Japan Apparel Makers Struggling with Uighur Issue

Economy

Tokyo, April 13 (Jiji Press)--Japanese apparel and other goods makers are struggling to cope with the alleged forced labor issue in China's Xinjiang Uighur autonomous region.

On Friday, an aid group for Uighurs and other parties filed a complaint with a Paris court against fashion giants including Japan's Fast Retailing Co. <9983>, the operator of Uniqlo and other clothing store chains, accusing them of profiting from forced labor of Uighurs, a Chinese ethnic minority.

Other Japanese firms, including Ryohin Keikaku Co. <7453>, the operator of Muji brand clothing and household goods stores, and sports goods maker Asics Corp. <7936>, are also pressed to make a tough decision about selling products that use cotton made in the Xinjiang Uighur region.

In China, Swedish fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz AB, or H&M, faced a consumer boycott after releasing a statement suggesting the possibility of not procuring cotton from Xinjiang due to forced labor concerns.

Japanese apparel companies, while worrying about being hit by such a boycott, are also wary of coming under a backlash in Japan and Western countries over poor human rights awareness, becoming caught in a dilemma.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press