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  • Tokyo Adopts Ordinance Against LGBT Discrimination


    (ATR) Twenty-one months to the opening of the 2020 Olympic Games, Tokyo adopts an anti-discrimination ordinance aimed at protecting the LGBT community.

    The goal of the ordinance, which is scheduled to take effect in April, is to use edifying campaigns and education to realize the Olympic Charter goal of respect for human rights, according to The Japan Times.

    In December 2014 the International Olympic Committee adopted an official position against future intolerance surrounding an Olympic Games, after the global controversy that surrounded the Sochi Games following Russia’s passage of an anti-gay law in 2013.

    During the 2014 IOC Session in Monaco, IOC members approved a recommendation that states "The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this Olympic Charter shall be secured without discrimination of any kind, such as race, color, sex, sexual orientation, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status."

    That language must be included in the host city contract between the IOC and all Olympic Games hosts.

    The Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly approved the ordinance at its regular session last weekend, despite criticism that there had been insufficient debate over potential conflicts between the measure and laws to protect free speech.

    The rule is the first ordinance at the prefectural level to contain a stipulation prohibiting discrimination against LGBT people and other sexual and gender minorities.

    To ensure equal enjoyment of human rights, the Tokyo ordinance will regulate use of public spaces such as parks to prevent groups from promoting hateful rhetoric.

    The ordinance is designed to improve access for same-sex couples in situations such as hospital visits and shared renting of apartments as family.

    It also stipulates the disclosure of names of groups and individuals promoting hate speech if the governor deems their activities a violation of human rights. Under the ordinance, such groups can be required to remove hateful content from their websites.

    The ordinance includes awareness-raising measures to improve understanding of the LGBT community, and the metropolitan government also plans to set up centralized consultation centers for LGBT people to offer various forms of support for sexual minority groups. Although Japan doesn’t have laws against homosexuality or other sexual minorities, it also doesn’t have national-level laws to protect their rights.

    Political supporters of the measure said that ensuring sexual minorities’ equal rights will become a legacy of the 2020 Games.

    The Liberal Democratic Party strongly opposed the ordinance, saying its content and preparation were sloppy, and stressed that the rule may curtail freedom of expression.

    An LGBT hospitality house will be set up during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics “as a place to exchange and distribute information about issues faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people”.

    The practice of organizing a space for LGBT athletes and fans in Olympic host cities began with the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games, remembered the organizers of this project.

    Reported by Miguel Hernandez.

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