Japanese L aw an d Po licy again st Hu man
Tr affick ing
To moya KAMINO
Internationally, society is gradually and steadily becoming a more global
society. Globalization promotes the interaction of people, goods, money and
information beyond national borders, and global interaction increases the richness and
happiness in our daily lives. However, globalization also has the ability to bring us
harm through international terrorism and organized crime. The series of terrorist
attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in the US in 2001 revealed
the unsafe aspects of the process of globalization.
The globalization of terrorism and organized crime might also give rise to a
variety of means for exploitation and the promotion of sexual exploitation on an
international level. Of which many women and children are victims. Sex tours
(kaisyun ryokou) are a well known global sexual offense, which some Japanese men
commit in southeastern Asia.1 When the victims become pregnant, this leads to severe
problems for them as well as their children, because the fathers often deny any
affiliation with the women or children, and they refuse to provide child support.
Moreover, violations in international marriage are also a serious problem.2 Japanese
men, especially those in agricultural areas, seek their future wives in China and
southeastern Asia, because many Japanese women refuse to marry farmers for fear of
an isolated and financially bleak future. Asian women who marry Japanese men are
sometimes forced into farm labor through violence and close supervision. Furthermore,
international peacekeeping forces and humanitarian workers prostitute local women
and children in exchange for food or money. Therefore, globalization also promotes
sexual exploitation against women and children beyond national boundaries.
Of the many kinds of global sexual exploitation, this chapter focuses on the
international human trafficking of women and girls into and inside of Japan. Human
trafficking is a modern practice of slavery. Slavery has been formally banned as an
institution, yet the practice continues as an illegal crime. Slaves are only objects of
trade and commerce, meaning slaves are denied the human dignity to which all people
should be entitled. According to Immanuel Kant, dignity is the value of
inexchangeability for other valuable things, and thus slaves, objects of monetary trade,
cannot enjoy such dignity. The aims of human trafficking are forced labor, organ
transplants, and sexual exploitation.
2. Sexual Exploitation and Human Trafficking in Japan
2- 1. Ou tli ne of h um an tr affic ki ng for th e p urp o se of sex u al exp lo i tatio n in
It is sometimes reported in Japan that Asian women are brought to Japan
alone from other Asian countries such as Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines. 3
Local brokers fool them into believing that they can find employment in Japan, or their
family or friends deceive them and sell them out to brokers. Once they enter Japan,
Japanese brokers (in many cases yakuza) force them into prostitution, monitor their
every movement, and bleed their profits.
Such victims of human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation in
Japan are said to be from the thousands to the tens of thousands. A more accurate
number of victims has not been reported, and the reported cases of human trafficking
could only be a small fraction of the real figure. For example, one large scale human
trafficking operation was uncovered in November 2003.4 About 80 Colombian women
were sold from two groups of Colombian brokers into Japan, who were working to pay
off debts of 5 million yen (about 42,000 US dollars) in travel expenses. Their Japanese
brokers forced them to work in strip theaters all over Japan and prostitute themselves
to Japanese customers. If they refused sexual work, the brokers and the mangers of
the strip club assaulted them. They could earn as much as 130,000 to 150,000 yen only
in ten days, but 120,000 to 130,000 yen of their profits were garnished in name of debt
repayment. The crime was eventually discovered when they ran to the Colombian
Embassy asking for protection. Metropolitan police arrested 6 brokers and 33 strip
Human trafficking for sexual exploitation in Japan is so serious that even the
United States of America, an alliance partner for over half of a century, has accused
Japan of inaction against trafficking in persons. The Department of State in the US
has published Trafficking in Persons Reports annually, which sets “minimum
standards for the elimination of trafficking,”5 and has classified the human rights
situations of other countries into three grades (tiers).6 Japan has been ranked as Tier
2, because it has not fully accomplished the minimum of standards but has made some
effort in eliminating trafficking in persons, while other developed countries ranked as
Tier 1 have already complied with the standards.7 Trafficking in Persons Report 2001
pointed out that, “The Government of Japan does not yet fully meet the minimum
standards. […] There are allegations that some law enforcement units have been
reluctant to investigate reports of trafficking and that the Government has not been
aggressive in arresting and prosecuting suspected traffickers […] Victims are often
treated as criminals (prostitutes or illegal aliens) by the legal system because the
Government does not consider people who willingly enter for illegal work to be
trafficking victims.”8 It is reasonable to suppose that the report shows an objective
outline of the Japanese situation in human trafficking.
2- 2. C on di ti on s i n th e Vi ctim s’ Co un tri e s o f Orig in
People called recruiters solicit women into sex work, who will then be
trafficked outside of their country of origin. Recruiters are said to be ordinary people,
such as neighbors, compatriot co-workers, or even the friends and acquaintances of the
victims own family. 9 They often pander to the circumstances of the victim’s family,
economic class and work. For example, they tell her that she can get a job in a factory
in Japan and the factory will provide her with clothing, food and housing. They also
say that she will earn over 100,000 yen (about 830 US dollars) a month with which she
can send money and buy Japanese electrical appliances for her family. Moreover, they
tell her emphatically that she can pay off her travel expenses at her own pace.
