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Monthly Event Reports

December 2023 | Criminal investigation into political funding scandal
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In December 2023, Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) became embroiled in what analysts describe is the worst Japanese fundraising scandal in decades. Prosecutors are investigating allegations that LDP faction members failed to report hundreds of millions of yen in political funds raised at fundraising parties over the past five years, and that the extra revenue may have been pocketed by lawmakers. The scandal casts a shadow over Japan’s entrenched political faction system, characterized by institutionalized parties within parties with formal membership structures. Prosecutors raided the headquarters of two LDP factions associated with the late Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and former Secretary-General Toshihiro Nikai on 19 December. In response, four cabinet ministers from LDP have resigned, with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida stepping down as head of his faction in a bid to restore public trust. The failure to record these funds in official statements is said to violate the country’s political funding laws.

November 2023 | Human rights violations in women’s prisons
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Human Rights Watch released a report on 14 November documenting serious human rights abuses in women’s prisons in Japan. Violations include mistreatment of transgender people, inadequate access to medical services, separation of women from their babies, and arbitrary solitary confinement measures as a form of punishment. Rights advocates have urged the government to improve conditions in Japanese prisons as well as consider legal and justice reforms to prevent imprisonment in the first place. These reforms include decriminalizing simple drug-related violations and introducing alternative sentencing methods to the country's penal code, such as community service. In a broader discussion of Japan’s “hostage justice” system, the Japanese National Diet (parliament) engaged in a hearing of activist voices on 10 November, a move which activists hope will pave the way for wider reforms.

July 2023 | Supreme court rules toilet restrictions on transgender persons illegal

Japan’s Supreme Court on 11 July issued a landmark ruling against a government ministry saying it is unlawful to restrict transgender persons from using certain bathrooms in the workplace. The decision marks the first time a top court has made a ruling on bathroom usage by sexual minorities, with LGBTQIA+ activists hopeful that the ruling will set a positive precedent for other cases related to working conditions for transgender persons.

June 2023 | Controversial immigration bill passed by parliament

Parliament on 6 June passed a bill to amend the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act, allowing the government to deport asylum seekers who apply for refugee status more than twice. The bill faced heavy criticism from opposition lawmakers, human rights experts, and civil society organizations, claiming that the new legislation enables the government to repatriate those who are at risk of persecution in their home countries. Critics note that the new bill creates unnecessary obstacles for asylum seekers in what are already considered to be stringent regulations for granting refugee status.

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GSoD Indices Data 2013-2022

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Basic Information

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Population Tooltip
125 681 590
System of government
Parliamentary system
Head of government
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (since 2021)
Head of government party
Liberal Democratic Party
Electoral system for lower or single chamber
Parallel
Women in lower or single chamber
9.9%
Women in upper chamber
25.8%
Last legislative election
2022
Effective number of political parties Tooltip
4.22
Head of state
Emperor Naruhito
Selection process for head of state
Hereditary or election by hereditary state rulers
Latest Universal Periodic Review (UPR) date
14/11/2017
Latest Universal Periodic Review (UPR) percentage of recommendations supported
66.82%
Population Tooltip
125 681 590
System of government
Parliamentary system
Head of government
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (since 2021)
Head of government party
Liberal Democratic Party
Electoral system for lower or single chamber
Parallel
Women in lower or single chamber
9.9%
Women in upper chamber
25.8%
Last legislative election
2022
Effective number of political parties Tooltip
4.22
Head of state
Emperor Naruhito
Selection process for head of state
Hereditary or election by hereditary state rulers
Latest Universal Periodic Review (UPR) date
14/11/2017
Latest Universal Periodic Review (UPR) percentage of recommendations supported
66.82%
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Human Rights Treaties

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State Party State party
Signatory Signatory
No Action No action
United Nations Human Right Treaties
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
State Party
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
State Party
International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
State Party
Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women
State Party
Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment
State Party
Convention on the Rights of the Child
State Party
International Convention on Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families
No Action
International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance 
State Party
International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
State Party
International Labour Organisation Treaties
Forced Labour Convention
State Party
Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention
State Party
Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention
State Party
Equal Remuneration Convention
State Party
Abolition of Forced Labour Convention
No Action
Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention
No Action
Convention concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment
State Party
Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention
State Party
in
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Categories of Democratic Performance

Representation neutral Representation
Sep 2023
Oct
Nov
Dec
Jan
Feb 2024
Representation neutral Rights
Sep 2023
Oct
Nov
Dec
Jan
Feb 2024
Representation neutral Rule of law
Sep 2023
Oct
Nov
Dec
Jan
Feb 2024
Representation neutral Participation
Sep 2023
Oct
Nov
Dec
Jan
Feb 2024

Global State of Democracy Indices

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Explore the indices
Representation
Representation
0
/1
high 0.7-1.0
mid 0.4-0.7
low 0.0-0.4
Rights
Rights
0
/1
high 0.7-1.0
mid 0.4-0.7
low 0.0-0.4
Rule of Law
Rule of Law
0
/1
high 0.7-1.0
mid 0.4-0.7
low 0.0-0.4
Participation
Participation
0
/1
high 0.7-1.0
mid 0.4-0.7
low 0.0-0.4
Annual value

Factors of Democratic Performance Over Time

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