Brad Adams from HRW - PC in Tokyo

Brad Adams, the Asia Director from Human Rights Watch was recently in Tokyo meeting with various NGO, government and press people. This was mostly an adovcacy trip and his main focus at the press conference was on Japan's diplomatic role and the importance of Japan's role.

He focused his talks on Myanmar, China, and Pakistan, and based his talk on the concept that Japan's role and prominence in the region could make a real difference.

Get more info from HRW's Burma report here : http://hrw.org/english/docs/2007/09/28/burma16974.htm

He also talked about the fact that no one from the Japanese government would meet the Dalai Lama during his nine-day visit here. Not surprising but after the visits to the US and Germany, we know that the China bark is worse than the bite. it is interesting than much of the press that followed this PC lead with this issue and not the meaty ones - Burma or Pakistan or even the local HR issues.

But several reporters were in terested in more local HR issues and this is something HRW will need to address here in Japan. thus far many NGOs and social movement organizations have been working on such a narrow focus that it has made it hard to cross broundaries for collaboration. the connection between the anti-terror/anti-nonJapanese work policies will need to be connected to big picture.

The lack of interest by the J public in local issues is mirrored by their lack of interest in HR issues across the board. we can find 101 reasons for this - pr strategy, activist skills, uchi/soto dichotomy etc. but it still needs to be dealt with by groups that want to go beyond their backyard work.

As a follow-up have a look at the Open Letter of Human Rights Watch to the ASEAN SG with regards to the Burma membership and role.

I was happy to see human rights issues getting some attention in Japan but I ma still convinced the key is to connecting local rights issues with those overseas.

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