Brokers pay contingency fees to recruiters when the recruiters succeed in
persuading women into going to Japan and handing her over to the brokers. Brokers
are often members of criminal organizations, a drug trafficking groups, or matrimonial
2- 3. C on di ti on s i n th e C oun tr ie s of Tr an si t
Brokers in origin countries and transit countries collude with the brokers in
receiving countries to transfer women beyond national borders. Brokers in the origin
and transit countries arrange the victim’s passport and airline ticket, and then replace
her passport with a different person’s passport or a false passport mid-flight in order
for her to more easily pass her immigration examination.10 In some cases, brokers
coach the women in how to respond to the immigration officers. Brokers in the
receiving countries send a person to the airport to greet her. This greeter, who is often
of the same nationality and has a legitimate status of residency to relieve the victim,
brings her to the broker’s hideout.
2- 4. C on di ti on s i n Jap an
Brokers sell women to managers of sexual businesses. The trade price of these
women is said to be from only 1.5 to 2 million yen (12,500 to 16,700 US dollars). The
manager will then cover the cost of the trade price by pimping the women.11 The
manager tells the women that they have incurred debt through their transportation
fees and that they must now engage in stripping and prostitution to pay off the debt.
The manager will often inflate her debt in order to exploit even more profit, i.e.,
claiming that he sends money to her family, or that she must pay a penalty fee for
behaving rudely in front of a customer. Even if she pays off her debt, the manager can
resell her to another manager and the cycle of exploitation continues.
Victims of sexual violence are under severe physical pressure because they
hardly flee from the circle of sexual exploitation under the manager’s oversight. It is
said that there are three types of detention.12 In the first case, women are confined in
a remote location far from the city, and they are forced to engage in prostitution there.
It is seriously difficult to flee from this kind of detention because there is a lack of
access to public transportation, such as trains, buses or taxies. In the second case,
women are confined in a remote location far from the city and a man will bring the
woman to a hotel for prostitution, and then her manager will have her taken from the
hotel by taxi. The taxi companies are thought to be conspirators in the human
trafficking business. In the last case, women are tied down in a room of an apartment
near a bar in the city, and guards or surveillance cameras monitor their every
movement. In this case, they are forcibly taken from the apartment to the bar or a
hotel for the purpose of prostitution, and then they are sent back to the apartment by
Victims of sexual violence are also under severe psychological pressure. 13
Unable to speak Japanese (many of them have only elementary and secondary
educations) the women cannot inform other Japanese people of their desire to escape.
Moreover, they are skeptical about their chances of leaving Japan, with no passport, no
money, no transportation, or even any access to flight information. Furthermore, they
fear physical violence or retribution against their families, whose identity their
recruiters know well, for fleeing from their managers.
In sum, those who are trafficked to Japan for sexual exploitation are forced to
engage in sexual business, and they cannot flee from detention because of physical and
3. Causes of Human Trafficking for Sexual Abuse s
Japan is one of the largest receiving countries of trafficking victims. Why does
Japan face challenges and difficulties in human trafficking as described in the
One might explain the situation by the push-pull theory in economics.
Developing countries have plenty of laborers who are able to work for lower wages but
who have little chance of employment. Developed countries employ workers for higher
wages, but need unskilled workers for low wage positions. The conjunction of the
interests in both sides is labor immigration and movement from developing to
developed countries. This theory, however, cannot explain the variances among
developed countries, as the policies and laws against trafficking in humans in the
United States are more advanced than Japan.
The most relevant explanation for human trafficking may be the theory of
power and control in politics. Power is a capacity of controlling others, in which a man
can make others obey his orders against their will. The theory of power and control
explains the asymmetric relationship in the case of human trafficking. There are three
structures of power and control.14
First, there is an asymmetric relationship between men and women. Men
have dominated women in many societies for a long time and many victims of human
trafficking for sexual exploitation are women. Men can be victims of sexual
exploitation but the male victims are in many cases exploited not by women, but by
Second, there is an asymmetric relationship between the rich and the poor.
The rich have dominated the poor by means of economic exploitation over a long period
of time. Many of the victims of human trafficking are not rich people but rather poor
people, because the rich can afford to pay for sexual intercourse while the poor can
profit from the selling of their bodies.
Third, there is a contrasting relationship between nationals and foreigners.
Many countries do not allow foreigners to enjoy the same rights as nationals. Many of
the victims of human trafficking are not nationals but foreigners, because the police
and prosecutors are not eager to regulate sexual exploitation against foreigners, and
politicians are also not eager to enact laws and regulations protecting foreigners.
There are three types of discrimination that could be classified as problematic
within human trafficking, which must be addressed to solve the problems of human
trafficking. Solving these problems may be done through three types of measures: the
punishment of criminals, the protection of victims, and the prevention of crime.
Japanese Criminal Law only prohibited the trafficking of Japanese nationals outside of
Japan, but did nothing to prohibit the act of trafficking foreigners into Japan.
