Senior executives from leading Japanese companies join Round Table on Business and Human Rights in Tokyo

October 23, 2023
Participants of the UNDP Business and Human Rights CEO Roundtable in Tokyo

On 16 October, senior executives from seven of Japan’s largest multinational companies joined the CEO Round Table on Business and Human Rights, hosted by UNDP in Tokyo. Through discussions with international and national experts, it was reaffirmed that top-level commitments are essential for promoting human rights due diligence (HRDD).

The round table aimed to foster collaboration among companies demonstrating a strong commitment to human rights and the implementation of HRDD, enabling them to share their practices and challenges. This collaboration aims to have a greater impact on specific issues related to HRDD and accelerate the implementation of HRDD across these companies and throughout their supply chains.

Since April 2022, with support from the Japanese government, UNDP has been implementing a project in 17 countries, including Japan. The project supports Japanese companies with global footprints in promoting respect for human rights throughout their supply chains. This support includes systematic training through the B+HR Academy on the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) and on human rights due diligence (HRDD) – a practice for enterprises to proactively manage the potential and actual adverse human rights impacts with which they are involved. It also includes individual guidance sessions for companies on how they can better manage their impacts on human rights in the countries in which they operate. 

Companies participating in the roundtable:
– IHI Corporation
– Asahi Group Holdings, Ltd.
– ASICS Corporation
– Kao Corporation
– Hitachi, Ltd.
– Mitsubishi Corporation

– Hideaki Umetsu, Partner, Mori Hamada & Matsumoto LPC
– Vanessa Zimmerman, CEO, Pillar Two
– Tatsuro Yuzawa、Head of Japan, PRI(Principles for Responsible Investment)
– Livio Sarandrea, Business and Human Rights Global Policy Advisor, UNDP
– Akiko Sato, Business and Human Rights Liaison Officer, UNDP

UNDP will continue to support companies in understanding the human rights impacts associated with their operations and establishing appropriate HRDD processes and policies to address them through research and training and the promotion of collaboration and the exchange of best practices.

The CEO roundtable was followed by the third edition of the B+HR Academy in Tokyo. Over the course of the training on 17-18 October, more than 30 representatives from Japanese companies deepended their understanding of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights through lectures by domestic and international experts, group exercises, and a panel discussion on the theme of stakeholder engagement.