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Friday, March 01, 2019, 15:00 - 16:00
"Recognition at last for Japan’s Ainu Community?"
Yuji Shimizu, Chairperson, Ainu Kotan no Kai
Satoshi Hatakeyama, Chairperson, the Monbetsu Ainu Association
Hiroshi Maruyama, Chairperson, the Citizens' Alliance for the Examination of Ainu Policy & Emeritus Professor, Muroran Institute of Technology
Morihiro Ichikawa, Lawyer

Language: The speech and Q & A will be in Japanese with English interpretation

For Japan's indigenous Ainu people it's been a long road. Until 1997, their lives and culture were still under the control of the "Former Natives Protection Law", first promulgated in 1899. Japan supported the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2007 and the following year, for the first time, the Japanese Diet officially recognized the Ainu as indigenous people. Now the Abe government wants to bring in a new Ainu Law in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The centerpiece of the law, to be put to the current parliamentary session, will be a hugely expanded National Ainu Museum and Park in the town of Shiraoi, which will be a focus of new Hokkaido tourism campaigns and will open in April 2020. The law is also expected to provide some support for other local government tourism, culture and regional development projects related to Ainu.

Many Ainu, though, are deeply concerned at the lack of community consultation in the creation of the new law, and feel their voices and their rights have been ignored. They have spent many decades struggling to be recognized as people with their own history, opinions and dreams for the future, rather than as tourist attractions. They want their voices to be heard by an international audience.

Morihiro Ichikawa is a Hokkaido-based lawyer who studied at Colorado University from 1999 to 2002. Yuji Shimizu is an Ainu elder. Satoshi Hatakeyama is a former fisherman and Ainu elder. Hiroshi Maruyama is emeritus professor of Muroran Institute of Technology.


Doors open for TV crew at 14:15, For all others at 14:30, still cameras included.

Please reserve in advance, 3211-3161 or on the website (still & TV cameras inclusive). Reservations and cancellations are not complete without confirmation.

Professional Activities Committee

Mar o1 19 PC Shimizu Hatakeyama Maruyama  Ichikawa002


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