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Rights Make MightGlobal Human Rights and Minority Social Movements in Japan$
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Kiyoteru Tsutsui

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190853105

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190853105.001.0001

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Zainichi (Korean Residents in Japan)

Zainichi (Korean Residents in Japan)

From Citizenship Rights to Universal Human Rights

(p.82) 3 Zainichi (Korean Residents in Japan)
Rights Make Might

Kiyoteru Tsutsui

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the complicated history of Zainichi, Korean residents in Japan, who came to Japan during the colonial era. After 1945, Zainichi lost all citizenship rights and had to fight for many rights, but the division in the Korean peninsula cast a shadow over Zainichi communities, hampering effective activism for more rights in Japan. Focusing on the issue of fingerprinting—the most salient example of rights violations against Zainichi—the chapter demonstrates how, since the late 1970s, global human rights principles have enabled Zainichi to recast their movement as claims for universal rights regardless of citizenship and to use international forums to pressure the Japanese government, leading to the abolition of the fingerprinting practice. Zainichi achieved similar successes in other areas of rights except for political rights, where international norms do not clearly support suffrage for noncitizens. Zainichi also contributed to global human rights by advancing rights for noncitizen minorities.

Keywords:   Alien Registration Law (Gaikoku Jin Tōroku Hō), fingerprinting, Cold War, Sōren, Mindan, Japan-South Korea Basic Treaty, Hitachi Employment Discrimination Case, United Nations Human Rights Committee, United Nations Commission on Human Rights, United Nations Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, citizenship rights, nationality

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