Recognition of the Ainu as an Indigenous People in Japan: Legal Implications for their Right to Traditional Salmon Fishing

In: International Journal on Minority and Group Rights
Author: Kamrul Hossain1
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The Japanese government legally recognized the Ainu as an Indigenous People in 2019. While the legislation is a step forward, it does not provide the Ainu with concrete rights applicable to Indigenous Peoples as those rights are set out in international legal standards, articulated in several human rights instruments and authoritative statements issued by both United Nations organs and the international treaty monitoring bodies. The most common issue concerning Indigenous Peoples’ rights is the practice of traditional livelihoods linked to their lands and resources. Particularly for coastal communities, traditional fishing has been recognized as an important livelihood for sustaining the people’s culture and their ethnic and cultural identity. This article explores the traditional fishing right of the Ainu, which has recently become a point of conflict given that existing local regulations jeopardize the right. The article critically examines the compatibility of the provisions of the conflicting local and national regulations.

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