Moreover, the victims of human trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation were
not protected, but rather punished as criminals through Criminal Laws and
Anti-Prostitution Laws under the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act,
because they overstayed their visas or worked and prostituted themselves illegally. If
they injured or killed a broker/manager, they were arrested and prosecuted as
criminals of murder or inflicting injury.
Japanese Law and Policy have had serious breaches and defects in solving the
problems of trafficking in humans. These breaches and defects have improved
following the adoption of the United Nations Convention against Transnational
Organized Crime in 2000 and the establishment of Japan’s Action Plan of Measures to
Combat Trafficking in Persons in 2005.
4. UN Convention against Transnati onal Organized Crime and
4- 1. UN C onv en ti on ag ain st Tr an sn ati on al Org ani z ed Cri me
As international crimes increase and intensify, international society will
begin to prohibit organized crime regardless of national borders. To deal with this
problem, it will become necessary to investigate, prosecute and punish international
organized crime, to bridge the national law and jurisdiction gaps among states, and to
acquire accurate information on criminal organizations’ activities. 15 According to
resolution 52/58 of 30 January 1998, 16 the United Nations organized an Ad Hoc
Committee in order to elaborate the international convention against transnational
organized crime and three additional international legal protocols. The first session of
the Ad Hoc Committee took place in Vienna from 19 to 29 January 1999. After thirteen
separate sessions, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on 15
November 2000 through resolution 55/2517 and convened the Signing Conference for
the Convention in Palermo from 12 to December 2000.18
4- 2. Pro toc ol to Pr eve nt, S up pr e ss and Pu n ish Tr affic ki ng in P er son s
The Convention against Transnational Organized Crime has three additional
Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons,
Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations
Convention against Transnational Organized Crime
Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Air and Sea,
supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational
Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms,
Their Parts and Components and Ammunition, supplementing the
United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.
The first protocol supplements the Convention and reinforces provisions to
combat human trafficking beyond national boundaries for the purposes of sexual
abuses, forced labor and servitude of the removal of organs, etc.
Article 3 (a) of the first protocol clarifies the definition of “trafficking in
persons.” The purpose of trafficking in persons is exploitation, which “shall include, at
a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual
exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude
or the removal of organs.” The measures of trafficking in persons are “by means of the
threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of
the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of
payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another
person.” Acts of trafficking in persons include “the recruitment, transportation,
transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons.” The article is a comprehensive and
provision of directives for each state to effectively combat human trafficking.
Article 5 is about the criminalization of human trafficking. The first paragraph
of the article requests that each State Party shall adopt such legislative or other
measures as may be necessary to establish as criminal offences the conduct set forth in
article 3 of this Protocol, when committed intentionally. The second paragraph of the
article requires that each State Party shall also adopt such legislative or other
measures as may be necessary to establish as attempted offense, accomplice, and
organizing or directing other persons to commit an offence.
Articles 6, 7, and 8 prescribe methods of protection for the victims of human
trafficking. The first section of Article 6 establishes a foundation for protection for
victims of human trafficking: “[I]n appropriate cases and to the extent possible under
its domestic law, each State Party shall protect the privacy and identity of victims of
trafficking in persons, including, inter alia, by making legal proceedings relating to
such trafficking confidential.” The third section prescribes a foundation for assistance
for victims: “[E]ach State Party shall consider implementing measures to provide for
the physical, psychological and social recovery of victims of trafficking in persons” by
means of providing housing, counseling, medical, psychological and material
assistance, employment, and educational and training opportunities.
Article 7 addresses the legal status of victims in receiving countries, and it
requests that each State Party shall “permit victims of trafficking in persons to remain
in its territory, temporarily or permanently, in appropriate cases.” Article 8, which
deals with the repatriation of victims, requires that “[w]hen a State Party returns a
victim of trafficking in persons to a State Party of which that person is a national or in
which he or she had, at the time of entry into the territory of the receiving State Party,
the right of permanent residence, such return shall be with due regard for the safety of
that person and for the status of any legal proceedings related to the fact that the
person is a victim of trafficking and shall preferably be voluntary.”
Article 9 prescribes a prevention strategy for human trafficking: “State Parties
shall establish comprehensive policies, programs and other measures: (a) [t]o prevent
and combat trafficking in persons; and (b) [t]o protect victims of trafficking in persons,
especially women and children, from revictimization.”
The adoption of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in
Persons led to the establishment of Japan’s Action Plan of Measures to Combat
Trafficking in Persons, the reformation of criminal laws, the Anti-Prostitution Law,
the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act, and the modification of the
administration of the criminal justice and immigrations systems.
