For the first time Japan will protect against anti-LGBT bullying in schools.
The Human Rights Watch (HRW) reports for the first time that the updated national bullying prevention policy will protect against bullying based on gender identity or sexual orientation.
“Japan’s new policy on bullying is an important step toward ensuring equal access to education for all Japanese children,” said Kanae Doi, Japan director at Human Rights Watch.
“The government is demonstrating leadership in educating and empowering teachers to protect LGBT students.”
The Basic Policy for the Prevention of Bullying has been updated, and was released earlier this month by the country’s Education Ministry.
It states that schools should stop bullying based on sexual orientation or gender identity by “promot[ing] proper understanding of teachers on…sexual orientation/gender identity as well as mak[ing] sure to inform on the school’s necessary measures regarding this matter.”
Japan previously released a guidebook for teachers on LGBT students, and issued a directive on transgender students.
“Japan’s support for two recent United Nations Human Rights Council resolutions on LGBT rights and co-chairing the 2016 UNESCO conference on LGBT bullying should be points of pride for the government,” Doi added.
“By amending the Basic Policy for the Prevention of Bullying to include sexual orientation and gender identity, Japan has taken the crucial step of bringing its own policies in line with its international human rights obligations.”
Earlier this week, the city of Sapporo became the biggest and latest to recognise same-sex relationships legally.
The city on the northern island of Hokkaido, has finished a public consultation which led to an overwhelming 1,500 people writing in to support the proposal.
Opponents who wrote in were largely concerned that the step could exacerbate the country’s already low birth rate.
Japan does not recognise same-sex marriage on a national basis, but the new law will confer more rights on LGBT couples.
The country also elected its first out trans man into public office.
The country has made the landmark step with the election of Tomoya Hosoda as a councillor for the city of Iruma.
The 25-year-old won of the 22 seats up for grabs in the election.