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Human Rights Watch’s public comment to the Tokyo Municipal Government on its “Outline: Tokyo metropolitan government regulation proposals to fulfill and uphold human rights values stated in the Olympic Charter ”

Human Rights Watch is a non-governmental organization that monitors and reports on human rights in over 90 countries around the world, including Japan. We have specialist teams that work on thematic issues, such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights. In 2016, Human Rights Watch published the 84-page report “‘The Nail That Sticks Out Gets Hammered Down’: LGBT Bullying and Exclusion in Japanese Schools”, which found that LGBT students in Japanese schools face physical and verbal abuse, harassment, and frequent insults from both peers and staff. Hateful anti-LGBT rhetoric is nearly ubiquitous, driving LGBT students into silence, self-loathing, and in some cases, self-harm.

Based on our global expertise on LGBT rights in and out of Japan, Human Rights Watch submits our public comment on the chapter 2 Promoting Deeper Understandings of Gender Diversity of the “Outline: Tokyo metropolitan government Regulations proposals to fulfill and uphold human rights values stated in the Olympic Charter.”


  1.       Add below phrase to the Duty of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and enterprises

TMG and enterprises may not discriminate against anyone on the basis of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, education, access to public facilities, and other spaces and activities.

  1.       Add below phrase to the objectives

To ensure that everyone is equal before the law, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

To recognize that same-sex attraction and gender non-conformity are natural variations of human experience and not to be seen or treated as social deviance or “mental disorders.”


The Japanese government has in recent years taken positive steps toward protecting LGBT people’s fundamental rights. The Ministry of Education (MEXT) published a 2015 directive on including transgender students in schools, and followed that with a “Guidebook for Teachers” in 2016. That same year, Japan, along with the United States and the Netherlands, led a UNESCO conference on LGBT student bullying. And in March 2017, the ministry announced it had revised the national bullying prevention policy to include LGBT students. Japan has also taken a leadership position on LGBT rights issues at the United Nations, by voting in favor of 2011 and 2014 resolutions in the Human Rights Council, and joining the UN Core Group. The Tokyo Municipal Government should translate Japan’s international leadership into domestic policy—in particular as the host of the 2020 Olympic Games.

The Tokyo Municipal Government should also implement Human Rights Watch’s recommendations as the host of the 2020 Olympics because, reflecting the IOC’s revision to its Host City Contract in 2017 to include human rights provisions as well as being consistent with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games states in its Sustainability Plan Version 2 that the Tokyo 2020 Games “aim to avoid causing or contributing to any discrimination such as race, colour, sex, sexual orientation…”and to “operate the Games in accordance with the UN’s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.”

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