4- 3. Ac ti on Pl an of Me asure s to C om bat Tr aff ick ing in Per son s 19
The Japanese government singed the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and
Punish Trafficking in Persons, and established the Inter-Ministerial Liaison
Committee (Task Force) in April 2005. In order to ratify the Protocol,20 the Task Force
discussed the necessity of revising active laws and argued the contents of these
amendments. The Task Force provided four actions to ratify the Protocol:21
Revision of criminal laws against conduct which infringes personal
liberty (article 5 of the Protocol related)
Amendment to Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act, and
flexible operation of various procedures (article 6 and 7)
Assistance to victims at the Women’s Consulting Offices (article 6)
Strengthening of crackdown measures
4- 4. Pun i sh me nt of Cri mi n al s
In order to criminalize human trafficking, the Japanese government
submitted a bill of amendments to Criminal Law and other related laws to the Diet.
The Diet passed the bill and the laws were issued in 22 June 2005 and enforced in 12
Article 226 (Crime of Abduction and Kidnapping for the Purpose of Transport
from Japan) 22 of the Japanese Criminal Law did not prohibit acts of trafficking
foreigners into Japan as discussed previously. After the amendments, article 226 now
covers all acts of trafficking in persons regardless of nationality or location.
Article 226 of the Japanese Criminal Law prohibited acts of abduction,
kidnapping, or buying and selling persons for the purpose of transportation from
Japan to another state. The article also prohibited acts of transportation of persons
abducted, kidnapped, or sold from Japan to another state. The article, however, did not
cover acts of abduction and kidnapping, or buying and selling persons for the purpose
of transportation from another country to Japan. With the new amendments, article
226 is now divided into articles 226 (Crimes of Abduction and Kidnapping for the
Purpose of Transportation from Country of Location), 226-2 (Crimes of Selling and
Buying Persons), and 226-3 (Crimes of Transportation of Abducted Persons).
The new Article 22623 prohibits acts of abduction and kidnapping for the
purpose of transportation outside the country a person is located . The amendment
means that the article covers any victims of human trafficking regardless of their
nationality or location. The new Article 226-2 prohibits acts of buying and selling
persons. Article 226-3 bans the transportation of persons abducted, kidnapped or sold,
outside their country of origin.
Article 227 (Crimes of Receipt of Abducted Persons) 24 of the Japanese
Criminal Law forbade only acts of receipt, harboring, or hiding. The acts forbidden
were less restricted than the acts bid under article 3 of the Protocol: “the recruitment,
transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons.” Following the new
amendment, Article 227 (Crimes of Delivery of Abducted Persons)25 now forbids acts of
delivery, receipt, transportation, and harboring or hiding, in order to cover all of the
illegal acts under the Protocol.
After the amendments to Article 3 (Crimes Committed by Japanese Nationals
outside Japan) and Article 3-2 (Crimes Committed by Non-Japanese Nationals against
Japanese Nationals outside Japan), Articles 226, 226-2, 226-3 and Article 227 apply for
crimes committed by Japanese nationals outside Japan and by foreigners against
Japanese nationals outside Japan (See Table 1).
Ta bl e 1 Sco p e of Ap pl ic ati on of Jap ane se Crimi nal L aw for A bd uc tin g,
Ki dn ap pi ng an d Se lli ng an d Buy ing a Per son o utsid e Jap an
Perpetrators Victims Former Criminal Law Active Criminal Law
Japanese Japanese Article 3 (item 12) Article 3 (item 12)
Japanese Foreigners - Article 3 (item 12)
Foreigners Japanese - Article 3-2 (item 5)
Foreigners Foreigners - -
Source: Osamu SAKUMA, “Jinshin no Jiyuu ni taisuru Tsumi no Hou Seibi ni tsuite,” pp. 14-15 26
After the implementation of the new law, Japanese Police protected two
Indonesian women who were forced into prostitution by a Taiwanese snack bar
manager in 2005. The police arrested the Taiwanese manager on charges of buying
persons for the purpose of profit (Article 226-2 (3)) and two Indonesian brokers on
charges of selling persons (Article 226-2 (4)). This was the first case to see the
application of Article 226. In 2006, police implemented Article 226-2 (Crimes of Selling
and Buying Persons) in five cases, arrested nine people on charges of selling persons,
and arrested fourteen people on charges of buying persons.27
Even if acts of human trafficking are constituent elements to the crimes of
Articles 226 and 227 in the Criminal Law, judicial authorities can make an arrest for
offenses to the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act, Anti-prostitution
Law, Employment Security Law, Labor Standards Law, Child Welfare Law, and Law
for Punishing Acts Related to Child Prostitution and Child Pornography.28
Ta bl e 2 Cri me s o f Hum an Tr affic ki ng i n 2006
2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006
Cases of custody 64 44 51 79 81 72 391
Persons in custody 40 28 41 58 83 78 328
Brokers 9 7 8 23 26 24 97
Persons of victims 65 55 83 77 117 58 455
The Philippines 12 2 13 40 30 97
Indonesia 4 3 44 14 65
Taiwan 7 3 12 5 4 10 41
Thailand 39 40 21 48 21 3 172
South Korea 3 1 1 5
Romania 4 4
Australia 1 1
Estonia 1 1
Colombia 3 6 43 5 1 58
Russia 2 2
Laos 1 1
China 4 2 6
Cambodia 2 2
Source: Community Safety Bureau, Consumer and Environmental Protection Division, National
Police Agency 29
4- 5. Pro tec tion for Vi ctim s
In order to protect the victims of human trafficking, the Japanese government
submitted a bill of amendments on the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition
Act, the Diet passed the bill, and the act was issued and enforced.
