U.S., Japan Launch Task Force on Rights and Labor Standards in Supply Chains

The United States and Japan on Friday launched a new task force to promote human rights and international labor standards in supply chains and said they would invite other governments to join the initiative, Reuters reported. U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai signed a memorandum on the initiative in Washington with Japan's Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Yasutoshi Nishimura. Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper this week cited Japanese officials as saying the move was spurred by issues such as alleged forced labor of minority Muslims in China's Xinjiang region and the new body will aim to promulgate within Japan regulations that Washington has strengthened to tackle such problems. Tai and Nishimura said they would invite other governments to join the effort. "The United States and Japan cannot do this alone," Tai said at the ceremony. "To make this work, we must partner with all relevant stakeholders – worker organizations, businesses, and civil society – to bring about lasting and meaningful change. We must also invite other governments to join us as we push ahead to safeguard the dignity of workers everywhere." The signing came ahead of a visit to Washington next week by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida for talks expected to focus on shared concerns about China's growing might and other pressing international issues. Read more.