Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga
Cabinet Secretariat, Government of Japan
1-6-1 Nagata-chō, Chiyoda-ku
Tokyo 100-8968, Japan
Re: National Law Needed by 2020 Tokyo Olympics to Protect against Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity
Dear Prime Minister Suga,
The undersigned 116 organizations urge you, in advance of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games, to introduce legislation that would protect people in Japan from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
The Olympic Charter expressly bans “discrimination of any kind” including on the grounds of sexual orientation as a “Fundamental Principle of Olympism.” Japan has also ratified core international human rights treaties that obligate the government to protect against discrimination, including the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
The Tokyo 2020 Summer Games have been advertised as celebrating “unity in diversity” and “passing on a legacy for the future.” We recall former Prime Minister Abe’s March 2015 speech proclaiming Japan’s intention to “stamp out discrimination and respect human rights.”
With a worldwide audience of billions for the Tokyo Olympic Games, Japan will be in the global spotlight in an unprecedented way. This is an important opportunity for you to showcase the government’s commitment to include lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in society.
The current lack of legal protections in Japan for LGBT people does not meet the requirements of the Olympic Charter, the Olympic Agenda 2020, or international human rights standards.
In October 2018, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government adopted an ordinance that protects LGBT people from discrimination in line with the Olympic Charter. While a promising step, Japan has not yet enacted national anti-discrimination legislation that includes LGBT people.
Since several Tokyo 2020 competitions, including the marathon and race walk, golf, fencing, and surfing, will take place outside of Tokyo - in Hokkaido, Saitama, Chiba, Shizuoka, Kanagawa, Miyagi, and Fukushima prefectures - LGBT Japanese fans, athletes, and foreign visitors will not be protected under Tokyo’s anti-discrimination ordinance.
Although Japan has increasingly taken a leadership role at the United Nations by voting for both the 2011 and 2014 Human Rights Council resolutions calling for an end to violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, LGBT people in Japan continue to face intense social pressure, and have fewer legal protections than their peers.
In her September 2013 International Olympic Committee Host City election speech, “Cool Tokyo” Ambassador Christel Takigawa promised Japan will welcome everyone with the unique hospitality known as “omotenashi.” She said, “we promise that we provide every visitor with memories to last a lifetime.” Former Prime Minister Abe was also present at the Host City election and promised Japan is a “true believer in the Olympic movement.” However, under the current legal system, the government of Japan is allowing that LGBT people, athletes, coaches and fans may not receive a welcome of “omotenashi.”
Public support for LGBT equality has surged in Japan in recent years, highlighting the importance of inclusive hospitality during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Recent surveys show that 3 to 10 percent of people in Japan identify as LGBTQ (see Dentsu Inc. and Osaka city), and 83 percent of the Japanese public supports the Tokyo municipal LGBT non-discrimination ordinance.
With such strong national support and the Olympic imperative, we the undersigned groups urge the Japanese government to enact a law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity to uphold the Olympic Charter and bring domestic law in line with international human rights standards.
Prime Minister Suga, we respectfully ask that you:
Immediately, publicly commit to the introduction of a national law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity; and
Direct the drafting of an anti-discrimination bill on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity and introduce the law for passage to the National Diet session in advance of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Athletes for Human Rights
Football Supporters Europe
Human Rights Watch
ILGA World (The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association)
The International Confederation of Trade Unions (ITUC)
Outright Action International
Transparency International Germany
World Players Association
Wrestle Like a Girl
Amnesty International Japan
SR LGBT &Allies
Sexualities and Human Rights Network ESTO
Rainbow View MIYAZAKI
LGBT Support Council Ishikawa
Policy informatics center of LGBT
Legal Allies for LGBTs in Kyushu
LGBT Families and Friends
SHG for LGBT
Japan Alliance for LGBT Legislation
OLQ/Over the Rainbow
Over the Rainbow
Nijiiro-SKY for families & partners of LGBT
NPO Colorful Change Labo
NPO Colorful Blankets
Kansai Tongzhi Association
Japan Sexual Minorities Support Network for Social Inclusion
NPO Kochi Help Desk
Gender and labor study group
Japanese Association of Sexual Health
Project Japan Women's & Human Rights Network
The new c team
Sukotan Social Service
Seino Tayouseito Kyouiku Hiroshima Renrakukai
Sexual minority Diversity Kurihara (color calibrations)
All Japan Women's Shelter Network
Social Ally Konatu Hut!
SOGIE support team kokoColor
Diversity Lounge Toyama
Take it! nyizyi
Tokyo Deaf LGBT bond
NPO TOKYO RAINBOW PRIDE
Same-sex Partnership Net Japan
Trance Gender Café
Nakano LGBT Network NIJIIRO
Nakusou! SOGI Harassment Committee
NPO Nijiiro Diversity
Nijiirono-Hinata for LGBT youth
Hamamatsu Transgender Society
Be my friend! LGBT
Fruits in Suits Japan
Machidashi Nijiiro sazanka
Marriage for All Japan
marugame rainbow parade
Approved Specified Nonprofit Corporation Exotic club
Rainbow Alliance Okinawa
NPO Rainbow community coLLabo
NPO Rainbow Soup
Rainbow Tokyo Kitaku
NPO Rainbow Toshima
Rainbow Knots LLC
Rainbow Heart TOYAMA
Rainbow Fellows Nagano
Rainbow foster care
Regumi Studio Tokyo
Youth UP campaign