Article 2 (7) 30 of the Act establishes a provision to define trafficking in
persons in accordance with the provisions of Criminal Law and the Protocol against
Human Trafficking. Article 24 (4) (Deportation) enumerated categories of foreigners
who shall be deported and included victims of human trafficking in the list for
deportation, meaning that juridical authorities and immigration officers ejected such
victims from Japan without any protection or assistance. After the amendment, the
new article 24 currently excludes victims of human trafficking from the deportation
list. Article 50 (Special Permission for Staying) did not permit victims of human
trafficking to stay in Japan. After the amendment, the Minister of Justice can now give
special permission to such victims.
Article 5 (Refusal of Landing) also did not permit victims of human trafficking
to land in Japan. After the amendment, the new article now allows them to land.
Article 12 (Special Permission for Landing) did not permit victims of human trafficking
to disembark in Japan. After the article was amended, the Minister of Justice gained
the power to give special permission to such victims.
Since 2005, the Immigration Bureau has given permission to victims of
human trafficking to stay in Japan. The Bureau permitted 47 victims in 2005 and 27
victims in 2006 (see Tables 3 and 4).
Ta bl e 3 Vic ti m s of Hu m an Tr aff ic king in 2005
Nationality Residence Status for Victims in Human Trafficking
Residence Status Special Permission
The Philippines 25 22 47
Indonesia 37 4 41
Thailand 0 17 17
Colombia 0 4 4
Romania 4 0 4
China 2 0 2
68 47 115
Source: Immigration Bureau of the Ministry of Justice31
Ta bl e 4 Pro tec tion or S up p ort of De p artur e fo r Vic ti m s o f Hu m an
Tr aff ick ing in 2006
Nationality Residence Status for Victims in Human Trafficking
Residence Status Special Permission
The Philippines 19 10 29
Indonesia 0 14 14
Thailand 1 2 3
South Korea 0 1 1
20 27 47
Source: Immigration Bureau of the Ministry of Justice32
Women’s Consulting Offices, 33 Immigration Offices and Police Stations
protect the victims of human trafficking who ask for protection (See Table 5). Children
Guidance Offices also protect victims who are minors.34 Women’s Consulting Offices
possess accommodation facilities, but human resources and budgets are too low to offer
adequate assistance and cooperate with the private shelters that NGOs manage (See
Table 6). 35 The Japanese government gave 10 million yen in financial assistance
(about 83,000 US dollars) to private shelters with Women’s Consulting Centers’
commission and protected 53 victims from April 2005 to October 2006.36
Ta bl e 5 Pr o tec ti on for Vic ti m s of Hu m an Tr af fic kin g in Wo me n’s
Con su l ting Off ice s
2001* 2002* 2003* 2004* 2005* 2006**
Protected Victims 1 2 6 24 112 18 391
Source: Cabinet Secretariat37
* one fiscal year (from April to March) ** from April 2006 to October 2006
Ta bl e 6 Pr otec ti on f or Vic ti m s of Hum an Traff ic kin g in HE L P 38
1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003* 2004**
Thailand 9 7 8 5 2 17 16 19 24 107
Colombia 5 5 3 4 9 17 7 1 51
Hong-Kong 1 1
Taiwan 1 7 1 9
South Korea 1 1 1 3
China 1 1 2
Mexico 1 1 2
Romania 1 1 2
Peru 1 1
Costa Rica 2 2
15 15 12 19 11 35 26 22 25
Source: HELP 39
* one fiscal year (from April to March) ** from April 2004 to September 2004
Police Offices, Immigration Offices and Women’s Consulting Offices also
support returning the victims to their homes in cooperation with the International
Organization for Migration (IOM). These institutions have supported 43 Filipinos, 30
Indonesians, eight Thais, six Taiwanese and one Colombian as of October 2006.40
4- 6. Prev en ti on of Cri me s
In order to prevent human trafficking, the Japanese government submitted a
bill of amendments on the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act and Law
on Control and Improvement of Amusement Businesses. The Diet passed the bill and
the laws were issued and enforced.
Article 5 of the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act (Denial of
Landing) forbids perpetrators of human trafficking to land in Japan. Article 24
(Deportation) forbids these criminals from staying in Japan. These amendments aim to
prevent human trafficking by means of controlling perpetrators’ movements.
After its revision, Article 36 (2) of the Law on Control and Improvement of
Amusement Business (Confirmation of Service Employees’ Birth Dates etc.) forced
employers to confirm service employees’ birth dates, nationalities, if not Japanese, and
resident status and duration. Article 4 (Standards of Permission for the Sexual
Entertainment Business) prohibits a person from engaging a sexual entertainment
business, who had been imposed on imprisonment with work or fine on charges of
human trafficking.41 These revisions aim to deter human trafficking, as managers of
sexual entertainment businesses do not engage in human trafficking.
