Tokyo passed a law on Friday that prohibits “the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, citizens, and enterprises” from “unduly discriminat[ing] on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation.”
The law was passed in light of Tokyo hosting the 2020 Olympic Games. After Russia passed anti-LGBT legislation before hosting the Olympics in 2014, the International Olympic Committee added a non-discrimination clause to the contracts that host cities must sign.
Tokyo’s governor, Yuriko Koike, wrote when she was elected that the Olympics “will be a touchstone for the creation of a new Tokyo.” She also mentioned creating a diverse city “where everyone … can actively participate in society and lead fulfilling lives” as one of her goals as governor.
Human Rights Watch Japan director Kanae Doi said Tokyo “has enshrined in law its commitment to hosting an inclusive and rights-respecting Olympic games.” The organization praised Japan for steps it has recently taken to prevent LGBT discrimination, such as including LGBT students in Japan’s anti-bullying policy. However, the organization notes that Japan still needs to take further steps, such as legalizing same-sex marriage at the national level and making it easier for transgender Japanese citizens to correct their genders on legal documents.