What is the Ainu Association of Hokkaido?
The Ainu Association of Hokkaido (incorporated) (hereafter "the Association")
is an organization made up of Ainu who live in Hokkaido, which aims to
"work to improve the social status of Ainu people and to develop,
transmit and preserve Ainu culture in order to establish the dignity of
the Ainu people" .
1. Activities for the improvement of the social status of Ainu people
2. The provision of loans
3. Activities to establish jobs and promote education
4. Activities for the preservation, transmission and development of our ethnic culture
5. Interaction and exchange of information with various other indigenous
6. Management and operation of the Hokkaido Ainu Center (by commission
from the Hokkaido government)
7. Surveys, research and the collection of information
8. Other activities as necessary for the realisation of the Association' s aims.
History of Establishment
24 February 1946 Inaugural General Meeting establishing the Association.
13 March 1946 Legal incorporation as the Hokkaido Ainu Association approved
13 April 1961 Change of (Japanese) name to Hokkaido Utari Association.
1 April 2009 Change of (Japanese) name to Hokkaido Ainu Association.
* The word "Ainu" in Ainu language means "human" as compared to "kamui" (Gods), and is also the name of the Ainu as an ethnic group.
The word "utari" means "brethren" or "compatriot" .
|The United Nations Human Rights Monitoring System and Other Activities
In recent years, the living conditions, the state of human rights, and
legal standing of the Ainu people have been matters of concern for a number
of United Nations Treaty-based bodies and other UN systems. The periodic
report on the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights that
was first submitted by the Japanese government in 1980 neglected to acknowledge
the existence of the Ainu people in Japan as an ethic minority distinct
from the “Yamato” (Japanese) people.
Thereafter, in accordance with the treaty monitoring system, the Ainu people
were officially acknowledged as a distinct ethnicity of Japan, based on
the anthropological definition of ethnicity, though without any legal implications
(1991). Whether Japan’s domestic policy adequately corresponds to the United
Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is currently being
monitored. It is believed that this will aid the improvement of the domestic
environment surrounding the human rights of the Ainu people.
|References Concerning the Ainu by the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring
System (excerpts from most recent data)
I.. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cerd/cerds76.htm
Concluding observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
C. Concerns and recommendations
||The Committee recommends the State party take steps to further promote
the rights of the Ainu as an indigenous people. In this regard the Committee
draws the attention of the State party to its General Recommendation XXIII
(51) on the rights of indigenous peoples that calls, inter alia, for the
recognition and protection of land rights as well as restitution and compensation
for loss. The State party is also encouraged to ratify and/or use as guidance
the Convention (No. 169) concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent
Countries of the International Labor Organizations.
||The State party is also invited to provide in its next report further information
on the impact of:･･･(b) the 1997 Law for the Promotion of the Ainu Culture
and for the Dissemination and Advocacy for the Traditions of the Ainu and
the Ainu Culture･･･
||Committee on the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (E/C.12/1/Add.67)
||The Committee is concerned about the persisting de jure and de facto discrimination
against minority groups in Japanese society, and in particular against
the Buraku and Okinawa communities, the indigenous Ainu people and people
of Korean descent, especially in the fields of employment, housing and
||The Committee in concerned that the State party has not ratified certain
significant ILO (International Labour Organization) conventions, such as
the Abolition of Forced Labour Convention, 1957 (No. 105), the Discrimination
(Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958 (No. 111), and the Indigenous
and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989 (No. 169).
||The Committee encourages the State party to consider ratifying ILO conventions
No. 105, 111 and 169.
||Human Rights Committee
||General Comment No. 23 (1994)1
||With regard to the exercising of the cultural rights protected under article
27, the Committee observes that culture manifests itself in many forms,
including a particular way of life associated with the use of land resources,
especially in the case of indigenous peoples. That right may include such
1The recommendations and General Comment No. 23 to the Japanese Government
concerning Article 27 and the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights, under the jurisdiction of the aforementioned Human Rights Committee,
helped enhance the recognition of the Ainu in Japan and affected the ruling
in the Nibutani Dam lawsuit. activities as fishing or hunting and the right
to live in reserves protected by law. The enjoyment of those rights may
require positive legal measures of protection and measure to ensure the
effective participation of members of minority communities in decisions
which affect them.
||Concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee: Japan (CCPR/C/79/Add.102)(1998)
||The Committee is concerned about the discrimination against members of
the Ainu indigenous minority in regard to language and higher education,
as well as about the non-recognition of their land rights.
||Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (A/58/38) (2003)
||The Committee expresses concern about the lack of information in the reports
about the situation of minority women in Japan. It also expresses concern
at the multiple forms of discrimination and marginalization that these
groups of women may face with respect to education, employment, health,
social welfare and exposure to violence, including within their own communities.
||The committee requests the State part to provide, in its next report, comprehensive information, including disaggregated data, on the situation of minority women in Japan, especially with regard to their educational, employment and health statuses and their exposure to violence.
||Committee on the Rights of the Child
||Concluding observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child: Japan (CRC/C/15/Add.90) (1998)
||The Committee is concerned that the general principle of non-discrimination
(art. 2), the best interests of the child (art. 3) and respect for the
views of the child (art. 12), are not being fully integrated into the legislative
policies and programmes relevant to children, in particular in relation
to children from vulnerable categories such as those belonging to national
and ethnic minorities, especially Ainu and Koreans, children with disabilities,
children in institutions or deprived of liberty and children born out of
wedlock. The Committee is particularly concerned about unequal access by
children of Korean origin to institutions of higher education and the difficulties
encountered by children in general in exercising their right to participate
(art. 12) in all parts of society, especially in the school system.
||It is the Committee's view that further efforts must be undertaken to ensure
that the general principles of the Convention, in particular the general
principles of non-discrimination (art. 2), the best interests of the child
(art. 3) and respect for the views of the child (art. 12), not only guide
policy discussions and decision-making, but also are appropriately reflected
in any legal revision, judicial and administrative decisions, and in the
development and implementation of all projects and programmes which have
an impact on children. In particular, legislative measure should be introduced
to correct existing discrimination against children born out of wedlock.
The Committee also recommends that discriminatory treatment of minority
children, including Korean and Ainu children, be fully investigated and
eliminated whenever and wherever it occurs. Furthermore, the Committee
recommends the same minimum age for marriage of boys and girls.
||Concluding observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child: Japan
||The Committee is concerned that legislation discriminates against children
born out of wedlock and that societal discrimination persists against girls,
children with disabilities, Amerasian, Korean, Buraku and Ainu children
and other minority groups, and children of minority workers.
||…. The Committee recommends that the State party undertake all necessary proactive measures to combat societal discrimination and ensure access of basic services, in particular for girls, children with disabilities, Amerasians, Koreans, Buraku, Ainu and other minorities, children of migrant workers and refugee and asylum-seeking children, through inter alia public education and awareness campaigns.
||The Committee ･･･. is concerned that:
f) children of minorities have very limited opportunities for education in their own language;
||The Committee recommends to the State party:
d) expand opportunities for children from minority groups to enjoy their
own culture, profess or practice their own religion and use their own language;
For the advancement of the policy related to the improvement of the living
conditions of the Ainu people and the special consideration granted to
the promotion of Ainu culture, we sincerely offer our gratitude.
In 1988 the Hokkaido Ainu Association called for the enactment of legislation on behalf of the Ainu people, resulting in the ratification of the Law for the Dissemination and Promotion of Ainu Culture in 1997.
However, in relation to the establishment of the comprehensive policies
contained in the request for Ainu legislation, after The United Nations
Declaration for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was not adopted, a Colloquium
of Experts (The Advisory Panel to the Chief Cabinet Secretary) on the “Measures
Necessary for the Utari” spoke in their written report of the distinct
ethnic and indigenous characteristics of the Ainu people and declared that
the fundamental arguments related to the Indigenous Peoples, having been
influenced by such things as the annals of legislation and International
Covenant of Human Rights, were not included, and stated that the comprehensive
policies have never before been reviewed.
In August of last year (2007), having won the majority agreement, the United
Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted. However,
on January 21 of this year (2008), during the full session of the House
of Representatives, Prime Minister Fukuda explained that “Presently, given
that there is no established International definition of Indigenous Peoples,
we cannot hand down a final decision on the state of the Ainu as an Indigenous
The Ainu people have been recognized as an Indigenous People by the United
Nations and ILO, and according to the widely quoted definition in KOBO
reports, without any reasonable doubt fall under the category of an Indigenous
People. Additionally, even according to the following documents and trial
verdicts of our own country, the qualification of Ainu as Indigenous People
is clear. Furthermore, the four countries that vetoed the declaration at
the time in which it was adopted had previously been working towards an
aggressive policy for the rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Based on these facts, we ask for the special consideration of Prime Minister Fukuda for the recognition of the Ainu as an Indigenous People under the United Nations Declaration for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and urgently press for the incorporated rights considered by the Colloquium of Experts to be formally established and for legal actions to be taken for the improvement of the socioeconomic statuses of the Ainu People.
