197th Diet, House of Representatives, Judicial Affairs Committee, #2

House of Representatives, Judicial Affairs Committee, #2 (November 13th, 2018)

Page 23

207 Satoshi Ouchi

 I would like to answer your question.

 I would like to reply to your question on the status of the increase in transaction prices due to the increase in minimum wages, etc., in the survey on actual conditions of subcontracting transactions in the textile industry conducted by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry from February to March 2009, which is the last one in the handout.

 With regard to the textile industry as a whole, as shown on the right, 63.4% of the respondents said that there were no specific discussions and no increase, 6.0% said that there were discussions but no increase, and 9.3% said that as a result of discussions, only a part of the increase in the minimum wage and labor wage was raised.

 In addition, in the sewing industry in Gifu Prefecture, 53.1% of the respondents said that they did not hold any particular consultations and the wages were not raised, 16.3% said that they held consultations but the wages were not raised, and 20.4% said that as a result of the consultations, only a part of the increase in the minimum wage and wages was raised, for a total of 89.8%.

208 Yasushi Fujino

 As you have just answered, I think this is a valuable survey. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) itself has conducted various surveys in the textile industry, and in one of the surveys, they found that although the maximum wage is to be raised, the employers basically have to pay it. However, since the unit wage from the main contractor and the wages from the main contractor do not rise commensurately, it is impossible to raise the wages. In Gifu Prefecture, the situation is as high as 90%.

 Therefore, what I would like to say is that in this kind of situation, the people who are working as technical interns at the end of the so-called subcontractors, as well as the serious managers, want to pay their wages, and the maximum wage has been raised, but the important thing is that the wages from the main contractor are not going up. This is a very difficult situation.

 Minister, I think that we need to take a scalpel to the situation, but what do you think?

209 Satoshi Ouchi

 First of all, I would like to introduce the efforts of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

 In order to develop an environment in which small and medium-sized subcontractors can raise their wages through the optimization of subcontracting transactions, in September 2008, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry compiled the “Seko Plan” for future-oriented business practices.

 In addition, based on the contents of the amendment, the Guidelines for Subcontractors formulated by the Government were amended to include desirable trade cases, best practices, etc., so that appropriate subcontracting transactions between subcontractors and main subcontractors can be conducted. Regarding the handling of molds, which was one of the three priority issues in the Seko Plan, specific action plans were compiled in July 2009, including the disposal of molds, payment of storage fees, and development of manuals.

 Based on these efforts, we requested major industries to formulate voluntary action plans, and to date, 30 organizations in 12 industries, including the textile industry, have formulated and announced their plans.

 We would like to continue our efforts to improve subcontracting transactions, including the optimization of wages.

210 Yasushi Fujino

 I have taken this into consideration when you explained it to me, and I have also read the guidelines. However, when I ask whether there has been any improvement since then, I am not aware of it anymore. I think this survey itself is one survey, and I think it needs to be continued, but the actual situation has not improved.

 The same survey by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry also produced these results. Although the maximum wage was raised, on the other hand, the survey asked whether there was any reduction in the price of transactions compared to the past due to a unilateral request without consultation from the ordering business, and instead of an increase, a reduction was made, and unilaterally, without consultation.

 So, again, I would like to ask you, Mr. Minister, about this structure that already exists. Low wages, low wages. If we don’t take a scalpel to this problem and say, “Well, we don’t have enough manpower, so let’s use foreigners to make up for it,” this will not solve the problem but rather make it worse, won’t it, Minister?

211 Yasuhiro Hashi

 Justice Minister Yamashita, please be brief.

212 Takashi Yamashita

 First of all, I would like to say that in general terms, we are looking at the fact that even if we take measures to secure domestic human resources and improve productivity, we are still not able to do so. As part of those efforts to secure domestic human resources, we will also look at the status of treatment and other aspects that you have pointed out, and we would like to discuss these issues with the agencies in charge of the business or at the relevant ministerial meetings.

#213 Yasushi Fujino  I would like to point out that this is a very important point, and that without it, the inclusion of any number of items is meaningless.

 Finally, I would like to conclude my question by firmly requesting the submission of materials.

214 Yasuhiro Hashi

 This concludes the questioning of Mr. Yasushi Fujino.

 Next, Mr. Seiichi Kushida.

215 Seiichi Kushida

 I am Seiichi Kushida of the Japan Restoration Association.

 Congratulations on your appointment as the new Minister of Justice, Mr. Yamashita.

 In the ordinary Diet session, the Ministry of Justice amended laws that had not been amended for decades, and since I am a member of a minority party, I have asked questions in various committees. One of the issues I would like to ask you about today is joint custody.

 In July of this year, there was an article in the Yomiuri Shimbun with the headline, “Former Justice Minister Kamikawa expresses his willingness to consider joint custody. In his policy statement, he said that he would take over the baton from Minister Kamikawa. Is it correct to understand that this means that you will also consider joint custody?

216 Takashi Yamashita

 I would like to answer your question.

 First of all, regarding receiving the baton from the former Minister of Justice, I myself served as a parliamentary secretary under the former Minister of Justice. He did his best to realize a legal administration that is close to the people, to provide easy-to-understand explanations to the people, and to actively promote public relations both at home and abroad, and he steadily achieved results. One aspect of these efforts was seen in the enactment of bills in the ordinary Diet session.

 In doing so, Minister Uekawa has demonstrated the importance of the trust of the people, as the mission of the National Diet is to maintain law and order and to protect the rights of the people through the development of basic laws and regulations that form the basis of civil law, criminal law, and other laws and regulations that are familiar to the people.

