Release on the Results from the Questionnaire Survey on the Status of Efforts on Human Rights in the Supply Chains of Japanese Companies
November 30, 2021
Working jointly with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) has conducted a Questionnaire Survey on the Status of Efforts on Human Rights in the Supply Chains of Japanese Companies. The survey is the first survey that the government has conducted on the situation regarding Japanese companies' businesses and human rights initiatives.
In the National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights formulated in October last year, the government indicated that it expects Japanese companies to implement "human rights due diligence", regardless of company characteristics such as industry and size. The purpose of this survey is to ascertain the situation regarding corporate initiatives on business and human rights as a follow-up step to that action plan.
1. Survey background
Since the UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution supporting the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (hereinafter, "Guiding Principles") in 2011, countries have been implementing various policies to encourage their companies to respect human rights. Against this background, companies involved in global supply chains have not only begun to comply with the laws and regulations in the countries they do business in, but also to be assessed in light of international standards. Companies' clients and investors are now requiring companies to implement human rights due diligence (HRDD),* and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has also developed due diligence guidance, as well as industry-specific guidance.
Based on the Guiding Principles, the Japanese government formulated the National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights (NAP) in October 2020 in order to promote corporate initiatives on business and human rights, and to indicate that it expects Japanese companies to implement human rights due diligence. The NAP also mentions that the government will follow up on the situation regarding such corporate initiatives.
Based on the above, the government decided to conduct a survey to ascertain the actual situation and issues surrounding human rights due diligence and other human rights-related company initiatives, in order to consider future policy measures.
2. Analysis details and process for the survey
(1) Survey period:
September 3 to October 14, 2021
(2) Survey target:
Companies listed in the First and Second Sections of the Tokyo Stock Exchange as of the end of August 2021, etc.
(3) Number of target companies:
(4) Number of companies that responded:
3. Survey results (Excerpt)
(1) Companies that have formulated a human rights policy:
Question: Have they formulated a specific policy on respecting human rights, or clearly stipulated it in their company policies, management principles and strategies, etc.?
(2) Companies that are conducting HRDD:52% (392)
Question: Are they conducting HRDD?
For more information on the survey results, please refer to the following document:
- Results from the Survey on the Status of Efforts on Human Rights in the Supply Chains of Japanese Companies (in Japanese) (PDF:1,753KB)
4. For the future
In addition to the issues and needs revealed by the survey, the government will ascertain the trends regarding the major countries' laws and ordinances and how discussions are progressing in international forums. Based on that assessment, it will examine what kinds of policy measures will be necessary to promote Japanese companies' business and human rights initiatives. As part of that process, it will report to stakeholders and experts through various forums such as the Roundtable for Promoting the National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights.
Working closely with relevant ministries and agencies, METI will also examine (among other matters) how to cooperate internationally toward improving the predictability of each country's measures, so that companies can actively address respecting human rights on a level playing field.
Division in Charge
Business and Human Rights Policy Office, Minister's Secretariat