Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has indicate that it is not necessary to penalize ruling party lawmaker Mio Sugita, who has come under fire over her recent gaffe on sexual minorities. "Because she is still young, I want her to continue working while being careful [about what she says and does]," Abe said on television on Monday.
The law prohibits discrimination based on race, gender, disability, and social status but does not prohibit discrimination based on language, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Although the government enforced these prohibitions to some degree, discrimination against women, minority group members, persons with disabilities, LGBT persons, and foreigners remained... Expand
The law prohibits discrimination based on race, gender, disability, and social status but does not prohibit discrimination based on language, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Although the government enforced these prohibitions to some degree, discrimination against women, minority group members, persons with disabilities, LGBT persons, and foreigners remained problems. Moreover, enforcement was not uniform, with some provisions for persons with disabilities interpreted as applying to the public sector but not the private sector.
No law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. There are no penalties associated with such discrimination, and no related statistics were available. Laws governing rape, sexual commerce, and other activity involving sexual intercourse do not apply to same-sex sexual activity, since sex is defined in the law as exclusively male-to-female vaginal intercourse. This definition leads to lower penalties for perpetrators of male rape and greater legal ambiguity surrounding same-sex prostitution.
In December 2013 the Supreme Court recognized a paternity claim by a transgender man whose eldest son was born through artificial insemination, after the Osaka Family Court had rejected the man’s claim in September. The Osaka court ruled that the child could not have a blood relationship with the father because the father was not biologically capable of reproduction as a male. The Supreme Court decision applied only to the man’s oldest son, born in 2010. The Supreme Court has yet to announce a ruling on the man’s second son, born in 2012 and the subject of a separate case pending in the Osaka Family Court.
NGOs that advocate on behalf of LGBT persons reported no impediments to organization but some instances of bullying, harassment, and violence. Stigma surrounding LGBT persons remained an impediment to self-reporting of discrimination or abuse, and studies on bullying and violence in schools generally did not take into account the sexual orientation or gender identity of the persons involved. Pervasive societal stigma surrounding LGBT persons also prevented many from being open about their sexual orientation, and attorneys who frequently represent LGBT persons related several cases during the year in which clients were threatened with disclosure of sexual orientation. Self-censorship in the press remained an impediment to bringing LGBT issues into mainstream discourse.
The law allows transgender individuals to change their legal gender, but only after undergoing sex reassignment surgery.
Source: U.S. Department of State's  Human Rights Report
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government is set to propose the first ordinance bill including a stipulation to prohibit discrimination against LGBT and other sexual minorities to the metropolitan assembly on Sept. 19. People concerned with the drafting of the bill added provisions not only pushing for the promotion of understanding of the LGBT community, but stipulations that would also prohibit discrimination against such sexual minorities. "This will be a major step," a person familiar with the matter said. "We expect the discussion in the assembly will make the bill more effective." The bill is prospectively named "the ordinance aiming to realize the idea of respect for human rights in the Olympic Charter." The Olympic Charter, established by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), stipulates the "Fundamental Principles of Olympism."
Japanese activists including seven parents of LGBT children submitted a petition with more than 25,000 signatures to prime minister Shinzo Abe's party on Friday, demanding that a lawmaker apologise for saying that sexual minorities are unproductive and don't deserve public support. A lawmaker belonging to Abe's ruling party, Mio Sugita, said in a right-wing magazine in July that the government shouldn't use tax money for LGBT rights because same-sex couples don't produce children and have "no productivity." The comment triggered outrage from sexual minorities as well as others, including the elderly and disabled.
The city of Chiba plans to issue nonbinding certificates recognizing same-sex as well as common-law couples starting in April next year, following similar moves by Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward and other municipalities across the nation. Chiba will be the first municipality to offer partnership certificates beyond those recognizing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender couples, the city says. “I hope it can take everyone a step forward to question what a family and a partnership is about,” Chiba Mayor Toshihito Kumagai said at a news conference Thursday. The city had initially planned to issue certificates to LGBT couples only. But it decided to widen the scope when local LGBT groups asked that the policy not be limited to sexual minorities.
Disabled people have come out to protest against an anti-LGBT Japanese MP, who said gay and lesbian couples are unproductive because they can’t have children. According to KYODO news agency, the group took offense to the comments because it also affects people who can’t have children due to illness or disability. During a press conference at the health and welfare ministry in Tokyo, the group gathered to explain their protest. “I cannot have children because of the effects of [my] medication, but I don’t believe that human value is decided by the fact of whether one can have children or not,” said Hiroko Uchiyama, 43, of Hachioji in western Tokyo, who suffers from the complications of an illness.
The ruling Liberal Democratic Party finally took action after two weeks of failing to condemn lawmaker Mio Sugita’s homophobic views in a magazine article she wrote that sparked harsh online criticism and a public protest. The LDP posted on its website on Aug. 2 that it had issued an "instruction" to the Lower House member to be more aware in the future about expressions that show a lack of understanding about sexual diversity, as well as consideration to the relevant parties. In response to questions from The Asahi Shimbun, Sugita issued a statement saying she sincerely accepted the party's view and would "endeavor" to improve her understanding of the issues. Sugita’s article appeared in a monthly magazine that went on sale on July 18. Referring to gay couples, she wrote, "Those men and women do not reproduce. In other words, they are 'unproductive.' I wonder if it is appropriate to spend taxpayer money on them."
Japan is hoping LGBT people can boost tourism in a region formerly plagued with natural disasters. The country’s Reconstruction Agency has launched an initiative to draw queer and trans people to visit the Tohoku region, according to the Japan Times. Tohoku was devastated by the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in 2011, which was reportedly the most powerful earthquake known to have hit Japan. The initiative is also reportedly creating spaces to welcome LGBT people in Fukushima, the state where there was a nuclear power plant disaster in 2011.
Thousands of angry protesters rallied on Friday night in front of the headquarters of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, calling for the resignation of junior lawmaker Mio Sugita, who had earlier branded the nation’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community “unproductive.” Sugita is facing nationwide criticism over an article she contributed to in the latest issue of conservative magazine Shincho 45, in which she argued that taxpayer money shouldn’t be invested into policies supporting same-sex couples because “these men and women don’t bear children — in other words, they are ‘unproductive.’” Many joined the rally after a hashtag went viral on social media encouraging people to gather and unite in a show of protest against the two-term lawmaker.
A Japanese politician has come under fire for questioning whether LGBT taxpayers should receive equal welfare benefits to the rest of Japan. Lower House member Mio Sugita called gay couples "unproductive" and wondered whether it was "appropriate to spend taxpayer money on them" in a magazine article published last Wednesday. Sugita, who belongs to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), is no stranger to controversial statements.
A ruling Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker has drawn a fierce backlash after labeling the LGBTI community “unproductive” in terms of childbirth, and warning that a society that accepts same-sex relationships risks “increasing unhappy people.” Junior lawmaker Mio Sugita is facing nationwide criticism after contributing an article to the latest issue of conservative magazine Shincho 45 questioning what she perceives to be Japanese media’s recent trend toward favorable coverage of LGBTI-related issues.
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