 I would like to take over the legal administration that has been built up by Minister Kamikawa and his predecessors, and which has been trusted by the people. In addition, I would like to work together with Vice Minister Hiraguchi, Parliamentary Secretary Kadoyama, and the 53,000 employees of the Ministry of Justice to tackle issues with all hands on deck.

 Next, regarding the interview with the Yomiuri Shimbun in July, as you pointed out, I am aware that the Yomiuri Shimbun reported the article as you pointed out, but former Minister Kamikawa said that when he was in office, he wanted to maintain a humble attitude of tirelessly examining various issues in the parent-child legal system. So, in that sense, like the former Minister, I would like to continue to be humble. In that sense, like the former Minister, I would like to proceed with the necessary examination of various issues in the parent-child legal system from the perspective of giving top priority to the interests of children.

Page 24

217 Seiichi Kushida

 According to the newspaper, the article is quite specific: “We would like to consider a wide range of issues, including a review of the sole custody system.

 This time, there is also the issue of the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act. In that sense, I think it is a fact that the world is becoming more globalized. In that sense, there are two systems of custody, sole custody and joint custody. I would like to ask you which system, sole custody or joint custody, has been adopted in developed countries.

218 Atsushi Onose

 I would like to answer your question.

 Although we do not have an exhaustive grasp of the current situation in developed countries, we are aware that at least the G7 countries excluding Japan, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Canada, and Italy, have adopted the joint custody system after divorce.

219 Seiichi Kushida

 I think you just heard my answer, but among the developed countries, Japan is the only country that has sole custody. The rest are all joint custody. Why is it that only Japan has sole custody? As the world becomes more and more globalized, Japanese people will live abroad, and people from overseas will live in Japan. In such a situation, I think the way of parent-child relationship should become a global standard.

 I think that the Minister needs to start examining the reasons why our country has sole custody while other countries have joint custody.

220 Atsushi Onose

 First of all, I would like to respond to the point made by the Commissioner as to why the current law and the legal system in our country provide for sole custody.

 However, when the parents are divorced and are not living together, it may be difficult for the parents to communicate with each other and exercise their parental rights in a timely and appropriate manner.

 Thus, if parental rights are to be exercised jointly even when the parents are not married, there is a risk that decisions will not be made smoothly, which may be contrary to the interests of the child. In addition, in some cases, such as when there is a deep-rooted emotional conflict between the parents, it may not be possible to expect the couple to cooperate in exercising parental rights in the first place.

221 Takashi Yamashita

 As the Director of the Civil Affairs Bureau has just explained, there is a good reason why sole custody is adopted in Japan. There is also the question of whether it is appropriate for a bankrupt couple to exercise joint custody.

 However, in general terms, parents are still the parents of their children even after divorce. I believe that it is very important from the perspective of the interests of the child that both parents are involved in the child’s upbringing in an appropriate manner even after divorce.

 The Ministry of Justice has been providing necessary explanations and cooperation in such various situations, and we will continue to consider these issues in light of such discussions.

222 Seiichi Kushida

 I’m not saying that there are no harmful effects. I think that the reason why all other developed countries have joint custody is because there are additional benefits that exceed the negative effects.

 Sole custody means that only one person has custody. And what that means is that one of them will try to take over the custody of the child. Therefore, it is like a chicken and egg relationship, and in order to make one of them the sole custodian, it is easy to make one of them the bad guy.

 By having joint custody, there is no need to make one parent the bad guy in the event of a divorce. This is why I would like to see our country consider this issue as well.

223 Takashi Yamashita

 I would like to answer your question.

 As for sole custody, it does not mean that the other parent who is not recognized as the custodial parent is unqualified to be the custodial parent, but on the other hand, as I mentioned earlier, in general terms, even after divorce, the parent remains the same for the child.

224 Seiichi Kushida

 The U.S. has recognized Japan as a country that has failed to comply with the Hague Convention. There may be some amendments to the enforcement laws, but fundamentally speaking, I think that the way our country treats parents and children is also being criticized, and I would like to ask the Minister’s opinion on this recognition as a non-performing country.

225 Takashi Yamashita

 I believe that the recognition you pointed out is based on a report on international child abduction published by the U.S. State Department in May of this year. In the report, the U.S. Department of State, I believe, released a report on the issue of international child abduction in May of this year. In the report, the U.S. Department of State evaluated Japan’s efforts as having made improvements in reducing the number of cases of child abduction from the U.S. to Japan, but also evaluated Japan as lacking effective means of enforcing court orders for the return of children to the parents who took them. As you pointed out, in accordance with U.S. domestic law, the country was categorized as a country that shows a pattern of non-compliance. It is very unfortunate that the U.S. has unilaterally made this assessment.

 However, I also believe that it is important that the Hague Convention Implementation Act is properly implemented and that the return of the child is properly realized. Therefore, on the 4th of last month and the 4th of October, the Legislative Council submitted its report on the review of the civil execution law system. In the report, it was included that the procedures for the return of a child based on the Hague Convention Implementation Act should be regulated in consideration of the physical and mental burden on the child, while ensuring the effectiveness of the procedures.

 The Ministry of Justice will work on the drafting of related legislation based on this outline, and will also provide the United States with information on Japan’s efforts through diplomatic channels, in cooperation with relevant organizations, in order to deepen mutual understanding.

226 Seiichi Kushida

 Victims of domestic violence must be well protected. However, it is also a fact that there are parents who cannot see their own children. I would like to revise the joint custody system, which has been built up over a long history in other developed countries. I would like to take up this issue again in the future.

 That’s all for today. Thank you very much for your time.

comments powered by Disqus