Archives of Japan; Tokugawa Foreign Relations Document Division 3. 1853 (Kaei 6) 389-409
“Dainihonkomonjyo” Territory Negotiations with Russia state in multiple forms that“Considering that the Ainu are the people of Ezo, and the Ainu are a people of Japan, then the land on which the Ainu live is part of Japan.”
Alien Land Act 1910 “Gaikokujinnotochishyoyunikansuruhouritsu”
In response to the revision of international conventions, The Alien Land
Act, permitting non-Japanese residing in Japan to own land, was revised
to state that Hokkaido, Taiwan and Karafuto (Sakhalin) are colonies of
the Japanese Imperial Government and, as such, are regions of exception
to the law, for the reason of submitting a legislative bill to the Imperial
Hunting Control Act 1911 “Rakkoottoseijyouyaku” <records2-3>
The United States, Russia, Canada, and Japan ratified an international convention positing that the Native American, Aluet, and Ainu people, as indigenous people, have the comparable right to hunt.
Sapporo District Court; Nibutani Dam Decision 1997
Ruled that Indigenous People, as stipulated by the International Covenant
on Human Rights Agreement B Clause 27, have Cultural Rights.
Heisei 20 (2008) May 22
Prime Minister of Japan Mr. Fukuda Yasuo
Ainu Association of Hokkaido Executive Director Mr. Kato Tadashi
|Overview of the Legislative Annals of the Indigenous Ainu People
(The Treatment of the Ainu People varies by era, negotiation partner,and
||Land, natural resources and the various nature of relations of the Ainu People derived from them
Especially the plundering of land and resources, the forced assimilation and forced migration of the Ainu people, etc.
That which was seized by the two constitutions and the functions of the Positive Law (The Hokkaido Former Aborigines Protection Act etc.)
The territory, people (subjects) legally bound and decision making (the right to decide).
The lack of consistency in and confirmation of the government’s written
reports to the UN-SYSTEM
The United Nations and ILO (Indigenous Peoples) standards for human rights shed light on the relevant laws
○● Conclusion of the Treaty of Shimoda (Russo-Japanese Friendship Pact)
(Refer to Archives Previous in the Petition)
||○● Garutoneru Incident (Prussian) 99 Year lease contract was dissolved,
reparations paid by Meiji Government
● Meiji Government (Population of Hokkaido 60,000 including Ainu)
● Four Land Laws (allocation of land to Japanese only- cannot petition
● Treaty of Saint Petersburg (ratified 1875)
1875 Karafuto Ainu, 1884 Chisima Ainu (and others) forced relocation
○ Promulgation of the Japanese Imperial Constitution Meiji Constitution
○ Hokkaido Former Aborigines Protection Act (Land first issued to Ainu)
i. Land Grants
ii. Community Property <Inportant> For the nature of the community
（Refer to data #3）
○ Alien Land Act (Hokkaido as a Colony)
● Conclusion of the Fur-Seal Protection Convention
(The Ainu addressed as “Aborigines”, acknowledging indigeneity)
The United States, Russia, Canada, and Japan ratified an international
convention positing that the Native American, Aluet, and Ainu people, as
indigenous people, have the comparable right to hunt. （Refer
to records 2-3）
○ Promulgation of the Japanese Constitution
Establishment of the Homestead Act
Hokkaido Former Aborigines Protection Act comes into practical disuse
○● Japanese Government submits written report to ILO Report VIII (2)
（Refer to data #7）
Relating to the state of the lifestyle and manual labour of the Indigenous
People residing in an independent nation, (stated that there were no Indigenous
People due to complete assimilation into Japanese society)
○ Subsidy for the Improvement of Local Facilities
○ Hokkaido Utari Welfare Measures/ Measures for Improvement of Socioeconomic Status
● Recommendation for the Monitoring Committee of Convention on Human Rights
(Refer to Previous Material)
○● Ratification of the International Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
○● Sapporo District Court Decision on the Nibutani Dam Lawsuit
(Refer to Nibutani Dam)
With the assistance of the International Covenant on Human Rights Agreement B, Clause 27, the Ainu are thought of as an Indigenous People
○ Ainu Cultural Promotion Act ＜Only promotes culture＞
●“United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples”
The Current, Real Socioeconomic Conditions of the Ainu People
○ Presently, of Ainu people over the age of 55, only 60% are junior secondary
school graduates as a result of needing to support their families.
○ The percent of people receiving welfare benefits in Hokkaido, after Osaka at 1.8
times greater than the national average, is 1.6 times greater than
○ The percentage of Ainu people attending college is at 17.4% less than
national average, which is at approximately 50%.
