Freelance, LGBT wary of Japan’s new anti-harassment law


With a new law aimed at stopping harassment in the workplace set to enter into force in Japan in June, freelance workers and sexual minorities are casting a wary eye on how effective it will be in improving their situation and say individual efforts will be vital in bringing about a change. The law requires firms to take measures against harassment by people in positions of power, with a government guideline designating such acts as including physical and psychological attacks, making excessive demands, and isolating workers from others. Some have complained their sexual identity has been revealed against their wishes by their boss, while others say they were laughed at for “acting like a woman.” Yuri Igarashi, a co-head of the Japan Alliance for LGBT Legislation, urges firms to hear the opinions of the LGBT people in order to gain an accurate picture of the issue. “If they can empathize and learn, they will help facilitate measures” against harassment, Igarashi said.

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