Recently, human rights issues related to businesses such as modern slavery, forced labor, child labor, and human trafficking on their supply chains are reported. It is said that these human rights issues are caused by businesses (local as well as multinational businesses), and it is also pointed out that there are labor exploitation on their supply chain not only overseas but also in Japan.
In particular, we, Japan, will host the Tokyo Olympic and the Paralympic Games in 2020. However, Japanese is now facing labour shortage and not enough labours for construction of facilities for the Tokyo 2020 Games. Therefore, Japanese government plans to invite more foreign workers using foreign Technical Internship Trainee Programme (TITP) to fill the labour shortage, so it is also concerned that these foreign workers as TITP would be exploited like other issues already happened around TITP.
Under these circumstances, it is very important for Japanese businesses with their supply chains inside and outside the country to tackle these business and human rights issues, and it is essential for Japanese businesses to work with partnership with other businesses, Labour Union, Civil Society/NGO and overseas initiatives for their supply chains to address these human rights issues.
Therefore, we established the organization in Japan which promotes business related human rights and workers’ rights in their supply chains, and facilitates partnerships with businesses, labor unions, civil society/NGOs and overseas initiatives.
We, ASSC, will implement various initiatives to respect human rights and workers’ rights related to businesses while we collaborate with businesses, labor unions and civil society/NGO. Specifically, we will implement the following activities.
Promotion of Initiatives in Japan
Overseas, NGOs are increasingly playing a major role in setting up various initiatives for companies to participate in that tackle sustainability challenges, even if the companies are in a same industry or are direct competitors.
These initiatives enable companies to share information and discuss possible solutions to address environmental and social challenges, solutions that are frequently beyond one company’s individual capability.
In Japan this is not the reality, with few Japanese companies having taken part in any initiatives. However, this where the ASSC can support Japanese businesses by forming similar initiatives focusing on fair labour and human rights issues that may arise throughout the supply chain.
Alliance with International Initiatives
In order for a sustainability initiative to commence, the ASSC will identify any relevant issues that specific companies are currently facing or are expected to face in the future and set up a specific initiative to address this challenge. The ASSC will involve companies based in Japan to discuss potential solutions to sustainability but will also draw upon our experience with initiatives in other global markets to define the best solution.
Alliance with International Initiatives
While seminars and training regarding labour and human rights in supply chain are actively run by NGOs overseas, those events are not frequently available in Japan and it’s not affordable option to join overseas events from Japan.
The ASSC will host a series of themed seminars concerning the major issues currently faced in global supply chains, as well as delivering training sessions run by international NGOs with relevant experience from overseas markets. We trust this will enhance the knowledge among Japanese companies about how best to approach sustainability within their global supply chain and lead them to implement the best course of action.
Provision of Information in Japan
There is a lack of sufficient information concerning labour issues within the supply chain in Japan. There is also a false perception that serious labour issues are not occurring domestically and we can see cases where this encourages negligence in achieving CSR/sustainable procurement. Japanese companies need to recognize and clearly understand any labour issues or issues with local residents not only in developing countries but also in Europe, U.S. and Japan. The ASSC’s objective is to spread awareness of global trends in supply chain issues to Japanese companies.
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Provision of Information to Overseas
While labour issues in Japan are often criticized by international NGOs, there has been little official research to corroborate this and detail the findings or to describe the challenges and approaches that concern Japanese companies.
The ASSC wants to take a proactive stance within the international community, by not just promoting a clearer understanding of the current situation in Japan but by also helping provide information about the labour environment and approaches of Japanese companies for governments, International NGOs and companies alike.
In the implementation of CSR/sustainable procurement, it is important for companies to review their own supply chain and to prove no labour/human rights issues are taking place. ASSC’s EICC or SA8000 certified auditors, which are the international certification standards of assessment, perform assessments under various codes of conducts. The ASSC can provide a number of services, including the sustainability assessment itself, training for in-house assessors, as well as a support service to improve the CSR/sustainable procurement process.
- Outsourced Assessment (by ASSC)
- Assessment Implementation Training
- Improvement Planning Support and Capacity Building
Research on CSR/sustainable procurement in the private sector is only just getting started, although is expecting further development in the future. For now the difficulties faced include access to privately held business information and a lack of auditors with the required knowledge and skills. However, the ASSC are working closely with Japanese research institutes and international initiatives to produce useful research projects.
- Research on Global Trends of Labour Management
- Feasibility Study of CSR/sustainable procurement for New Overseas Sites
- Current Situation Survey of Raw Material Procurement Operation
In relation to CSR/sustainability activities, especially procurement, the Japanese private sector is lacking experienced advisory organizations. The ASSC can draw upon it’s in depth, hands-on experience to offer and help implement recommendations throughout the procurement/supply chain.
Human Resource Related Services
Experienced experts in the field of CSR/sustainability in the private sector are still in short supply, which is compounded by a lack of CSR/sustainability comprehension amongst Japanese companies, as well as the general trend, of companies facing a shortage in skilled labour throughout the procurement supply chain. ASSC can provide a full-service training and recruitment programme, that can include personnel exchange programme.
- Human Resource Training Programme Overseas
- Planning and Implementation of Personnel Exchange Programme
- Talent Introduction Programme
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