Do more to ban gender bias, U.N. panel urges

A U.N. committee is recommending that the Japanese government immediately implement remedial measures to eradicate discrimination against women.

Japan’s efforts to implement antidiscrimination measures as a party to the international convention against such discrimination are “insufficient,” the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women said.

It said Tokyo has failed to address problems affecting women that the committee identified in a 2003 report. It listed discriminatory provisions in the Civil Code, unequal treatment of women in the labor market and low representation of women in high-level elected bodies.

In a new report, the committee said it “regrets” these issues have been left unresolved and urged Japan to “make every effort” to remedy the situation.

On the Civil Code, the committee urged Japan to abolish a six-month waiting period required for women but not men before remarriage and to adopt a system allowing for the choice of surnames for married couples. The panel committee called on Japan to repeal Civil Code and family registration law provisions that discriminate against children born out of wedlock.

The latest report accuses Japan of making light of the fact that the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women is binding.

Japan should recognize the convention as “the most pertinent, broad and legally binding international instrument in the sphere of the elimination against women,” the report says, urging the country to take “immediate measures” so the convention will become fully applicable in the legal system.