In May 2006 and June 2007, the Ministry of Justice revised their standards of
the “entertainer visa” due to the large amount of victims entering Japan on such visas.
Since 2006, the criteria of an “entertainer” has been limited to persons with over two
years of educational or career experience related to acting, singing, dancing or musical
performance.42 Since 2007, employers and full-time workers in business enterprises
that contract “entertainers” has been limited to persons who had not enforced, incited
or aided human trafficking.43
On 3 June 2005, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs revised the Passport Law to
introduce IC passports beginning on 20 March 2006. 44 The implementation of IC
passports will make it difficult to use false or stolen passports, and thus also to commit
5. Conclusion and Future Challenges against Human Trafficking
Japanese Diet gave approval to enter the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and
Punish Trafficking in Persons in 8 June 2005 in concurrence with the developments of
the Criminal Law and the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act and other
laws. These legal developments are the first and most important step against
trafficking in persons, but the Japanese government and Japanese society must
advance these developments.45
Japan’s judicial administrations should put these legal reforms into practice.
Establishing human trafficking as a crime is not enough to diminish the crime. In
order to diminish human trafficking, police and prosecutors must be more eager in
detecting these crimes in accordance with the new laws.
The Japanese government should develop the capabilities of Women’s
Consulting Offices and Child Guidance Offices and increase their financial support of
private shelters. Legal protection now provides only minimum support for victims of
human trafficking, and physical and psychological support such as a supplementary
security income and counseling in their native language are also needed.
Japanese society should pay attention to the crime of human trafficking. Lack
of interest may be the most important element for preventing this crime. In order to
prevent this crime and move past indifference, we must overcome discrimination
between men and women, rich and poor and nationals and foreigners.
1 See Asia no Jidou Kaisyun Soshi wo Uttaeru Kai (Campaign to Stop the Abuse of Asian Children
and to Safeguard their Rights; CASPAR) (ed.), Asia no Kodomo Kaisyun to Nihon (Sexual Abuses
against Asian Children, and Japan), Tokyo: Akashi Shoten, 1996.
2 Yoneda, Masumi, “Jinshin Baibai Kinshi GiteiSho to Kokuren Jinken Koutou Benmukan ni yoru
Shishin,” in Yoshida, Yoko ed., Jinshin Baibai wo Nakusu Tameni, Tokyo: Akashi Syoten, 2004, pp.
3 See Kyoto YMCA and APT (eds.), Jinshin Baibai to Ukeire Taikoku Nihon (Human Trafficking and
Japan as A Major Receiving Country), Tokyo: Akashi Shoten, 2001, pp. 15-127; Tosa, Hiroyuki,
Guroubaru/Jendaa Poritikkusu: Kokusai Kankei Ron to Feminizumu (Global/Gender Politics:
International Relations and Feminism), Kyoto: Sekai Shiso Sya, 2000, pp. 123-177; Matsui, Yayori,
Ajia no Onnatatsi (Asian Women), Tokyo: Junposya, 1998, pp. 47-64;
4 Yoshida, Yoko ed., Jinshin Baibai wo Nakusu Tameni, Tokyo: Akashi Syoten, 2004, p. 8;
Nihon-Keizai Shimbun, 7 November 2003.
5 The US government establishes Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 and sets a minimum of
standards for eliminating human trafficking composed of four criteria: (1) The government of the
country should prohibit severe forms of trafficking in persons and punish acts of such trafficking.
(2) For the knowing commission of any act of sex trafficking involving force, fraud, coercion, or in
which the victim of sex trafficking is a child incapable of giving meaningful consent, or of
trafficking which includes rape or kidnapping or which causes a death, the government of the
country should prescribe punishment commensurate with that for grave crimes, such as forcible
sexual assault. (3) For the knowing commission of any act of a severe form of trafficking in persons,
the government of the country should prescribe punishment that is sufficiently stringent to deter
and that adequately reflects the heinous nature of the offense. (4) The government of the country
should make serious and sustained efforts to eliminate severe forms of trafficking in persons. See
US Department of State, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, Trafficking in
Persons Report 2006, June 2006, pp. 288-289. http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2006/
6 TIER 1: countries whose governments fully comply with the Act’s minimum standards. TIER 2:
countries whose governments do not fully comply with the Act’s minimum standards but are
making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards. TIER 3:
countries whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making
significant efforts to do so. See US Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report 2006, p. 29.
7 The Republic of Korea was wrongly ranked as Tier 3 in 2001 but moved up to Tier 1 after 2002 as
the Korean Government is more positive and active in eliminating trafficking in persons through
enactment, implementation of criminal laws and subsidiary for NGOs. US Department of State,
Trafficking in Persons Report 2001, July 2001, p. 12, 97. http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2001/;
US Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report 2002, June 2002, p. 17, 86.
