I saw the article reproduced below for the first time last night. The concept of a Japanese lawyer, particularly one such as Ms Otani, being appointed to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child was, to say the least, surprising.
NEW YORK – Lawyer Mikiko Otani on Thursday became the first Japanese independent expert to be elected to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child.
Otani, 51, and an Ethiopian candidate both garnered 152 votes, the highest among the nine experts elected to the committee.
“I think this is a result of trust in and expectation for Japan, rather than me. I want to try my best to help protect the human rights of children around the world,” she told Kyodo News.
Otani is an expert on international human rights law. She served as an alternate representative of the Japanese delegation to the U.N. General Assembly’s Third Committee on human rights in 2005 and 2006.
A native of Hirakata, Osaka Prefecture, Otani graduated from the Faculty of Law of Tokyo’s Sophia University in 1987. She earned a master’s of international affairs degree at Columbia University in 1999.
The committee, which monitors implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by its member states, is comprised of 18 individuals who serve four-year terms. Half of the group’s term will expire next Feb. 28.
Otani and the other eight new members will serve beginning next March through 2021.