Measuring the Change
using prevalence data providing the widest temporal coverage of the most complete and comparable measures available by ICLS standards.
Due to lack of nationally representative child labour data, there is no change to report.
- Child labour: No ILO/UNICEF data
- Human trafficking: Case data available
Human Development Index Score: 0.919 (2019)
Mean School Years: 12.8 years (2019)
Vulnerable Employment: 8.4% (2018)
Working Poverty Rate: No data available
International Aid Commitments
Total Development Assistance to Anti-Slavery (2000-2013):
- ILO Protocol of 2014 to the Forced Labour Convention, P029: Not Ratified
- ILO Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, C182: Ratified 2001
- UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (Palermo Protocol): Acceptance 2017
Social Protection Coverage
General (at least one): 75.4% (2016)
Unemployed: 20.0% (2014)
Pension: 100% (2014)
Vulnerable: No data
Children: No data
Disabled: 55.7% (2016)
Poor: No data
Measurement of child labour prevalence has evolved considerably over the past two decades. Estimates of child labour incidence are more robust and exist for more countries than any other form of exploitation falling under SDG Target 8.7.
Youth employment in Japan is permitted only to those ages 15 and up, and is regulated by the Labour Standards Act. There is no data available on child labour in Japan, most likely due to relatively low incidence.
The challenges in estimating human trafficking are similar to those of estimating forced labour, though recent innovations in estimation have begun to produce prevalence estimates in developed countries.
All the acts that fall under the definition of trafficking in persons laid out in the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children are considered as criminal offenses in Japan since 2005 when the revisions were made to the Penal Code to codify the acts that were previously not punishable under domestic laws (such as Crime of Buying or Selling of Human Beings).
On June 15, 2017, the Act for Partial Revision of the Act on Punishment of Organized Crimes and Control of Crime Proceeds, etc., an implementing legislation for the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (hereinafter referred to as the “Convention against Transnational Organized Crime”), was passed in the 193rd Diet session, and the Act was enforced on July 11, 2017. Consequently, on that day, Japan concluded the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime as well as two of its supplementary protocols including the Trafficking in Persons Protocol., and thus became a State party to the Convention and the Trafficking in Persons Protocol, etc.
The Japanese government has worked closely with the relevant ministries and agencies and promptly and steadily implemented measures in coordination with the international community in order to prevent and eradicate human trafficking and protect the victims, based on its “2014 Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in Persons.”
With the “Council for the Promotion of Measures to Combat Trafficking in Persons” comprising Cabinet Ministers of relevant ministries at the core of these efforts, the relevant ministries and agencies have been taking respective measures according to their own jurisdictions to eliminate human trafficking.
Key aspects of human development, such as poverty and lack of education, are found to be associated with risk of exploitation. Policies that address these issues may indirectly contribute to getting us closer to achieving Target 8.7.
Human Development Index (Source: UNDP)
The Human Development Index (HDI) is a summary measure of achievements in three key dimensions of human development: (1) a long and healthy life; (2) access to knowledge; and (3) a decent standard of living. Human development can factor into issues of severe labour exploitation in multiple ways.
The chart displays information on human development in Japan between 1990 and 2019. Only certain sample years have data disaggregated by sex.
The most recent year of the HDI, 2019, shows that the average human development score in Japan is 0.919. This score indicates that human development is very high.
HDI Education Index (Source: UNDP)
Lack of education and illiteracy are key factors that make both children and adults more vulnerable to exploitive labour conditions.
As the seminal ILO report Profits and Poverty explains:
“Adults with low education levels and children whose parents are not educated are at higher risk of forced labour. Low education levels and illiteracy reduce employment options for workers and often force them to accept work under poor conditions. Furthermore, individuals who can read contracts may be in a better position to recognize situations that could lead to exploitation and coercion.”
The bars on the chart represent the Education Index score and the line traces the mean years of education in Japan over time.
Decent work, a major component of SDG 8 overall, has clear implications on the forms of exploitation within Target 8.7. Identifying shortcomings in the availability of equitable, safe and stable employment can be a step in the right direction towards achieving Target 8.7.
HDI Vulnerable Employment (Source: UNDP)
There are reasons to believe that certain types of labour and labour arrangements are more likely to lead to labour exploitation. According to the ILO:
“Own-account workers and contributing family workers have a lower likelihood of having formal work arrangements, and are therefore more likely to lack elements associated with decent employment, such as adequate social security and a voice at work. The two statuses are summed to create a classification of ‘vulnerable employment’, while wage and salaried workers together with employers constitute ‘non-vulnerable employment’.”