8 US Department of State, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, Trafficking in
Persons Report 2001, July 2001, p. 52. http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2001/
9 Muto, Kaori, “Hogo wo Motometa Jyoseitachi no Genjitsu (Reality of Women Asking Protection),” in
Yoshida, Yoko ed., Jinshin Baibai wo Nakusu Tameni, pp. 37-39.
10 Ibid., pp. 39-40.
11 Ibid., pp. 40-43.
12 Ibid., pp. 33-35.
13 Ibid., pp. 35-37.
14 Nakamura, Ayako, “Torafikkingu (jinshin-torihiki) no Kouzouteki Bunseki to Jinken Ishiki no
Teichaku: Kokkyou wo Koeta Seiteki Sakusyu wo Jirei to Shite (Structural Analysis of Trafficking
and Settlement of Sense of Human Rights: the Cases of Sexual Exploitation Beyond Boundaries),”
Ueki, Toshiya and Tosa Hiroyuki (eds.), Kokusaihou, Kokusaikankei to Jendaa (Gender in
International Law and International Relations), Sendai: Touhoku Daigaku Syuppankai (Tohoku
University Press), 2007, pp. 100-140.
15 See the website: http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/organized_crime_background.html
16 A/RES/52/58, 30 January 1998.
17 A/RES/55/25, 15 November 2000.
18 A/RES/55/383, 2 November 2000. See the website:
19 Secretary of Cabinet provides Japanese version “Jinshin Torihiki Taisaku Koudou Keikaku
(Japan’s Action Plan of Measures to Combat Trafficking in Persons)”, December 2004 available
from the website: http://www.cas.go.jp/jp/seisaku/jinsin/kettei/041207keikaku.pdf and Ministry of
Foreign Affairs provides the English translated version available from the website:
20 Japanese Diet gave approval to enter the Protocol in June 2005, but she has not ratified the
21 Secretary of Cabinet, “Japan’s Action Plan of Measures to Combat Trafficking in Persons”, chapter
22 “1. A person who abducts or kidnaps a person for the purpose of transporting the person outside
the country of Japan in which the person is located is subject to penal servitude for a period of more
than two years. 2. The same shall apply to a person who sells and buys a person for the purpose of
transporting the person outside the country of Japan in which the person is located, and who
transports the person who is abducted, kidnapped, bought or sold.”
23 “A person who abducts or kidnaps a person for the purpose of transporting the person outside the
country in which the person is located is subject to penal servitude for a period of more than two
24 “(1) A person who, for the purpose of aiding another who has committed any of the crimes
proscribed under Article 224, 225 or the preceding three Articles, receives, harbors or hides a
person who is abducted, kidnapped, bought or sold, shall be punished by imprisonment with work
for not less than 3 months but not more than 5 years. (2) A person who, for the purpose of aiding
another who has committed the crime proscribed under paragraph 1 of Article 225-2, receives,
harbors, or hides a person who is abducted or kidnapped shall be punished by imprisonment with
work for not less than 1 year but not more than 10 years. (3) A person who, for the purpose of profit
or indecency, receives a person who is abducted, kidnapped, bought or sold, shall be punished by
imprisonment with work for not less than 6 months but not more than 7 years.”
25 “(1) A person who, for the purpose of aiding another who has committed any of the crimes
proscribed under Article 224, 225 or the preceding three Articles, delivers, receives, transports,
harbors or hides a person who is abducted, kidnapped, bought or sold, shall be punished by
imprisonment with work for not less than 3 months but not more than 5 years. (2) A person who,
for the purpose of aiding another who has committed the crime proscribed under paragraph 1 of
Article 225-2, delivers, receives, transports, harbors or hides a person who is abducted or
kidnapped shall be punished by imprisonment with work for not less than 1 year but not more than
10 years. (3) A person who, for the purpose of profit, indecency or do harm to life or body, delivers,
receives, transfers or harbors a person who is abducted, kidnapped, bought or sold, shall be
punished by imprisonment with work for not less than 6 months but not more than 7 years.”
26 Sakuma, Osamu, “Jinshin no Jiyuu ni taisuru Tsumi no Hou Seibi ni tsuite (About Development of
Law of a Crime against Personal Liberty),” Julist, no. 1286, 15 March 2005, pp. 14-15.
27 Community Safety Bureau, Consumer and Environmental Protection Division, National Police
Agency, Heisei 18 Nen Chuu ni okeru Jinshin Torihiki Jian ni tsuite (Crimes of Human Trafficking
in 2006), 8 February 2007, available from the website:
28 Secretary of Cabinet, Jinshin Torihiki Taisaku Koudou Keikaku (Japan’s Action Plan of Measures
to Combat Trafficking in Persons), p. 9.
29 Ibid .
30 “The term “trafficking in persons” means any of the following acts: a. The kidnapping or the buying
or selling of persons for the purpose of making a profit, committing an indecent act or causing
injury to their life or physical being, or delivering, receiving, transporting or harboring such
persons who have been kidnapped or bought or sold; b. Except for the acts set forth in Sub-item (a),
placing persons under the age of 18 under one’s own control for the purpose of making a profit,
committing an indecent act or causing injury to their life or physical being; c. Except for the acts set
forth in Sub-item (a), delivering persons under the age of 18, knowing that they will be or might be
placed under the control of a person who has the purpose of making a profit, committing an
indecent act or causing injury to their life or physical being.”
