Washington International Law Journal


Japanese government officials have recently indicated a willingness to relax restrictions that have prohibited Korean permanent residents of Japan from competing for local civil service jobs, though changes have not yet been forthcoming. The current bar on resident aliens has important symbolic and practical significance in a country widely criticized for its entrenched racism and for its lack of substantive civil rights law. This Comment traces the history and special circumstances of Koreans in Japan and argues that Koreans are already protected from most kinds of public employment discrimination by Article 22 (freedom to choose an occupation) and Article 14 (equal protection) of the Japanese Constitution. It also suggests a framework in which Japanese courts should consider claims in public employment discrimination cases, drawing on precedents and lessons from both Japanese and U.S. law.

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