Update report of the Association of Korean Human Rights in Japan
Chairman Pastor Yoshio Iwamura
List of issues in connection with the 5th periodical report from Japan
Rights of persons belonging to minorities (arts. 24 and 27)
Please provide detailed information on measures taken to ensure adequate opportunities for minority children to receive instruction in or of their language and about their culture, in particular as regards the Korean and Ainu minorities (paras. 378-383 of the report). What measures have been taken towards officially recognizing Korean and other minority schools, making available subsidies to such schools on a non-discriminatory basis, and recognizing their school leaving certificates as university entrance qualifications?
In March of this year, the Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA) demanded adjustments of the ‘wide gap’ in subsidies between ordinary schools for Japanese students and ethnic schools such as Korean schools once again following recommendation submitted 10 years ago. Moreover, it is the fact that Korean schools are obliged to rely heavily on donation because of a subsidy gap. Although reduction and exemption of tax for donors are adopted as far as Japanese private schools or international schools are concerned, there is no preferential treatment to individuals or corporations who donates to Korean schools. The JFBA required the Government of Japan (GOJ) correcting discriminatory measures, as they are obviously ‘regarded as discriminatory treatments’.
In addition, while the GOJ recognizes the eligibility of other foreign schools to apply for admission to universities in Japan, it does not recognize qualifications of those who graduated from Korean schools, and they are individually judged by each university’s decision. The JFBA required correcting such a discriminatory system.
And the JFBA ‘recommended to take proper measures immediately’ to the GOJ saying that such kind of discrimination is a ‘violation of the Right to Lean of those who go or want to go’ Korean schools.
In addition, with regard to the instruction of Vice Minister of Education (1965) which said that ‘Korean schools whose objectives are to cultivate their ethnicity or nationality cannot be recognized to have positive meanings for our society of our country’, the JFBA recommended a decade ago saying that ‘the GOJ should take proper measures to eliminate the violation of human rights and restore damages by withdrawing this instruction’. Although this problem was brought up for discussion of the reports on the GOJ in the previous Human Rights Committee (a decade ago), the GOJ does not withdraw the statement, much less restore damage. As a result, Korean schools are still legally categorized as vocational school like driving school and suffer from above-mentioned discrimination.
Korean schools which were established to restore ethnicity which was deprived during the colonial period and to succeed it to the next generation should be the subject for positive support as shown in General Comment 23 (CCPR/C/21/Rev.1/Add.5, General Comment No. 23) which requires ‘positive measures’ to correct the situation which prevent and damage the enjoyment of the right protected under article 27. However, it is obvious that current situation shows that the GOJ violates not only article 27 but also article 24 and 26.
Reports submitted before taskforce in New York, in March
▩ The government of Japan does not recognize the qualification of Korean school graduates to take entrance examination. As a result, several universities in Japan do not grant them qualification as examinee.
The Report of the Government of Japan refers to broadening of the eligibility of Korean school graduates to apply for admission to universities in Japan. However, this measure in 2003 was intended to admit the qualification to take entrance examination of those who graduated from international schools of the western countries. As this gathered many criticisms from Japanese society, other graduates from foreign schools were also recognized to take entrance examinations.
However, while the government of Japan recognizes the eligibility of other foreign schools to apply for admission to universities in Japan, qualifications of those who graduated from Korean schools are individually judged by each university’s decision. Therefore, some universities do not recognize the qualification of Korean school graduates to take entrance examination. With regard to the qualification of Korean school graduates to take entrance examination, it is true that the government of Japan loosened restrictions. However, their treatments on Korean schools remain unjust and improper.
Korean schools do not receive state subsidy and suffer from discrimination in the taxation system on donation. Korean schools are still legally categorized as vocational school like driving school. Despite the fact that they are socially recognized as schools with the same level of educational contents as average Japanese ones, they receive quite fewer amounts of educational assistance than that of Japanese private ones. The biggest factor should be absence of state subsidy from the government.
Furthermore, despite the fact that preferential treatments in the taxation system on donation to schools (reduction and exemption of tax for donors) are adopted not only to Japanese schools but also to international schools of western countries, this qualification is not granted to Korean schools.
In addition, parents of Korean schools remain being excluded from the object in many scholarship systems.
l Related article: Articles 1, 2, 26, and 27 of the Covenant
Concluding Observations of the Human Rights Committee: Japan, 1998 (CCPR/C/79/Add.102)
13. The Committee is concerned about instances of discrimination against members of the Japanese-Korean minority who are not Japanese citizens, including the non-recognition of Korean schools. The Committee draws the attention of the State party to General Comment No. 23 (1994) which stresses that protection under article 27 may not be restricted to citizens.
The Report of the Japanese Government, Dec. 2006 (CCPR/C/JPN/5)
55. Children of foreign nationals without Japanese nationality can receive all compulsory education at Japanese public schools free of charge if they wish so. If they do not wish to receive Japanese school education, they can receive education at foreign schools such as Korean schools, American schools, German schools, etc.
56. In September 1999, in order to systematically open the way for graduates of international schools, which adopt a different education system from that of Japanese schools, to proceed onto higher education in Japan in accordance with their individual academic abilities, the Government expanded the eligibility of foreigners to take the University Entrance Qualification Examination (from FY2005, the Upper Secondary School Equivalency Examination). In August 1999, the Government broadened the eligibility to apply for admission to graduate schools in Japan; accordingly, those who have been recognized, through each graduate school’s examination of eligibility for applying for admission to graduate schools, as having equal or higher scholastic ability than graduates of universities of Japan, and those who are aged 22 years or above are eligible to apply for admission to the graduate school in Japan.
57. In September 2003, the GOJ broadened the eligibility to apply for admission to universities in Japan; accordingly, those who have been recognized, through each university’s examination of eligibility for applying for admission to universities, as having equal or higher scholastic ability than graduates of upper secondary schools of Japan, and those who are aged 18 years or above are eligible to apply for admission to the university in Japan.