We the Ainu are the Indigenous People of Japan
The Panel of Experts to the Cabinet Secretariat requests the sincere consideration
of Japan’s Cabinet Office:
Overview of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People
The legal framework of International Human Rights acknowledges that Indigenous
People, as a group or as an individual, possess all human rights as well
as the fundamental freedom to enjoy those rights. These rights also include
rights to ones own culture, rights to educations, and economic rights,
in addition to the rights to owns land and resources. As a result of the
dialogues between Indigenous People and the sovereign states, we press
for the fulfillment of duty for social justice.
Indigenous peoples have the right to the full enjoyment, as a collective
or as individuals, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms as recognized
in the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights and international human rights law
Indigenous peoples and individuals are free and equal to all other peoples and individuals and have the right to be free from any kind of discrimination, in the exercise of their rights, in particular that based on their indigenous origin or identity.
Indigenous peoples have the right to self-determination. By virtue of that
right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their
economic, social and cultural development.
Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinct
political, legal, economic, social and cultural institutions, while retaining
their right to participate fully, if they so choose, in the political,
economic, social and cultural life of the State.
1. Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right not to be subjected to forced assimilation or destruction of their culture.
Indigenous peoples shall not be forcibly removed from their lands or territories.
No relocation shall take place without the free, prior and informed consent
of the indigenous peoples concerned and after agreement on just and fair
compensation and, where possible, with the option of return.
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to practice and revitalize their cultural traditions and customs. This includes the right to maintain, protect and develop the past, present and future manifestations of their cultures, such as archaeological and historical sites, artifacts, designs, ceremonies, technologies and visual and performing arts and literature.
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to manifest, practice, develop and
teach their spiritual and religious traditions, customs and ceremonies;
the right to maintain, protect, and have access in privacy to their religious
and cultural sites; the right to the use and control of their ceremonial
objects; and the right to the repatriation of their human remains.
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to revitalize, use, develop and transmit to future generations their histories, languages, oral traditions, philosophies, writing systems and literatures, and to designate and retain their own names for communities, places and persons.
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to establish and control their educational
systems and institutions providing education in their own languages, in
a manner appropriate to their cultural methods of teaching and learning.
2. Indigenous individuals, particularly children, have the right to all
levels and forms of education of the State without discrimination
1. Indigenous individuals and peoples have the right to enjoy fully all
rights established under applicable international and domestic labour law.
Indigenous peoples have the right to participate in decision-making in matters which would affect their rights, through representatives chosen by themselves in accordance with their own procedures, as well as to maintain and develop their own indigenous decision making institutions.
1. Particular attention shall be paid to the rights and special needs of indigenous elders, women, youth, children and persons with disabilities in the implementation of this Declaration.
2. States shall take measures, in conjunction with indigenous peoples,
to ensure that indigenous women and children enjoy the full protection
and guarantees against all forms of violence and discrimination.
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to their traditional medicines and
to maintain their health practices, including the conservation of their
vital medicinal plants, animals and minerals. Indigenous individuals also
have the right to access, without any discrimination, to all social and
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired.
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to redress, by means that can include
restitution or, when this is not possible, just, fair and equitable compensation,
for the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally
owned or otherwise occupied or used, and which have been confiscated, taken,
occupied, used or damaged without their free, prior and informed consent.
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to determine and develop priorities
and strategies for the development or use of their lands or territories
and other resources.
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to determine their own identity or membership in accordance with their customs and traditions. This does not impair the right of indigenous individuals to obtain citizenship of the States in which they live.
Indigenous peoples have the right to determine the responsibilities of
individuals to their communities.
Indigenous peoples have the right to have access to financial and technical
assistance from States and through international cooperation, for the enjoyment
of the rights contained in this Declaration.
1. Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, people, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act contrary to the Charter of the United Nations or construed as authorizing or encouraging any action which would dismember or impair, totally or in part, the territorial integrity or political unity of sovereign and independent States.
TO GO WITH #3 (1899- Hokkaido Former Aborigines Protection Act)
Explanatory statement of the Hokkaido Former Aborigines Protection Act
Since the beginning of the Meiji era, measures have been taken for the protection of the indigenous people of Hokkaido in accordance with the Emperor’s philosophy of loving all of his subjects equally, without discrimination. However, even now they have not adequately brought said measures into fruition. It would seem that the indigenous people, being unenlightened and beyond the reach of the benevolent influence of the Emperor’s Government, experienced the exploitation of the land to which they had for centuries entrusted their lives, and, as time passed, began to lose the foundation of their way of life, and were plunged into a state of poverty and hardship. It is an irresistible course of nature that the superior get the better of the inferior. Nevertheless, upon witnessing the indigenous people fall under grave circumstances, the Japanese could not abandon them in their suffering. In order to alleviate their plight, suitable industry will be created, thus increasing the family income, which fulfills the duty of the state and complies with the wishes of the emperor.
