Japan: New Momentum to Reform Transgender Law

Transgender people in Japan face continuing barriers to changing their legally recognized gender, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The Japanese government should heed increasing calls from activists and experts to revise its abusive and outdated transgender recognition law. The 43-page report, “‘The Law Undermines Dignity’: Momentum to Revise Japan’s Legal Gender Recognition Process,” documents the persistent barriers transgender people face in Japan under the Gender Identity Disorder (GID) Special Cases Act. The procedure for changing one’s legally recognized gender, which requires sterilization surgery and an outdated psychiatric diagnosis, is anachronistic, harmful, and discriminatory. Many transgender people in Japan and domestic medical, legal, and academic experts, as well as international health and human rights bodies, have said that the law should be substantially revised.