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7 Apr 2015

LGBT discrimination under review ahead of Tokyo Olympics


Japanese lawmakers are to examine issues and challenges the community face and find ways to legally rectify it.

Japanese lawmakers have formed a multiparty committee to examine LGBT rights and discuss discrimination against LGBT people before the 2020 Olympic Games.

The committee of 38 formed recently intends to look at discrimination against LGBT people in Japan and the rest of the world, and speak to community members about the issues and challenges they face.

Japan wants to avoid bad publicity similar to the Sochi Winter Olympics because of  Russia’s anti-gay laws discrimination against LGBT athletes.  

Japan is most likely to face similar scrutiny because Tokyo will host the 2020 Summer Olympics.  Although Japanese culture does not have a history of hostility toward LGBT people, they nonetheless lack legal recognition and are often subjected to social discrimination.

Following the Sochi games in Russia, the  Olympic charter was updated to affirm the rights and protection of LGBT athletes.

The group of Japanese lawmakers is being lead by Hiroshi Hase, member of the leading Liberal Democratic Party. “As it hosts the Olympic Games, there is no doubt that Japanese society will be questioned on how it treats its sexual minorities. We must substantiate the principles described in the basic plan of the Games,” he was quoted by media as saying. 

 “The first step is not to discriminate. As Diet [Japan’s Parliament] members, we must study and think about issues they are facing in their social lives,” Hase added.

So far, 38 lawmakers have joined the pro-equality committee, including 13 from Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party. Lawmakers intend to study anti-discrimination laws elsewhere in the world and find ways to implement similar legislation into Japanese law.

Currently, same-sex marriage is illegal in Japan where a lot of gay Japanese men end up marrying straight women, keeping their sexual preferences a secret because of the discrimination that they will be sure to experience if they come out.


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