Between 1991 and 2018, Japan showed a decrease in the proportion of workers in vulnerable employment as compared to those in secure employment.
Labour Productivity (Source: ILO)
“Labour productivity is an important economic indicator that is closely linked to economic growth, competitiveness, and living standards within an economy.” However, when increased labour output does not produce rising wages, this can point to increasing inequality. As indicated by a recent ILO report (2015), there is a “growing disconnect between wages and productivity growth, in both developed and emerging economies”. The lack of decent work available increases vulnerability to situations of labour exploitation.
Labour productivity represents the total volume of output (measured in terms of Gross Domestic Product, GDP) produced per unit of labour (measured in terms of the number of employed persons) during a given period.
Rates of Non-fatal Occupational Injuries (Source: ILO)
Occupational injury and fatality data can also be crucial in prevention and response efforts.
“Data on occupational injuries are essential for planning preventive measures. For instance, workers in occupations and activities of highest risk can be targeted more effectively for inspection visits, development of regulations and procedures, and also for safety campaigns.”
There are serious gaps in existing data coverage, particularly among groups that may be highly vulnerable to labour exploitation. For example, few countries provide information on injuries disaggregated between migrant and non-migrant workers.
Rates of Fatal Occupational Injuries (Source: ILO)
Data on occupational health and safety may reveal conditions of exploitation, even if exploitation may lead to under-reporting of workplace injuries and safety breaches. At present, the ILO collects data on occupational injuries, both fatal and non-fatal, disaggregating by sex and migrant status.
Research to date suggests that a major factor in vulnerability to labour exploitation is broader social vulnerability, marginalization or exclusion.
Groups Highly Vulnerable to Exploitation (Source: UNHCR)
Creating effective policy to prevent and protect individuals from forced labour, modern slavery, human trafficking and child labour means making sure that all parts of the population are covered, particularly the most vulnerable groups, including migrants.
According to the 2016 Global Estimates of Modern Slavery: “Almost one of every four victims of forced labour were exploited outside their country of residence, which points to the high degree of risk associated with migration in the modern world, particularly for migrant women and children. “
As IOM explains: “Although most migration is voluntary and has a largely positive impact on individuals and societies, migration, particularly irregular migration, can increase vulnerability to human trafficking and exploitation.” UNODC similarly notes that: “The vulnerability to being trafficked is greater among refugees and migrants in large movements, as recognized by Member States in the New York declaration for refugees and migrants of September 2016.”
The chart displays UNHCR’s estimates of persons of concern in Japan.
Underdevelopment influences and is influenced by Target 8.7 forms of exploitation. This suggests an important role for development assistance and programming in addressing these issues.
Yearly ODA Commitments to Anti-Slavery (Data Source: UNU-CPR)
A recent report released by UNU-CPR attempts to size ODA contributions that focus on tackling SDG 8.7 forms of exploitation. Japan committed 23,101,047 USD between 2000 and 2013 on anti-slavery programming. Annual commitments fluctuate, though it is important to note that commitments at any point in time may be dispersed over the course of several years. The chart also depicts the percentage of Japan’s GNI contributed to ODA. It should also be noted that this count does not include non-ODA assistance, domestic expenditure, or the growing flows of charitable giving directed at these concerns. The data source provides information up to 2013.
More current data may show a significant increase in spending on this programming, especially after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015 and the Call to Action in 2017.
ODA Commitments by Form of Exploitation (Data Source: UNU-CPR)
Disaggregating ODA commitments by forms of exploitation using terms listed in each project description can provide a sense of the way aid is being spent on the various issues.
The graph shows that ODA commitments to Target 8.7 issues by Japan between 2000 and 2013 were diverse. Spending was primarily directed towards combatting child soldiering and forced labour. In 2007, there was a spike in spending geared towards child labour. Programming to combat human trafficking has also received attention.
Achieving SDG Target 8.7 will require national governments to take direct action against the forms of exploitation through policy implementation.
“Prohibition of Forced Labour
Article 5. An employer shall not force workers to work against their will by means of physical violence, intimidation, confinement, or any other unfair restraint on the mental or physical freedom of the workers. ”
Article 27. All people shall have the right and the obligation to work. Standards for wages, hours, rest and other working conditions shall be fixed by law. Children shall not be exploited.
An employer shall not employ children until the end of the first 31st of March that occurs on or after the day when they reach the age of 15 years.
2. Notwithstanding the provisions of the preceding paragraph, outside of school hours, children 13 years of age and above may be employed in occupations in enterprises other than those stipulated in items i through v of Annexed Table No. 1, which involve light labor that is not injurious to the health and welfare of the children, with the permission of the relevant government agency. The same shall apply to children under 13 years of age employed in moition picture production and theatrical performance enterprises. ”
“Labour Contracts of Minors
Article 58 The person who has parental authority for, or is the legal guardian of the minor shall not make a labor contract in place of that said minor.
(2) The person who has parental authority for, or is the legal guardian of the minor, or the relevant government agency, may cancel a labor contract prospectively if they consider it disadvantageous to the minor.
Article 59 The minor may request wages independently. The person who has parental authority for, or is the legal guardian of, the minor shall not receive the wages earned by the minor in place of the minor.”
Worst Forms of Child Labour
“Working Hours and Days Off
Article 60 The provisions of Articles 32-2 through 32-5, 36 and 40 shall not apply to minors under 18 years of age.
(2) With respect to the application of the provisions of Article 32 to children employed pursuant to paragraph (2) of Article 56, the phrase “”40 hours per week”” in paragraph (1) of Article 32 shall be read as “”40 hours per week including school hours””, and the phrase “”8 hours per day”” in paragraph (2) of Article 32 shall be read as “”7 hours per day including school hours””.
(3) Notwithstanding the provisions of Article 32, with respect to minors 15 years or more of age and under 18 years of age, until they reach the age of 18 years (excluding the period until the first 31st of March that occurs on or after the day when they reach the age of 15 years) they may be employed in accordance with the following provisions:
(i) In the event that the total working hours in a week does not exceed the working hours stipulated in paragraph (1) of Article 32, and the working hours for any one day of the week has been reduced to no more than 4 hours, the working hours for the other days may be extended to 10 hours;
(ii) For the weekly working hours to be stipulated by the Ordinance of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare which do not exceed 48 hours and for the daily working hours not exceeding 8 hours, an employer may have the workers work in accordance with the provisions of Article 32-2 or Article 32-4 and Article 32-4-2.”
“Article 61 (1) Employers shall not have a person under 18 years of age work between the hours of 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.; provided, however, that this shall not apply to males 16 years or more of age employed on a shift work basis.
(2) In the event that the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare deems it necessary, the Minister may change the hours set forth in the preceding paragraph to the hours of 11 p.m. to 6 a.m., in limited areas or for limited periods.”
“Restrictions on Dangerous and Harmful Jobs
Article 62 (1) Employers shall not allow persons under 18 years of age to clean, oil, inspect or repair the dangerous parts of any machinery or power-transmission apparatus while in operation, to put on or take off the driving belts or ropes of any machinery or power-transmission apparatus while in operation, to operate a crane, or to engage in any other dangerous work as specified by Ordinance of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, or to handle heavy materials as specified by Ordinance of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.
(2) Employers shall not have persons under 18 years of age engage in work involving the handling of poisons, deleterious substances or other injurious substances, or explosive, combustible or inflammable substances, or work in places where dust or powder is dispersed, or harmful gas or radiation is generated, or places of high temperatures or pressure, or other places which are dangerous or injurious to safety health, or welfare.
(3) The scope of the work prescribed in the preceding paragraph shall be provided for by the Ordinance of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.”
Article 63 Employer shall not have persons less than 18 years of age work underground.
National Action Plans, National Strategies
UN Special Procedures
Governments can take action to assist victims and to prevent and end the perpetration of forced labour, modern slavery, human trafficking and child labour. These actions should be considered in wider societal efforts to reduce prevalence and move towards eradication of these forms of exploitation.
Programs and Agencies for Victim Support
Policies for Assistance
Defines the responsibilities of the national authority to promote human rights. Establishes the Human Rights Committee to examine basic measures for the prevention of human rights violations, the promotion of human rights, and rehabilitation of human rights victims.
“Article 3. (Crimes Committed by Japanese Nationals outside Japan)
This Code shall apply to any Japanese national who commits one of the following
crimes outside the territory of Japan:
xi. The crimes proscribed under Articles 224 through 228 (Kidnapping of Minors; Kidnapping for Profit; Kidnapping for Ransom; Kidnapping for Transportation out of a Country; Buying or Selling of Human Beings; Transportation of Kidnapped Persons out of a Country; Delivery of Kidnapped Persons; Attempts);”
Article 225 A person who kidnaps another by force or enticement for the purpose of profit, indecency, marriage or threat to the life or body shall be punished by imprisonment with work for not less than 1 year but not more than 10 years.
