1. Cross cutting issues
Development, the environment, and business and human rights
19. JS7 observed a misuse or abuse of budget formulation authority and was concerned that the government budget plan for Fiscal Year 2017 had a substantial reduction of about 6% for Ryukyu/Okinawa's development, compared with the initial budget for Fiscal Year 2016.
2. Civil and Political Rights
Fundamental freedoms and the right to participate in public and political life
26. HRN was concerned about the attempted state control of media and journalism, that may impact its independence through suggestions that it could revoke licenses based on Article 4 of the Broadcast Act, which called on broadcasters to be politically neutral and not distort facts. It urged refraining from misapplying the Act and reviewing the Specially Designated Secrets Act “SDA”. JS2 noted interference and forcible removal of journalists reporting the protest activities in Henoko and Takae and recommended Japan to guarantee the independence of media and press freedom including through conducting human rights training for law enforcement officers. JS2 was concerned the Japanese police used oppressive and violent measures against protesters and encouraged Japan to ensure and guarantee the freedom of peaceful assembly and expression particularly in Okinawa.
3. Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
Right to health
41. JS2 and JS14 were concerned that the United States (U.S.) military bases continued to cause grave health, environmental and social problems in Okinawa including “noise pollution”, aircraft related accidents, and land contamination. JS14 urged Japan to: conduct a survey on the safety of residents; to take effective measures, including the creation of “clear zones” at Futenma to protect and remedy the damage inflicted upon the local people; to approve on-site inspections in third country bases and training areas by the local government and civil society; to enact legal amendments necessary to protect the right of local residents to access water sources free from contamination; to conduct full-scale investigation of possible consequences of water contamination caused by constructing Self- Defense Forces (SDF) bases in the Miyako Islands and to publicize all findings.
Right to education
43. ACSILs called for inclusion of references to the historical existence of Lew Chew as an independent nation in textbooks. JS7 and JS11 were concerned that education textbooks did not adequately reflect the history and culture of the Ryūkyūans, urging the government to provide appropriate opportunities to receive education in the language of Ryukyu/Okinawa. JS7 recommended establishing an independent mechanism to monitor contemporary forms of discrimination against the people of Ryukyu/Okinawa.
4. Rights of specific persons or groups
47. JS12 noted that the number of U.S. military personnel in Okinawa was 68.4% of the total of the U.S. Forces in Japan. It was concerned that since the arrival of the Forces in 1945, sexual assault cases targeting women had not stopped and continued to threaten the safety of the women of Okinawa. It requested Japan to conduct a factual investigation and announce results on the exact measures taken by U.S. Forces in a transparent way, particularly those in Okinawa, similar to the reform made to the Bonn Agreement to allow the appropriate country's police to carry out a proper investigation on behalf of the victims of sexual assaults committed by American military personnel.
Minorities and indigenous peoples
60. AIPR, JS2, JS7 and JS11 were concerned Japan had neither recognized Ryukyuans as an indigenous people, nor taken measures to protect their traditional culture, history and language, JS2, JS7 and JS14 urged Japan to recognize the people of Ryukyu/Okinawa as indigenous people, and to take concrete measures to protect their rights to their traditional land and natural resources, ensuring respect for their right to engage in free, prior and informed consent in policies that affect them.
65. JS11 noted Japan voted in favor of adopting the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, but did not recognize the unconditional right to self- determination. JS14 and ACSILs were concerned that the Government is constructing new bases and facilities for the U.S. military and its SDF, despite local opposition. The construction of this new air base in Henoko and “helipads” for MV-22 Osprey aircraft in Takae in northern Okinawa Island impacted both the people living in those areas and the biodiversity-rich environment. The construction could also jeopardize the northern part of Okinawa Island’s bid for UNESCO’s World Natural Heritage status. They recommended to stop immediately the construction and start the immediate demilitarization and decolonization of Lew Chew.