Science Council of Japan (SCJ) releases policy recommendation of achieving marriage equality and establishing laws that ban discrimination against LGBTQ.

On September 29th, Science Council of Japan (SCJ) released policy recommendation: “Protection of Human Rights of Sexual Minorities. Engagement, Education and Labour.”

※SCJ was established in January 1949 as a “special organization” under the jurisdiction of the Prime Minister, operating independently of the government, for the purpose of promoting and enhancing the field of science, and having science reflected in and permeated into administration, industries and people’s lives. It represents Japan’s scientists both domestically and internationally with the firm belief that science is the foundation upon which a civilized nation is built. SCJ is extremely active in its deliberations, helping to improve and develop science in Japan, and strengthening the inseparable alliance with the Council for Science and Technology Policy, which is the command center for Japan’s science and technology policies. SCJ consists of 210 council members and some 2,000 members.

Prof. Mitsunari, Prof. Tanamura, and Prof. Taniguchi joined in the committee launched in February, 2015. Its members regularly discuss the issues and problems surrounding LGBTQ community and have held three public seminars. The policy recommendation released this time was compiled based on the series of discussion.

The policy recommendation sees it crucial that schools, workplaces and local communities get together in order to stop discrimination against sexual minorities and better understanding of sexual minorities is achieved for establishing inclusive society. SCJ asks the Japanese government for comprehensive political measures and establishment of laws that ban discrimination against sexual minorities. The policy recommendation asks for the followings.

1). Marriage Equality, 2) deregulation of the conditions that need to be met to change gender on family registry and change of the name of the laws, ”Act on Special Cases in Handling Gender Status for Persons with Gender Identity Disorder”, 3) Introduction of prevention of outing without consent and better protection of sexual minorities’ privacy to Act on the Protection of Personal Information, 4) revision to the Equal Employment Opportunity Law in order to include discriminatory attitudes and behaviors against sexual minorities.

In addition to these, the policy recommendation also asks the government to establish comprehensive guidelines that protect and assure sexual minorities’ rights to study and to revise textbooks and public school curriculums in order to include gender diversity. Moreover, in order to protect sexual minorities’ rights of employment and labour, the policy recommendation asks businesses and Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare to establish new guidelines and take more measures to achieve better awareness of sexual minorities and to stop discrimination against them immediately.

Article 24 of Japanese Constitution says “Marriage shall be based only on the mutual consent of both sexes”. That caused much discussion whether or not the Constitution needed to be changed to legalize same-sex marriage, but the policy recommendation stipulates that the wording, “both sexes”, does not prohibit same-sex marriage even though it means a man and a woman. Considering the fact that SCJ officially announced that same-sex marriage does not violate the Constitution, same-sex marriage is likely to be recognized in the future. We can say this has great significance for legalizing same-sex marriage.