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Revise Regressive Law Compelling Irreversible Surgery

A Japanese transgender man, Gen Suzuki, 46, has filed a court request to have his legal gender recognized as male without undergoing sterilization surgery as prescribed by national law. His case highlights the urgent need for Japan to revise its…
People take part in a rally to support the LGBT legislation in Shibuya district of Tokyo, Japan on June 6, 2021.
News

Hundreds of Thousands Prevented from Returning to Japan

An historic court hearing is set to begin next week in Tokyo as five North Korean escapees in Japan seek compensation for human rights abuses they suffered in North Korea after joining a resettlement program based on the false premise that North Korea…
Escapees from North Korea and their supporters march to the Tokyo District Court to file a lawsuit against the North Korean government for violating their human rights, August 20, 2018. 
News

Global Magnitsky-Style Act Would Help Curb Rights Abuses Abroad

Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) will hold its party presidential election on September 29. The winner will almost certainly become Japan's next prime minister. Four candidates – two women and two men – are running: the former foreign…
Myanmar residents in Japan stage a protest rally in Tokyo on August 1, 2021. 
News

Summit Meeting Key Opportunity to Address Vaccine Inequities

Leaders from the “Quad” countries – the United States, Japan, India, and Australia – will hold their first in-person summit in Washington, DC, on September 24, amid a global Covid-19 vaccine shortage crisis and deeply inequitable access to vaccines.…
Activists stand outside Pfizer Headquarters demanding US President Joe Biden support the "TRIPS Waiver" in New York, NY on April 22, 2021.
News

Sports Federations Need to Ensure Reasonable Accommodation for All Athletes

The Tokyo Paralympic Games begin this week with thousands of Paralympic athletes from around the world competing in 539 events in 22 sports. Sadly, one athlete who had earned a place on the United States team won’t be there. Rebecca Meyers, 26, a…
Rebecca Meyers competes in the Women's 400 m Freestyle S13 during day 4 of the Para Swimming World Championship in Mexico City, Mexico on November 5, 2017.
News

Join #AthletesAgainstAbuse Campaign to Stand with Survivors

Tsubasa Araya was a gifted 17-year-old high school volleyball player in Japan. In July 2018, he took his life, writing, “Volleyball is the hardest.” As Japan prepares to host the Summer Olympics and Paralympics starting this week, the abuse and…
Athlete Abuse Japan
News

Japan’s Ruling Party Members Slur LGBT Community

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights activists in Japan and their allies have for years been pressing the Diet, the national parliament, to introduce legislation that protects sexual orientation and gender identity as grounds for…
LGBT activists outside ruling LDP protesting
News

Reform Legislation Should Explicitly Include Nondiscrimination Protections

Over the past six years, activists in Japan have pressed the Diet, the national parliament, to introduce a nondiscrimination law that protects the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. Japan currently does not have any…
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga speaks at a news conference in Tokyo, Japan, May 7, 2021.
News

Judge Calls Current Laws ‘Discriminatory’

It was quite something to see a district court judge break into tears as she read her verdict declaring the denial of marriage registration to same-sex couples in Japan unconstitutional. It’s a significant and emotional moment in Japan for a court…
Lawyers and supporters hold rainbow flags and a banner outside Sapporo District Court in Sapporo, Japan, March 17, 2021. 
News

Support Pledge with Credible Action

As the international outcry grows over the Chinese government’s arbitrary detention, forced labor and other egregious abuses against Turkic Muslims in the northwest region of Xinjiang, 12 Japanese companies recently told Kyodo News that they would “…
In this file image from undated video footage run by China's CCTV via AP Video, Muslim trainees work in a garment factory at the Hotan Vocational Education and Training Center in Hotan, Xinjiang, northwest China.
News

Rules Regulating Appearance Put Many Students, LGBT Teens at Risk

A recent case in Osaka, Japan, about hair color, highlights the risks of imposing social conformity. Many schools in Japan have strict policies around hair color, dress, and other appearance, and students can face harsh consequences if they fail to…
High school students wearing face masks walk in Tokyo, January 16, 2021. 
News

Foreign Businesses Engaging Military Should Exit Responsibly

Nearly one week after Myanmar’s military seized control of the government in a coup, it is facing a long-overdue consequence. On February 5, Japanese beverage giant Kirin Holdings Company, Ltd announced it would “terminate” its partnership with…
Plastic crates containing Kirin brand beer at the Kirin Brewery Co. factory in Yokohama, Japan, June 2019. 
News

Tokyo Olympic President’s Remarks Show Discrimination Against Women Still Rife

The Olympic system likes to claim that sport is “one of the most powerful platforms for promoting gender equality and empowering women and girls.” Yet when the president of the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee and former Japanese prime minister…
Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee President Yoshiro Mori delivers a speech during the Tokyo 2020 Executive Board Meeting in Tokyo, Japan, March 30, 2020.
News

Government Mandates Reporting HIV Status, Deports People Living with HIV

In Jordan, medical professionals and health facilities are mandated to report an individual’s HIV status to the government. Foreign nationals found to be HIV-positive are summarily deported regardless of the consequences to their health and safety and…
Silhouettes are cast on a Jordanian national flag in Amman, Jordan, November 30, 2016. 
News

Legal Amendment May Threaten Livelihoods and Living Standards

Like many governments around the world, Jordan has been forced to take urgent economic measures amid the Covid-19 pandemic. In April, it used emergency decrees to alter labor and social security laws, and on May 31, it further loosened labor…
 People shop for vegetables at the main market in Karak, Jordan, after a curfew was lifted for some southern cities, amid concerns about the coronavirus Wednesday, April 22, 2020.
News

Leaders Should Renew Commitment to Addressing North Korea’s Rights Violations

The world has lost a champion of compassion and perseverance. Shigeru Yogota died on June 5 at the age of 87. Along with his wife Sakie, Shigeru worked tirelessly for decades for the return of their daughter Megumi, whom North Korean agents…
An April, 2005 photo shows Shigeru Yokota and his wife Sakie at a meeting in Tokyo to demand North Korean abductees' return.
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Legal Change Needed to Put Trans People on Equal Footing

Last week, a Japanese television program outed and mocked a transgender woman, exposing the harsh reality trans people face in Japan. But a society that often misunderstands and objectifies them is only the beginning – Japan’s legal…
The transgender pride flag.
News

International Health Group Urges End to Forced Sterilization Requirement

A leading international health organization has urged the government of Japan to reform its legal recognition procedure for transgender people. The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), comprised of more than 2,…
Fumino Sugiyama, a transgender man, holds his Japanese ID card, which reads “female,” at his home in Tokyo.
News

Eased Gender-Specific Standards Should Be Reflected in School Policy

Some Japanese schools are introducing uniforms designed less around traditional gender stereotypes and more with respecting gender expression by allowing students to choose their attire – a major benefit for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT)…
manga drawing by Taiji Utagawa of a transgender man with head down in the dark with three white spots leading into the distance