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After the Ainu Shinpō: The United Nations and the Indigenous People of Japan

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Author(s): Crystal Porter

Journal: New Voices : A Journal for Emerging Scholars of Japanese Studies in Australia and New Zealand
ISSN 1833-5233

Volume: 2;
Start page: 201;
Date: 2008;
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Keywords: Japan | Ainu | indigenous people | United Nations | human rights

ABSTRACT
The Japanese Government recognised the cultural importance of their minority Ainu population in 1997. They designed a law to help protect the dying culture of the people; however the government has been less forthcoming to acknowledge indigenous aspects of the Ainu. Ten years after the creation of this law, the United Nations brought forward the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, a declaration to strengthen not only cultural rights, but also land and self-determination rights. Japan voted in favour of this declaration even though Japanese representatives have made mostly negative comments on the declaration.This article explores the significance of indigenous rights in Japan and how the Japanese Government uses the guise of upholding individual rights to ignore indigenous rights in Japan.
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