Human Rights Initiatives


Basic Policy

The Otsuka group contributes to the health of people around the world by continuously creating new value, and recognizes that in order to continue sustainable growth, all business activities must be founded on respect for human rights. Based on this principle, we promote human rights initiatives across the group and work hard to consistently meet those responsibilities.


The Otsuka group joined the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) in 2016, and the next year signed the Women's Empowerment Principles (WEPs), which were jointly formulated by the UNGC and UN Women as a set of principles based on which companies should voluntarily promote the active participation of women. In addition to declaring our support for these initiatives, we will pursue the fulfillment of our corporate philosophy with an awareness of how social responsibility, including consideration for society and the environment, is integral to our businesses. In 2020, we formulated the Otsuka Group Human Rights Policy in accordance with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Based on this policy, we are promoting human rights initiatives across the Otsuka group.

Establishment of Human Rights Policy and Systems

Formulation of Human Rights Policy

The Otsuka group of companies recognizes that respect for human rights in every aspect of our business activities must be the premise upon which we build to meet the expectations of our stakeholders, create new value, and contribute to the health and wellbeing of people all over the world as we continue to grow sustainably. The Otsuka group supports and respects international covenants governing human rights as set forth by the United Nations International Bill of Human Rights (the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; the International Covenant of Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights) and the standards established by the International Labor Organization (ILO) in the Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. We also support and respect the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. As a signatory of the United Nations Global Compact, we support and respect the Ten Principles. Considering the content of these principles, we formulated the Otsuka Group Human Rights Policy in December 2020, and enacted it in March 2021. In formulating the policy, we conducted a human rights risk assessment* of Otsuka Holdings and the seven main operating companies. In the assessment, we organized, analyzed and identified the human rights risks that we should address throughout the value chain, taking into consideration the human rights issues specific to the Otsuka group, including those in the pharmaceutical and food industries, cases of risks that materialized in regions globally, and the group's business characteristics. Based on that assessment, we identified the salient human rights issues in the Otsuka group. We plan to continuously disclose our concrete initiatives for these issues on the Otsuka Holdings website.

  • *Risk assessment: Identification and assessment of adverse impacts (i.e., risks); the first step in due diligence.

Promotion Framework

Human rights initiatives are necessary in various areas. In the Otsuka group, three departments—the Internal Control, Human Resources and Sustainability Promotion departments—cooperate to promote initiatives for respecting human rights, under the Otsuka Group Human Rights Promotion Leader (an Otsuka Holdings director).

The Otsuka group also regularly conducts interviews at group companies on human rights risks, and has a system to continuously monitor and address human rights risks group-wide. By practicing the PDCA cycle outlined below, we make ongoing efforts to resolve the Otsuka group's salient human rights issues.

Human Rights Due Diligence

To fulfill our responsibility regarding respect for human rights, the Otsuka group identifies human rights issues related to our business operations, and we continually perform due diligence to prevent and mitigate any impact, as outlined in the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Human rights due diligence in the Otsuka group refers to the entire process of the PDCA (plan-check-do-act) cycle outlined below, which is repeated as part of this ongoing process to resolve salient human rights issues for the Otsuka group. The PDCA (plan-check-do-act) cycle outlined below is repeated as part of this ongoing process to resolve key human rights issues for the Otsuka group. Moreover, we hold regular internal interviews to determine risks to human rights and have established a framework enabling a continuing response to these risks throughout the group.

Salient Human Rights Issues in the Otsuka Group

As part of our human rights due diligence in the Otsuka group, human rights assessments of Otsuka Holdings and the seven main operating companies* were conducted from 2019 through 2020. Based on the results, we identified the Otsuka group's salient human rights issues described below, which express our commitment to stakeholders.

*Otsuka Pharmaceutical, Otsuka Pharmaceutical Factory, Taiho Pharmaceutical, Otsuka Warehouse, Otsuka Chemical, Otsuka Foods, and Otsuka Medical Devices

1) Related to Our Patients and Consumers

Otsuka Group contributes to the health and wellbeing of people throughout the world, through the creation of innovative products and services. As a total healthcare company seeking solutions for health-related issues, we recognize our responsibility to patients and consumers, always prioritizing the quality and safety of our products, and reinforcing our supply chain. When issues regarding our products or services become apparent, we will collaborate with relevant departments to collect and analyze information and develop appropriate responses, enabling us to continue to provide our valued customers with better products and services.

2) Related to Management and Employees

As a signatory of the United Nations Global Compact, we are committed to the elimination of forced labor and the abolition of child labor, as we aim to create comfortable work environments in which human rights are fully respected. To maintain fair and open workplaces, we strictly prohibit discrimination and harassment. As a total healthcare company, we strive to provide workplace environments in keeping with the principles of health and productivity management, in which management and employees are encouraged to take the initiative in developing and maintaining their own health.

3) Related to Our Business Collaborators

In keeping with the principles of the United Nations Global Compact, we share our concerns for human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption with our business collaborators and engage in ongoing dialogue and consultation to ensure respect for human rights across our entire supply chain.

4) Related to Society

We believe that efforts to reduce environmental issues are closely related to the issues surrounding human rights, and we will proactively and continuously engage in initiatives that benefit local communities and general society.

