to the letter from that organization.”
- Followup Trends 0
- Deterioration/further reprisals
- Did the government respond? 0
- In which SG report was this case followed up on? 1
- Follow up information provided in SG report 1
5.In the report on cooperation with the United Nations, its representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights (A/HRC/33/19, para.25), reference was made to allegations of reprisals against Kazuko Ito. The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, in his report on observations on communications, referred to the substantive response of the Government of Japan to the communication dated 30 May 2016 regarding allegations of surveillance of Ms. Ito, who had facilitated and organised meetings of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression with representatives of civil society during his official country visit to Japan in April 2016 (see A/HRC/34/52/Add.1, paras.399 and 400). These allegations stemmed from a magazine that reported information received through a leaked memo, allegedly produced by Japanese intelligence agency members, ordering the surveillance of Ms. Ito’s movements ahead of the Special Rapporteur’s visit to Japan. According to the Government’s response, following Ms. Ito’s inquiry and the communication sent from special procedures, the allegations were investigated and both the Public Security Intelligence Agency (PSIA) and the National Police Agency confirmed that they “had neither received such instructions nor conducted such research activities as were reported by the media.”
- Followup Trends 1
- No substantive information provided by SG report
- Date of follow up 1
- 20 February 2017
- Did the government respond? 1
- Was this case followed up by a UN body? 1
- UN Special Procedures: Thematic