Professor Edwards consulted with Ms. Katia Bennett, who is the U.S. Embassy’s First Secretary, Political Affairs. Ms. Bennett carries the Embassy’s human rights portfolio covering a wide range of issues such as trafficking in persons, rights of disabled persons, discrimination against LGTB (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) including LGTB youth, and other issues, including issues incorporated into the U.S. Department of States Country Human Rights Report on Japan. Congress mandates that the State Department complete a human rights report on each country of the globe each year.
Additional issues covered in the most recently published U.S. Human Rights Report on Japan include lack of due process for prisoners at the pre-trial stage in criminal proceedings, conditions of incarceration at prisons and detention centers, abuses of persons on death row, discrimination against ethnic minorities, exploitation of children including child pornography, domestic violence and sexual harassment against women, exploitation of foreign trainee workers, and the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law.
After returning to the U.S., Professor Edwards drafted a memorandum to the First Secretary outlining human rights proposals, particularly involving Japanese officials and others who may travel to the U.S. for further human rights briefings.
Instrumental in organizing the session was Ms. Rosie Edmond (EducationUSA Regional Education Advising Coordinator – REAC), who is also based at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo.