The UN Declaration Of The Rights Of Indigenous Peoples And The Ainu Of Japan: Development And Challenges

Yoko Tanabe

Abstract


The Ainu are an indigenous people who originally inhabited the Japanese island of Hokkaido and the far-eastern region of Russia. The Japanese government had for many years held the position that the Ainu are not indigenous peoples, rather one of the ethnic minority groups. However, in 2008, the National Diet of Japan recognized the Ainu as an indigenous people for the first time. In response to the historic Resolution, the Advisory Council for Future Ainu Policy (ACFAP) was established in August 2008 and Japans indigenous movement gained momentum. The purpose of this paper is thus two-fold. The first aim is to review the trajectory of Japans indigenous policies after the Meiji restoration of 1868. The second aim is to illuminate to what extent the rights of indigenous peoples stipulated in the Declaration are promoted in the current political context, specifically in Hokkaido. By reviewing the final report submitted by the ACFAP in July 2009 and the current discussion within the Council for Ainu Policy Promotion (CAPP), the study posits a future agenda in terms of the implementation of the Declaration at the national level.


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References


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