31 Immigration Bureau of Ministry of Justice, Heisei 17 Nen ni okeru Jinshin Torihiki no Higaisya ni
tsuite (Victims of Human Trafficking in 2005), February 2006, available from the website:
32 Immigration Bureau of Ministry of Justice, Heisei 18 Nen ni Hogo matawa Kikoku Shienshita
Jinshin Torihiki no Higaisya Suu ni tsuite (Protection or Support of Departure for Victims of
Human Trafficking in 2006), February 2007, available from the website:
33 Women’s Consulting Centers are located in every prefecture in Japan. The aim of the centers is to
allow women to receive consultation about dissension among couples and families, domestic
violence, divorce and so on.
34 Child Guidance Centers are also located in every prefecture in Japan. The aim of the centers is that
family can consult about their children’s misconducts and misbehaviors, and children can consult
about child abuses from their family.
35 See Yoshida, Yoko ed., Jinshin Baibai wo Nakusu Tameni , Tokyo: Akashi Syoten, 2004, pp. 14-45;
Kanagawa Onna no Supeisu MIZURA (ed.), Sherutaa, Onnatatsi no Kiki: Jinshin Baibai kara
Domesutikku Baiorensu made: MIZURA no 10 nen (Crises of Women in Shelter: Ten Years of
Shelter of Mizura against from Human Trafficking to Domestic Violence), Tokyo: Akashi Shoten,
36 Secretary of Cabinet, Jinshin Torihiki Taisaku Koudou Keikaku no Shinchoku Jyoukyou (Progress
of Japan’s Action Plan of Measures to Combat Trafficking in Person), December 2006, available
from the website: http://www.kantei.go.jp/jp/singi/hanzai/dai8/8siryou2_9.pdf, p. 4.
38 Josei no Ie HELP (House in Emergency of Love and Peace) is one of the most revolutionary NGOs
protecting victims of human trafficking.
39 Otsu, Keiko, “Minkan Sherutaa kara Mieru Nihon Syakai no Jinshin Baibai no Jittai (Situations
of Human Trafficking in Japanese Society from the View of Private Shelter)”, in Yoshida, Yoko ed.,
Jinshin Baibai o Nakusu Tameni, Tokyo: Akashi Syoten, 2004, p. 20.
40 Secretary of Cabinet, Jinshin Torihiki Taisaku Koudou Keikaku no Shinchoku Jyoukyou (Progress
of Japan’s Action Plan of Measures to Combat Trafficking in Persons), p. 5.
41 The Public Safety Commission also prohibits people from engaging in sexual business within 5
years of the end of a suspension of the execution of a sentence in charges of human trafficking.
42 Immigration Office of Ministry of Justice, “Zairyuu Shikaku “Kougyou” ni kakawaru Jouriku
Kyoka Kijyun no Kaisei ni tsuite (About the Revision of Standards of Landing Permission related
to Visa of “Entertainers”)”, Public Information, February 2005, available from the website:
43 The Immigration Office also does not admit “entertainers” into Japan if the employers and
full-time workers of the enterprise contracting with “entertainers” contain the following: a person
engaging in illegal employment, a person submitting a false application for a foreigner to gain
permission of landing within 5 years, a person who has received penalty or is within five years of
the end of a suspension of the execution of sentence, charged of a crime from articles 74 to 74-8 of
the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act or from articles 6 to 13 of the
Anti-Prostitution Law, or a person who is a member of a crime syndicate or is within 5 years of
dropping out of a crime syndicate. Immigration Office of Ministry of Justice, “Zairyuu Shikaku
“Kougyou” ni kakawaru Jouriku Kyoka Kijyun no Kaisei ni tsuite (About the Revision of Standards
of Landing Permission related to Visa of “Entertainers”), Public Information, March 2006,
available from the website: http://www.immi-moj.go.jp/keiziban/happyou/zairyuu.html
44 Secretary of Cabinet, Jinshin Torihiki Taisaku Koudou Keikaku no Shinchoku Jyoukyou (Progress
of Japan’s Action Plan of Measures to Combat Trafficking in Person), p. 2.
45 See Yoshida, Yoko, “Kokunai Hou Seido wo Dou Kaeru bekika? (How should we Change Domestic
Legal System?” in Yoshida, Yoko ed., Jinshin Baibai wo Nakusu Tameni, Tokyo: Akashi Syoten,
2004, p. 8; Yoshida, Yoko, “Jinshin Baibai no Kagaisya Torishimari ni kansuru Kokunai Hou Seido
to Mondaiten (Domestic Legal System about Regulating Perpetrators of Human Trafficking and its
Problems), in Kyoto YMCA and APT (eds.), Jinshin Baibai to Ukeire Taikoku Nihon (Human
Trafficking and Japan as a Major Receiving Country), Tokyo: Akashi Shoten, 2001, pp. 203-253.