Japan ratifies convention to fight forced labor

On July 19, the Government of Japan deposited with the International Labor Office the instrument of ratification of the Abolition of Forced Labor Convention, 1957 (No. 105), becoming the 177th ILO Member State to ratify this Convention. 

Convention No. 105 is the eighth fundamental Convention ratified by Japan which requires States party to suppress and not to make use of any form of forced labor. This ratification is a testimony of Japan’s strong commitment to protecting fundamental principles and rights at work, including combatting forced labor in all its forms.

According to the latest global estimates, there are 24.9 million victims of forced labor around the world, out of which 16 million people are exploited in the private sector; 4.8 million persons in forced sexual exploitation, and 4 million persons in State-imposed forms of forced labor. 

The prevalence of forced labor is highest in Asia and the Pacific, where four out of every 1,000 people are victims. Moreover, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many workers are at greater risk of being trapped into forced labor.

In depositing the instrument of ratification, H.E. Mr. Yamazaki Kazuyuki, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary and Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations Office and Other International Organizations in Geneva, said that “We also believe that our ratification of the Convention will contribute to advancing international efforts for the abolition of forced labor. 

“Japan has doubled its voluntary contributions to field operations that strengthen compliance with international labor standards in recent years and will contribute a further US$15.1 million toward them this year.”

Receiving the instrument of ratification, Guy Ryder, Director General of the International Labor Organization, stated: “Japan is a valued partner in the promotion of social justice and decent work, especially in Asia and the Pacific. 

“By ratifying Convention No. 105, the Government of Japan reaffirms its continued commitment to respect, promote and ensure fundamental principles and rights at work. Convention No. 105 is one of the key international standards with the objective of eradicating forced labor practices which constitutes a matter of particular urgency as the ILO’s global estimates demonstrate.” 

Convention No. 105 will enter into force in Japan one year after the instrument of ratification was deposited with the ILO. To date, Japan had ratified 49 Conventions (of which 33 are in force).

Photo credit: iStock/ KHellon. Koh Phayam, Thailand – April 5th 2019: Burmese crew of Thai fishing boat sorting fish. Most Thai boats have Burmese crew.

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