Irregular Foreigners‟ Right to Health in Japan: an Analysis From the Perspectives of International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

Yasuyuki Kato

Abstract


This paper aimed to analyze whether Japan fulfils its obligation as a State party to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) as regards irregular foreigners‘ right to health. In Japan, there are a great number of foreigners who reside and engage in activities (e.g. work) without proper documents. Due to their irregular status under the national law, these foreigners are restricted access to health care, including emergency medical care. This may be an infringement of international human rights standards set out by the ICESCR. Certain rights prescribed by the ICESCR are applicable to foreigners who are in an irregular situation. The paper focused on aspects of legal framework of the issue and conducted legal analyses of the ICESCR and the relevant laws and regulations of Japan. Through the analyses, the paper identified international standards of the rights concerned that States parties have obligations to ensure economic accessibility to emergency medical care by irregular foreigners. For the condition in Japan, the paper revealed that irregular foreigners are not guaranteed economic accessibility to emergency medical care due to their irregular status under the national law. The paper concluded that the concerned State practice of Japan was inconsistent with the international standards set forth by the ICESCR. The paper proposed recommendations to improve the condition. 


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References


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