RENGO Statements and Views

Statement on the Entry into Force of the ILO Convention on “Elimination of Violence and Harassment in the World of Work”

25 June 2021

1. First International Convention Dedicated to Harassment Enters into Force

The International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention No. 190 on the Elimination of Violence and Harassment in the World of Work entered into force today. The Convention, the first international standard dedicated to harassment, requires all ILO member states to adopt legislation to define and prohibit violence and harassment in a manner consistent with the Convention. Various forms of harassment and discrimination, including serious cases in which victims take their own lives, continue to occur. The entry into force of the convention must lead to a complete elimination of harassment.

2. The Convention Includes All Measures against Harassment, Including Third Parties.

The number of consultations on harassment submitted to RENGO has been increasing year by year, now accounting for the largest number of consultations received. Of these, problems such as harassment by customers and business partners, as well as torment suffered by job-hunting students at the hands of employees when visiting companies, have become more serious. The Convention is not limited in scope to employed workers and workplaces, but provides protection for all persons and situations in the world of work, including violence, harassment and domestic violence in relationships with third parties. In Japan, the acts related to harassment countermeasures came into force in June 2020, but a further strengthening of measures is necessary to meet the standards in the Convention.

3.The Japanese Government should Shift toward Ratifying the Convention.

When the bills related to harassment countermeasures were enacted, both the Upper and Lower House of the Japanese Diet adopted a supplementary resolution calling for “deliberations on ratification of the Convention after it comes into force.” The government, however, took a negative stance toward ratification, stating in its report on the Convention to the Diet, “We will continue to consider the legislation while taking into account the actual situation in Japan.” We have little option but to say that this is extremely regrettable given the weight of the Japanese government’s support for the adoption of the Convention at the International Labour Conference two years ago. The Japanese government should immediately begin discussions on legal amendments and ratification of the Convention.

4. We will Act in Solidarity with the International Community to Eliminate All Forms of Harassment

The entry into force of the Convention is the first step toward the realization of a society free from violence and harassment. Various forms of harassment, such as sexual harassment and power harassment, are rampant, and the suffering experienced by various kinds of workers, especially women, is continuing to increase. RENGO will continue to call on the Japanese government, one of the founding members of the ILO, to further improve domestic laws, including the prohibition provisions, and to ratify the Convention at the earliest possible date. RENGO will also act in solidarity with the international community to take all measures to eliminate harassment.

Yasunobu AIHARA
General Secretary
Japanese Trade Union Confederation