News: December 2 – 4, 2017

The latest news stories coming out of Japan as we begin Human Rights Week and move towards the close of 2017. 

Kanazawa Prefectural Office Lit in Rainbow Colors in Call to Eradicate Discrimination

Kanazawa Shinbun 2017/12/2

On December 1st, the Kanazawa Prefectural Office was lit up in rainbow colors to appeal for the realization of a society where sexual diversity is respected. The event coincides with the start of Human Rights Week, and along with a panel exhibition, aims to create awareness of the issues surrounding discrimination based on sex and sexuality.

It is estimated that 1 in 13 individuals identifies as LGBT. The prefecture stated that “By considering sexual individuality and accepting it, we can become a society where everyone can live peacefully.”

Source – 差別根絶訴え神奈川県庁舎に光

Hiroshima Castle Lit in Rainbow Colors in Show of Support for LGBT

Asahi Shinbun Digital 2017/12/3

On the night of December 3rd, Hiroshima Castle was lit in rainbow colors. The event was organized by the Hiroshima Prefecture Consultative Assembly of the Network For Human Rights Enlightenment Activities as a show of support for LGBT individuals during Human Rights Week.

The light-up can be seen from now through December 10th from 5-10pm.
44-year-old Nomoto Emi of the Hiroshima Prefecture Sexual Minority Association, an organization which provides support for LGBT individuals, said, “I hope that events such as these can help to deepen people’s understanding of sexual minorities.”

Source – 広島城を「虹色」にライトアップ 性的少数者を応援

Kyoto Municipalities Move to Eliminate “Sex Column” on Forms

In consideration of individuals diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder or who are questioning their gender, municipalities in the Yamashiro Region of Kyoto Prefecture have begun to move to eliminate the sex column from forms such as the “Personal Seal Registration” form in response to a notice issued by the Ministry of International Affairs and Communications. Five municipalities in the region, including Uji City and Kizugawa City have decided their policies and are making steady progress. On the other hand, some towns have expressed hesitation due to the finances required to change the current system.

Two forms under review are the “Personal Seal Registration” form and ‘Certificate of Residence’. In December of 2016, the Ministry of International Affairs and Communications issued a notice stating that to protect the rights of LGBT individuals and help to alleviate discrimination, it is allowable not to record sex on such forms.

Kyoto Shinbun found that of the 12 municipalities in the Yamashiro Region, Uji, Kizugawa, and Minami Yamashiro have decided to eliminate the column, while Kumiyama and Seika have begun a detailed examination into the policy change.

Uji City is planning to review its policy in April of next year. The city plans to eliminate the sex column on “Personal Seal Registration” and “Certificate of Residence” forms. In cases where a Certificate of Residence is requested, a letter stating that the sex column has been omitted will be issued along with the document. However, due to the Basic Resident Register Law, sex will continue to be recorded as male or female (in the national register).

Kizugawa City stated that it intends to carry out its review “at an early stage,” while Minami Yamashiro plans to do so “from next April.” Uji and Kizugawa plan to put forward their proposal at the congressional meeting beginning on December 1st.

Of the other seven cities and towns in the region, some municipalities stated that “conducting an inquiry is costly, so it is difficult” (Joyo City), “we will see what neighboring municipalities do.” (Kyotanabe City), and “there are no current plans at the moment.” (Wazuka). It is unknown whether or not the policy will spread throughout the whole region.

Source – 自治体の証明書、性別欄削除の動き 京都、LGBT差別解消

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