On Oct. 12, 2005, the Tottori Prefectural Assembly approved Japan’s first human rights ordinance, a local law forbidding and punishing racial discrimination. In a land where racial discrimination is not illegal, this is an historic occasion. Even a clarion call: If even rural Tottori can pass this, what’s stopping the rest of the country? But history pushed back. Five months later, Tottori Prefectural Assembly unpassed the ordinance.
What went wrong? This is a cautionary tale on how not to create landmark legislation.