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Japan's human rights envoy to U.N. resigns after outburst earlier this year

32 Comments

Japan's human rights envoy to the United Nations has resigned after an outburst earlier this year in which he told another delegate to shut up at a meeting in Geneva.

A Foreign Ministry spokesman in Tokyo said that ambassador Hideaki Ueda had resigned on Friday.

YouTube footage of the May 22 incident at the U.N. torture committee in Geneva provoked a storm of criticism on the Internet.

Blogging Japanese lawyer Shinichiro Koike, who said he was at the session, explained that a representative from Mauritius had criticized Japan's justice system, which does not allow lawyers to be present during interrogation.

Ueda, who appears to be not entirely at ease in English, had jumped to his country's defense. "Certainly Japan is not in the middle age," he says on the video. "We are one of the most advanced country in this field."

Koike writes that this comment provoked some giggling. "Don't laugh! Why you are laughing? Shut up! Shut up!" the ambassador shouts. "We are one of the most advanced country in this field. That is our proud. Of course, there are still shortages of course, shortcomings. Every country has shortages and shortcomings, but we are trying our best to improve our situation."

After the incident, Ueda was reprimanded by the Foreign Ministry but remained in his post until Friday.

© Japan Today/AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

32 Comments
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They gave him 4 months to clear his desk out - generous.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

Too late, may be his term was about to expire(?)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

That was a long amakudari period. Meanwhile human rights in Japan are still lagging behind other top nations.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Japan certainly is in the middle ages when it comes to lawyers present during questioning.

16 ( +19 / -3 )

Good riddance!

10 ( +11 / -1 )

gogogoSep. 22, 2013 - 05:06PM JST Japan certainly is in the middle ages when it comes to lawyers present during questioning.

Would it make a difference? Most lawyers get their referrals for cases from the police, and know very well that if they were to testify against the police it would mean the end of their criminal law career. Even if they beat you around the head with the telephone directory your lawyer would be unlikely to speak up.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

I hope the next envoy can speak reasonable English. It certainly helps in the credibility department. I often bury my face in my hands when some of my co-workers tell me they will 'go to business trip'.

7 ( +12 / -5 )

Readers, back on topic please. Please focus your comments on Ueda's outburst.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Jimizo And I am sure your coworkers do the same when you try to speak Japanese.

I would tell someone to shut up if they giggled at me as well.

-4 ( +9 / -13 )

The ambassadors discomfort with English shouldn't be the focus of our responses; in many cases a lot of us are in (or were in) Japan as part of the business of English teaching. Or rather, instruction, as for the most part few are actually 'teachers'. His outburst though was amazing and his removal should have been sooner. The typical right-wing vitriol in his defense on YouTube was eye-opening to say the least.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

I would tell someone to shut up if they giggled at me as well.

and you'd lose your job if your mission was to be diplomatic.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Meanwhile human rights in Japan are still lagging behind other top nations.

What does this even mean? Sheesh... you can point to incidents in nearly every "top" (civilized?) nation and come up with areas where the application of basic "human rights" is found wanting.

Even my own native Australia - the refugee camp in Nauru... it doesn't just tiptoe around human rights, it actively runs the other way.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Maria - I,d guess the 4 months period between his outburst and resignation was the necessary timeframe to either secure his full retirement benefits or to line up another amakudari job away from the spotlight. Quite possibly both.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

so he is gone, great !

2 ( +4 / -2 )

And now I think he is making many millions of yen doing another job even more worsely! Such a poor ambassador! Exactly bollocks talking!

-1 ( +5 / -5 )

The man's shortcomings in English is inexcusable. And I'm A Monkey, but, would like to thank the representative from Mauritius for pointing that out. That would make a huge differennce - a lawyer being present or not.

But "a video recording of the interrogation", being made as a requirement in law would be better. I don't wanna get hit on the head with a phone book. Whether yellow or white. Bananas are good. Right?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

As regard Ueda's outburst though; the represtentative from Mauritius had raised a valid point, Ueda's response was disingenuous - countries advanced in this area allow lawyers to be present during interrogations, so obviously Japan is not advanced in this area.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

@Cortes Elijah Perhaps they do. Then again, I'm a rank-and-filer, not an envoy to the UN.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Japanese ambassader with limited English> ? How come he was chosen> There are a bunch of diplomats who have studied in US top universities. Don]t Japanese schools have English as foreign language since 7th grade? Maybe this former ambassader never passed in his HS English.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I'm surprised this guy wasn't canned sooner.His poor English abilities, lack of emotional control and lack of communication skills to put it lightly begged the question of how he became UN Envoy in the first place.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

is there any video of interrogations at all? any?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

sf2kSEP. 22, 2013 - 10:19PM JST is there any video of interrogations at all? any?

No

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's hard to understand why a stone faced heartless old jiji was the human rights representative in the first place. Oh, hang on! Every Japanese politician is like that.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

He made a history to use Shut Up in UN. No one did. 3 times? No one will break his record. Japan i is not advanced in human right issue area. World now know Japan send his kind of people to represent Japan.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Go to youtube, paste, Japan's human rights envoy to U.N. resigns after outburst earlier this year.

You can hear him saying shut up 3 time, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkoQjIBA_3U&feature=player_detailpage#t=28

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Ossan: "I'm surprised this guy wasn't canned sooner.His poor English abilities, lack of emotional control and lack of communication skills to put it lightly begged the question of how he became UN Envoy in the first place."

For a change, we are in agreement. This man was definitely the wrong man for the job, to use euphemism. Now the bigger question is how he was chosen for it, and what he'll be handed next. Good riddance to bad rubbish. Hopefully they put in someone who will actually represent Japan, and not represent people like Ueda who are given positions of influence without any skills to back it up.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Why I have a five thumbs downs?

Can Ueda do a Diplomacy Job? NO!

Can he speak international language in a job of international need for English? NO!

Does anyone believe Japan's justice is best in a world? NO!

Did he make Japan ashame? YES! Is this punish? NO!

He made sackable problem months ago, he got nice salary FROM US for months and now he can go to nice amakudari job, being boor to Japanese staffs, because younger Japanese staffs know a system, and when Ueda talks a bollocks they will all say "Oh yes, your words are like a gold! Thank you for wise experience."

And new LDP-choice ambassador must be exactly same style useless fartymouth.

Exactly all is bollocks.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Are we talking about a "Mr. shut-up, shut up" guy here?

He is just a tip of iceberg. There are many unfit Japanese senior diplomats in the world. Was he offered a golden parachute (amakudari) post before he agreed to resign? If he did, Japanese government is not taking this issue seriously.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Well, he defended his country albeit in an unsophisticated and naive-sounding way. Google Mauritius, a binky little island that was home to the extinct Dodo bird.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

In fact I can prove that the Japanese legal system IS in the middle ages. Why do the Japanese try to cover up every problem in their system? Covering up does not help with improving your image, but destroys it ...

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Why do the Japanese try to cover up every problem in their system? Covering up does not help with improving your image, but destroys it ...

It's obviously covered up by the people who want to do the covering up i.e. people in power.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

giggling. Of cause. What he said was comical. These people have data of Japan's history of human right.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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