Three bills relating to sexual harassment were submitted to the House of Representatives on April 10 by four opposition parties, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDP), the Democratic Party For the People (DPFP), the Reviewing Group on Social Security Policy, and the Social Democratic Party. The three bills were the “Bill on the Prohibition of Sexual Language or Behavior in Business Operations (referred to as the Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill),” the “Bill to partially amend the Act on Securing Gender Equality in Employment Opportunities and Treatment (the Equal Employment Opportunity Act concerning Sexual and Maternity Harassment Amendment Bill ),” and the “Bill to partially amend the Industrial Safety and Health Act (the Power Harassment Regulation Bill)” (The bills are listed in the order in which they were submitted, and English translations of titles are tentative).
Speaking with reporters after submission of the bills, Chinami Nishimura, Deputy Director of the Health, Labour and Welfare Division of the CDP, explained the background of the submission. She shared that the bill submitted by the government to amend the existing Act on Promotion of Women’s Participation and Advancement in the Workplace does address sexual and power harassment to a certain extent, however, the bill still contains some flaws. As a result of discussions within each party, the three bills were submitted in time for scheduled House of Representatives deliberations on the Act on Promotion of Women’s Participation and Advancement in the Workplace. Nishimura urged that “the three bills also be discussed at a plenary session as well as in committee.”
Nishimura further explained that the Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill is a new law to supplement the Act on Promotion of Women’s Participation and Advancement in the Workplace as a counterproposal. The new law is also intended to apply to freelancers and those engaged in job-hunting activities, and allows for alleged sexual harassment issues to be resolved by local governments and national administrative organs.
The Power Harassment Regulation Bill was jointly submitted by the CDP and the DPFP to the House of Councillors at the previous ordinary Diet session. The bill is to impose responsibilities on employers to prevent power harassment, as a part of the existing Industrial Safety and Health Act, which was made to secure the safety of workers.
Click here for more details of the respective bills (in Japanese).