Current Affairs

Japanese ban on gay magazines in jails is illegal say lawyers

Phoebe Ferris-Rotman July 7, 2008
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A 30-year-old detainee in the Tokyo Detention House has been denied the right to read gay magazines.

The Tokyo Bar Association has warned the jail that its decision to ban the material violates the freedom to read, which is guaranteed under the Constitution, association officials said Thursday.

The detention house maintained that gay magazines contain explicit content that may corrupt discipline.

The detainee told the association that the magazines were available to read at a detention centre in Yokohama where he was previously held.

While major political parties do not express much public support for LGBT issues, there are no laws against homosexual activity in Japan.

Some of the country’s prefectures have set the age of consent for same-gender sexual relations at 18, much higher than that of heterosexual relations, which is set at 13.

The prefectures claim that the unequal age of consent is legitimate on the grounds of protecting youth.

The country’s first homosexual parliamentary candidate failed to win a seat in parliament in 2007 after conducting a colourful and positive campaign for office which attracted interest from national and international¬† press and included a marriage ceremony with her partner.

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