Challenges of the Harmonization and Ratification of Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities by Japan


  • Note: This article is drawn from one of a series of invited addresses presented at the Asia-Pacific IASIDD 3rd Regional Conference in Tokyo, Japan, July 22–24, 2013. Professor Osamu is a visiting professor for disability studies at the Research Center for Ars Vivendi at Ritsumeikan University and a council member of Inclusion International.

Correspondence: Nagase Osamu, Ritsumeikan University, 9-19-1-236 Konanku, Konandai, Yokohama 234-0054, Japan. Tel: +81 090 1707 6799; E-mail:


There are 130 ratifications by national governments around the world of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), adopted by the United Nations in December 2006. However, Japan has yet to ratify the CRPD. The author examined the social, political, and legal context in Japan, affecting the ratification of the CRPD and contrasted the approach taken by Japan with those of other countries that have ratified the CRPD and then embarked on local reforms. The author notes that in Japan, the disability rights movement has insisted that significant policy changes be undertaken before the government ratifies the CRPD. Consequently, in 2010, the Japanese government prepared a roadmap for ratification of the CRPD, which consisted of (1) a fundamental revision undertaken in 2011 of the Basic Law for Persons with Disabilities, including the fundamental principles of community living, prohibition of disability discrimination, and international partnerships; (2) a revision of services legislation in 2012; and (3) proposed for 2013, an establishment of an independent law to prohibit disability discrimination. Other areas of legislation and policy that underwent review include the education of children with disabilities, the prevention of abuse of persons with disabilities, and support to carers and the political rights of persons under adult guardianship. The author notes that there are a number of challenges ahead for the implementation of the CRPD and consequently the promotion of community living. However, it is posited that the comprehensive legislative and policy reform undertaken by the government of Japan, prior to ratification of the CRPD, will lay important foundations to enable Japan to fully comply with and take a leadership role in the implantation of the CRPD.