Despite past commitments, Japan is the only G-7 member that has not imposed sanctions on Beijing for its state policy of forced labor.
In October 2021, the G-7 nations, including Japan, issued a joint statement that underlined their shared commitment to eradicate forced labor from global supply chains. The world’s most affluent nations affirmed that there is “no place for forced labor in the rules-based multilateral trading system.” The G-7 nations not only condemned forced labor but also acknowledged the important role played by trade policy in preventing, identifying, and eliminating forced labor in global supply chains.
However, we are yet to see Japan’s commitments against forced labor translate into decisive action.
The G-7 statement doubling down on a global effort to combat forced labor came out amid Beijing’s nationwide campaign to crack down on Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in China. Since 2017, it has been reported that approximately 1 million people have been abducted, detained, and subjected to forced labor in China’s Xinjiang region. In particular, over 570,000 people, members of minority ethnic groups, were forced to engage in cotton picking in inhumane environments and under constant surveillance by the Chinese government.