5) Related to Our Stakeholders

To fulfill our responsibility to respect human rights, we recognize the importance of ongoing dialogue and will proactively seek opportunities to engage with diverse stakeholders. We are also working to establish contacts and grievance mechanisms to address any human rights issues that may come to light.

Initiatives Regarding Respect of Human Rights

The Otsuka group implements an array of initiatives to ensure that employees and other stakeholders have respect for human rights.

Education and Awareness-Raising for Management and Employees

We are working to raise awareness of human rights among management and employees through a variety of initiatives.

  • Provide annual education for all employees of group subsidiaries based on the Otsuka Group Code of Business Ethics.
  • Provide annual education for all employees of group subsidiaries guided by the Otsuka Group Human Rights Policy.
  • Conduct internal training on bullying and harassment (including how to respond when there has been a report of harassment) for management and employees at each group company.
  • Conduct training that incorporates units on human rights as part of personnel training.
  • Raise awareness within the group using in-house newsletters and other educational materials.
  • Create training materials on human rights issues in promotional materials and advertising expressions to be checked by an organization that reviews these items, and distribute them as needed.
  • Every year Taiho Pharmaceutical conducts a survey on harassment for all employees.
    Create a system allowing employees to report harassment not only when it affects them personally but also when they see it in the workplace.

Initiatives related to Human Rights Risks—Supply Chain Transparency

We recognize that supply chain transparency is a particularly high-priority risk as a manufacturer whose operations extend from research and development to production and marketing. Therefore, we share with our business partners our consideration for human rights, labor, the environment and anticorruption measures, as we strengthen our sustainable procurement to further promote respect for human rights.

  • Revised Otsuka Group Procurement Policy in 2020
  • Established Otsuka Group Sustainable Procurement Guidelines in 2020
  • As of 2021, 126 suppliers have been briefed on sustainable procurement practices. People attending these briefings learn about the Otsuka Group Procurement Policy and the Otsuka Group Sustainable Procurement Guidelines and our expectations for compliance. These events are also opportunities to stay up to date on human rights and environmental issues and to hear about the group’s initiatives.
  • As of 2021, 136 companies, including some overseas, have been provided with common SAQs (self-assessment questionnaires) published by Global Compact Network Japan. We have been conducting a survey of our suppliers since 2020 that combines the human rights SAQs and environmental SAQs that we created independently based on the Otsuka group’s business activities. In 2021, we also conducted interviews with suppliers based on the results of all SAQs.



Internal Whistleblowing System

The Otsuka group has established internal whistleblowing systems at each group company to ensure that any illegal acts, including bribery, as well as violations of policies, laws and regulations, can be quickly uncovered and corrected. Rules for accepting reports extend beyond fulltime employees to include contract, dispatched, and parttime employees. In addition to the internal reporting systems, we have established a reporting system at the offices of an attorney and other external locations that can be accessed safely and anonymously and so that whistleblowers do not need to fear reprisals. Information about whistleblowers and their reports is strictly managed, and to prevent any repercussions, information is only shared with those who must know in order to conduct investigations and take correction action. Information on the operation the internal reporting systems at group companies is regularly reported at meetings of the Board of Directors of Otsuka Holdings.

Formulation of Otsuka Group Global Speak-Up Policy

The Otsuka group has established the Otsuka Group Global Speak-Up Policy with the aim of clarifying the basic principles of the internal reporting system and enhancing its effectiveness so that employees can speak up when they become aware of fraud, inappropriate behavior, or any action that goes against the group’s values, policies, or processes, or any other suspect behavior.
Basic Principles
・Employees have the right and obligation to report in good faith
・Information will be strictly handled
・Anonymous reports will be accepted
・Reprisals against anyone making a report are strictly prohibited
・Investigations, corrective action, and preventive measures will always be carried out for a reported violation

External Inquiries and External Whistleblowing Hotline

Otsuka Holdings and major group companies have established a whistleblowing hotline that accepts inquiries and opinions from external stakeholders and general customers. Further, certain channels of the hotline also accept anonymous consulting and reports.

Dialog and Collaboration

External Collaboration

The Otsuka group, as a signatory company of the UN Global Compact, is part of the Human Rights Due Diligence Working Group1, Human Rights Education Working Group2, Supply Chain Working Group, and WEPs Working Group3 of Global Compact Network Japan (GCNJ), and together with other participating companies and organizations, obtains knowledge that can be used in the Otsuka group's initiatives.

  • 1.Participating companies engage in activities and share information useful in their own concrete initiatives, using as reference the seven WEPs principles, which contribute to enhancing the international competitiveness of GCNJ signatory companies and improving gender equality in Japanese society.
  • 2.Deepening the understanding of human rights education and creating educational tools that can be used internally by all employees through teaching basic knowledge of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, lectures by experts, case studies from other companies, and interaction between participants.
  • 3.Promotes the efforts of each company through lectures by experts, progress assessments of company initiatives, workshops, group work and other activities to learn together about human rights due diligence initiatives based on the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

Other Initiatives

Commitment to Children’s Rights

The Otsuka group does more than work to eliminate child labor in Japan and overseas by also respecting children’s right to live, be protected, grow, and participate in society. The healthy upbringing of children as the leaders of the next generation is exactly what we have included in our corporate philosophy and business since our earliest days. We are making every effort to support the human rights of children in our business activities and social contribution activities.

Examples of Business Activities/Social Contribution Activities