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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. 
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End Assistance to All Military-Controlled Entities

(Tokyo) – The Japanese government should immediately cancel plans to donate money to purchase vehicles and communications equipment for the Myanmar police force, Human Rights Watch said today. The police force, which operates under the auspices of the…
Myanmar border guard police officers walk along a path in Tin May village in northern Rakhine State, Myanmar, July 14, 2017.
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Joint Open Letter on Japan’s Recent Disengagement in Addressing Human Rights Abuses in North Korea

February 13, 2020   Shinzo Abe Prime Minister of Japan Cabinet Secretariat Government of Japan 1-6-1 Nagata-cho, Chiyoda-ku Tokyo 100-8968 Japan   Re:  Joint…
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African Governments Should Ensure Right to Education

  (Nairobi) - Tens of thousands of pregnant girls and adolescent mothers are banned or discouraged from attending school across Africa, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today, ahead of the Day of the African Child…
Students enrolled in the final year of lower secondary school in the classroom in a village in Kolda region, southern Senegal. Adolescent mothers and married girls study in this school.
Report
Summary When the head teacher found out that I was pregnant, he called me to his office and told me, “You have to leave our school immediately because you are pregnant.” —Jamida K., Kahama, Tanzania, April 2014 We don’t allow pregnant girls to…
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Duterte Visit to Japan Should Not Be Business-as-Usual

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s upcoming visit to Japan provides senior Japanese officials a fresh opportunity to end their long silence on the Philippine government’s murderous “war on drugs.” The three-day state visit,…
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Murky Money Trail, Missed Targets, Missing Data

(Beirut) – Millions of dollars in aid money pledged to get Syrian refugee children in school last year did not reach them, arrived late, or could not be traced due to poor reporting practices, Human Rights Watch said today. The 55…
Syrian children in an informal refugee camp in the Bekaa Valley.
Report
Summary Since 2011, violence in Syria has forcibly displaced at least 1.6 million school-age children to other countries in the region. Before the conflict, more than 90 percent of Syrian children attended primary school and 70 percent…
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At Least 10 More Years of Official Silence on LGBT Lives in Schools

The Japanese government has missed an opportunity to introduce information about sexual and gender minorities to classrooms during a once-in-a-decade review of its national educational curriculum. Instead, the government said in March that including…
manga drawing by Taiji Utagawa
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Efforts Boost Regional, Global Role on Gay Rights

(Tokyo, March 24, 2017) – Japan’s updated national bullying prevention policy will for the first time protect sexual and gender minority students, Human Rights Watch said today. The measure will boost Japan’s reputation regionally and internationally on…
manga drawing by Taiji Utagawa of a transgender man with head down in the dark with three white spots leading into the distance
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School Guidelines Should Address Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity

Last year, my colleagues and I interviewed sexual and gender minority youth from across Japan to learn about their experiences at school. The information we documented was harrowing: harassment and bullying colored the lives of many of the youth we met.…
manga drawing by Taiji Utagawa of a transgender man with head down in the dark with three white spots leading into the distance
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Human Rights Watch is an independent, nongovernmental research and advocacy organization. We monitor human rights in more than 90 countries around the world, including Japan. We published a report in 2016 about access to education for lesbian, gay,…
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School bullying is notorious in Japan and has been for decades. For LGBT kids in particular, the harassment, threats, and even violence in schools can be unbearable. School policies don’t adequately protect these students. At best, teachers are confused…
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The Japanese government has failed to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students from school bullying. Japan has a bullying prevention policy, which is up for review in 2016 amid a growing national debate on equal rights for LGBT…
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Policies, National Curriculum Ignore Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity

(Tokyo) – The Japanese government has failed to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students from school bullying, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Japan has a bullying prevention policy, which is up for review in…
manga drawing by Taiji Utagawa of a transgender man with head down in the dark with three white spots leading into the distance
Report
Summary “In the world there are some weird people,” my high school health teacher said to introduce the lesson. Then she said sex between boys was the main cause of AIDS so we should stay away from homosexuals. That was the only…
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“I only read about LGBT people because I knew Human Rights Watch was coming to interview me,” a teacher in Tokyo told me last November while I was researching bullying of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students in Japan’s schools. …
A 20 year old Japanese woman who was bullied by her classmates in junior high school holds a notebook displaying the message...
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This week, Japan took a historic step in tackling the global threat of mercury: it joined the Minamata Convention on Mercury. The treaty is named after the Japanese fishing town of Minamata, where one of the world’s worst mercury poisoning disasters…
Minamata memorial
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Governments Should Sign, Ratify to Protect Environment, Health

Governments around the world should immediately sign the new, groundbreaking Minamata Convention on Mercury, Human Rights Watch said today. Officials around the world will meet in Kumamoto, Japan beginning October 7, 2013, to formally adopt the treaty.…