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ADDED ON: 01/27/2021

Japan: Introduce LGBT Equality Act before Olympics: 116 Groups Urge Prime Minister Suga to Take Action

01/26/2021 | Human Rights Watch

(Tokyo) – Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga of Japan should commit to introducing a law to protect against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, J-ALL, Athlete Ally, and Human Rights Watch said today. 116 human rights and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) organizations sent a letter supporting such legislation to the prime minister on January 25, 2021, six months ahead of the day when the torch is scheduled to be lit at the Tokyo Olympics. Tokyo was slated to host the 2020 Summer Olympics, but the International Olympic Committee and the Japanese government postponed the games for a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Tokyo 2020 Summer Games are advertised as celebrating “unity in diversity” and “passing on a legacy for the future.” To do this, Japan needs to enact a national anti-discrimination law to protect LGBT people and athletes in a way that meets international standards. The groups are running an #EqualityActJapan campaign in Japanese and English in support of a law to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. “LGBT people in Japan, including athletes, are entitled to equal protection under the law, but currently we have only one known openly out active athlete and many remain in the closet from fear and stigma,” said Yuri Igarashi, director of the Japan Alliance for LGBT Legislation (J-ALL), an umbrella organization of 80 LGBT organizations in Japan. “The Olympic Games give Japan a wonderful opportunity to introduce and pass protections so that everyone in society can live openly and safely.

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