APDA The Asian Population and Development AssociationAPDA The Asian Population and Development Association

INTERVIEW

It is very important for Japan’s future that we have discussions on how we should develop policies for accepting people from overseas and properly enact a migration law that guarantees their right to education and other fundamental rights.

Member of the House of Representatives Hon. Yukio Ubukata http://www.ubu2.jp/

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”. These are the words of Mahatma Gandhi. It means that if you want to know how a country is treating its people, you only need to look at how that country is treating its animals. Considered in this light, I think Japan still has a long way to go in its treatment of its animals and its people.

An amendment to the Animal Welfare and Management Act was enacted last year and put into effect this year. A project team, established within the supra-partisan Parliamentary Group against the Culling of Dogs and Cats, made preparations for this private members’ bill. I also answered questions in the Diet as an author of the bill.

The amendment introduced more severe penalties against animal abuse and eliminated the use of gas chambers for euthanasia, in principle. We are also working on increasing animal-welfare-related budget so that gas chambers can be converted into rehoming centers.

This year, we launched a supra-partisan parliamentary group to work toward the welfare of animals in general. There is no basic act on animal welfare in Japan. We hope to regularly organize study meetings and have a private members’ bill passed, which may take two to three years.

Persistent efforts are also needed to address population issues. I have been on JPFP study tours of Cambodia and other countries where I saw firsthand what it is like to live in slums. I also saw the efforts and challenges of ODA projects for health and poverty reduction, leaving me with a strong impression that “seeing is believing”. From this experience, I felt strongly that education is at the crux of solving the issues of poverty, population and development.

The right to education is a basic human right. Failure to ensure this right will have an adverse effect on those most vulnerable in society. In accepting people from overseas, Japan has only taken stopgap measures without fully guaranteeing their rights. Competition for talents is expected to intensify globally. I think it is very important for Japan’s future that we have discussions on how we should develop policies for accepting people from overseas and properly enact a migration law that guarantees their right to education and other fundamental rights.

Interviewed in October 2020

※The titles shown are those held at the time of interview.

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