TO GO WITH #3 (1899- Hokkaido Former Aborigines Protection Act)
The Hokkaido Former Aborigines Protection Act and the Nature of the Shared Property
In the beginning of the Meiji Era, the colonizing development paid off the salaries left over from the Edo period. They gave food and clothing to the indigenous people, and supplied them with fishing instruments and industry. They were also allowed to partake in hunting for industry. The new government then deposited those earnings and tactfully managed their appropriation. Then, in Meiji 32 (1899), in accordance with the Protection Act, as the approved legal terms of the indigenous peoples’ common resources, the total sum of the cost of living for food, clothing and shelter came to be supplied by the government.
They supply utensils for occupation and industry (such as fishing) and organized an association of the former aborigines fishing industry. The earnings of such industry were deposited with board of development. With the collaboration with the former aborigines as a goal, a source of revenue to hold the earnings was established.
If there was a deficiency, the national treasury was to determine the expenditure, however, with the impact of WWII, after ratification to the act in 1937, there was almost no enforcement.
The appropriation of expenditures for the promotion of Ainu culture in combination with appropriated communally owned land. (1997)
TO FOLLOW #3
Uepeker (Commentary) on Common Land and Salmon Fishing
Prior to the Former Aborigines Protection Act, the Ainu would divide the salmon that the Ainu caught on their ancestral land into parts that were edible and those that should be saved, thus ensuring a lasting stockpile.
After the implementation of the Protection Act, the ancestral lands came under the exclusive rights of the Hokkaido Prefectural Government, with little practical use. Should one consider the parallels between the aforementioned resources, the background and logic of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People can easily be understood.
On a similar note, people like the late Mrs. Shirasawa Nabe huchi (1906) and the late Mrs. Oda Ito huchi (1911) of Chitose said that when they were children, they would go salmon fishing in dugout canoes with their families...
The late Kayano Shigeru (1926), when he was a young boy, wrote of the serious events regarding salmon that occurred right in front of him...
He retold the deeply sad scene of his father being arrested by police officers, who didn’t even remove their shoes when coming inside, as he cried from the eye on the undamaged side of his face, after they had discovered him fishing for salmon in order to sustain his family.
To think of how, as a young boy I saw how, for the sake of our family, my father went and bravely volunteered his body, makes my chest tighten with sadness.
Our Land Was a Forest：Asahi Archives
Until just the generation before ours, the Ainu people have been continuing to live this way. Since, for however many hundreds or thousands of years, we have lived by salmon fishing, we want the importance of this to our ancestral history to be understood!
Really, I don’t thinking talking about the indigenous rights of the Ainu is that unreasonable of a thing to do...
I think it’s the social norm under democracy to pursue substantial social justice!
We need to change how we look at the lifestyle of today’s Ainu, and from there move for improvement- through speaking and listening to one another (Ukochyaranke).
We ought to set an example for all the children of the future- we want them to have dreams and hopes.
TO GO WITH #7 (1956- Japanese Government submits written report to ILO)
Number 1 Chapter: Response from the Government
p.4 Summary Report
The Government considers that no international instrument for the protection and integration of indigenous populations in needed as far as the Ainu are concerned. The latter are not “indigenous peoples” within the meaning of Report VIII (1); the Government accordingly does not consider it necessary to make observations on individual points of the questionnaire. At present the Ainu are so thoroughly assimilated into the nation at large that peculiarities of language, custom, culture, living conditions and so on have ceased to exist. The Ainu enjoy not only the economic, cultural and social advantages attached to Japanese citizenship, but the political and legal ones as well.
| Comments that span the entire roll-chart
||Resource #3 and Uepeker are an account of the Salmon fishing and ancestral
land (especial common land, resources, and fisheries) that lay at the heart
of the livelihood of the Ainu and the manners in which relations have changed
or stayed the same from the Edo period to today.
||Resource #7 explains that, in 1956, under the current constitution, the
ILO conducted an inquiry of the living and employment conditions of the
indigenous people throughout countries all over the world. However, there
was only perfunctory, pre-war data reported from Japan. The 2006 survey
of the current state of the living conditions of the Ainu made the inaccuracies
very clear. This time, with mutual relations to international agencies
like the ILO, there is the opportunity and need to ratify the United Nations
declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
With the synthesis of the changes of international standards and annals of legislations etc., and the current state of living conditions, a cabinet secretary for future oriented measures for indigenous minorities and summary history deliberation agency, and permanent governmental office are necessary.