“Buying or Selling of Human Beings
1. A person who buys another shall be punished by imprisonment with work for not less than 3 months but not more than 5 years.
2. A person who buys a minor shall be punished by imprisonment with work for not less than 3 months but not more than 7 years.
3. A person who buys another for the purpose of profit, indecency, marriage or threat to the life or body, shall be punished by imprisonment with work for not less than 1 year but not more than 10 years.
4. The preceding paragraph shall apply to a person who sells another.
5. A person who sells or buys another for the purpose of transporting him/her from one country to another country shall be punished by imprisonment with work for not less than 2 years.”
Article 228-2 In cases where a person who has committed the crime prescribed under Article 225-2 or paragraph (2) or (4) of Article 227 releases the kidnapped person in a safe location before being prosecuted, the punishment shall be reduced.
Penalties, Child Labour
1. Any person who has violated the provisions of Article 6, Article 56, Article 63 or Article 64-2 shall be punished by imprisonment with work of not more than one year or by a fine of not more than 500,000 yen.
2. Any person who has violated Ordinance of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare issued under the provisions of Article 70 (but limited to those portions of such ordinance related to Article 63 or Article 64-2) shall be punished in accordance with the preceding paragraph.”
“Article 119. Any person who falls under any of the following items shall be punished by imprisonment with work of not more than 6 months or by a fine of not more than 300,000 yen:
i. A person who has violated the provisions of Article 3, Article 4, Article 7, Article 16, Article 17, paragraph (1) of Article 18, Article 19, Article 20, paragraph (4) of Article 22, Article 32, Article 34, Article 35, the proviso to paragraph (1) of Article 36, Article 37, Article 39, Article 61, Article 62, Articles 64-3 through 67, Article 72, Articles 75 through 77, Article 79, Article 80, paragraph (2) of Article 94, Article 96, or paragraph (2) of Article 104
iv. A person who has violated an Ordinance of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare issued under the provisions of Article 70 (but limited to those portions of such ordinance related to the provisions of Article 62 or Article 64-3).”
“Article 120. Any person who falls under any of the following items shall be punished by a fine of not more than 300,000 yen:
i. A person who has violated the provisions of Article 14, paragraph (1) or (3) of Article 15, paragraph (7) of Article 18, paragraphs (1) through (3) of Article 22, Articles 23 through 27, paragraph (2) of Article 32-2 (including cases where it is applied mutatis mutandis pursuant to paragraph (4) of Article 32-4 and paragraph (3) of Article 32-5), paragraph (2) of Article 32-5, the proviso to paragraph (1) of Article 33, paragraph (3) of Article 38-2 (including the cases where it is applied mutatis mutandis pursuant to paragraph (2) of Article 38-3), Articles 57 through 59, Article 64, Article 68, Article 89, paragraph (1) of Article 90, Article 91, paragraph (1) or (2) of Article 95, paragraph (1) of Article 96-2, Article 105 (including the cases where it is applied mutatis mutandis pursuant to paragraph (3) of Article 100), or Articles 106 through 109;”
1.ii. Take steps to measure, monitor and share data on prevalence and response to all such forms of exploitation, as appropriate to national circumstances;
Measures to address the drivers of vulnerability to exploitation can be key to effective prevention. A broad range of social protections are thought to reduce the likelihood that an individual will be at risk of exploitation, especially when coverage of those protections extends to the most vulnerable groups.
Social Protection Coverage: General (at Least One)
Social Protection (Source: ILO)
The seminal ILO paper on the economics of forced labour, Profits and Poverty, explains the hypothesis that social protection can mitigate the risks that arise when a household is vulnerable to sudden income shocks, helping to prevent labour exploitation. It also suggests that access to education and skills training can enhance the bargaining power of workers and prevent children in particular from becoming victims of forced labour. Measures to promote social inclusion and address discrimination against women and girls may also go a long way towards preventing forced labour.
If a country does not appear on a chart, this indicates that there is no recent data available for the particular social protection visualized.
Social Protection Coverage: Pension
Social Protection Coverage: Vulnerable Groups
Social Protection Coverage: Poor
Social Protection Coverage: Children
Social Protection Coverage: Disabled
Based on the Official Response from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, the Dashboard for Japan has been revised as follows:
- Data and visualization of human trafficking were removed.
- Ministry for Gender Equality was removed from Programs and Agencies for Enforcement Table.