TOKYO — The Japanese government will draft guidelines for human rights due diligence as early as this summer to help companies detect and prevent human rights violations in their supply chains, Nikkei has learned.
The guidelines will instruct companies on developing procedures for unannounced inspections to check for instances of forced or child labor in their supply chains.
By creating the guidelines, Japan hopes to close the gap with the U.S. and European countries, which are already responding to human rights concerns, such as allegations of abuse against the Uyghur ethnic minority in China. Japanese companies lag their Western counterparts in this area and face the risk of being cut out of clients’ supply chains if they fail to address human rights concerns.
Companies are increasingly under pressure to deal with human rights issues. When allegations of forced labor in China’s Xinjiang Province attracted global attention, Swedish apparel maker H&M moved quickly, suspending transactions with Chinese suppliers that had factories in the province. Uniqlo owner Fast Retailing, by contrast, declined to say whether it dealt with such suppliers, drawing criticism.