Tokyo has passed a law banning discrimination against the LGBTQ community ahead of hosting the 2020 Summer Olympics. The law will help the city meet the Olympic Charter’s inclusion standards, and will include conducting a public education campaign about LGBTQ rights.
The law reads that “the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, citizens, and enterprises may not unduly discriminate on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation” and includes a government pledge to “conduct measures needed to make sure human rights values are rooted in all corners of the city and diversity is respected in the city.”
In 2014, in response to Russia’s passage of an anti-gay propaganda law shortly before hosting the Sochi Winter Games, as part of its “Olympic Agenda 2020,” the International Olympic Committee (IOC) ensured all future host cities would ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
“The Tokyo metropolitan government has enshrined in law its commitment to hosting an inclusive and rights-respecting Olympic games,” said Kanae Doi, Japan director at Human Rights Watch, which took part in the government’s open consultation for the act to fulfill the Olympic Charter’s human rights values.
“The authorities now need to put the policy into action and end anti-LGBT discrimination in schools, workplaces, and the wider society.”
Japan has not legalized same-sex marriage, and has no nationwide protections guarding against discrimination in housing and employment based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The country also requires transgender people to undergo gender reassignment surgery in order to obtain federal ID matching their gender identity.
Human Rights Watch does note that Japan has taken positive steps in recent years, with the Minister of Education releasing a guidebook for teachers covering how to treat LGBTQ students in 2016. That same year, the country, alongside the United States and the Netherlands, led a conference on anti-LGBTQ bullying.
Last year, the ministry announced it had revised the national bullying prevention policy to include LGBTQ students, and the country has twice voted for United Nations Human Rights Council resolutions to end violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.