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Update from Japan: September 2022

  1. In Japan, since the issue of gender identity ideology surfaced in 2018, struggles against it have been waged mainly by ordinary women on Twitter. Many of them did not even self-identify as feminists but came to be known as TERF. In order to publish a book about what had happened to them in the last few years, an anonymous female rights activist applied for a project with a crowdfunding company called READYFOR. After a review, at the end of July, READYFOR allowed the planner to call for support for the project, and the funds were raised three times the target amount in just a few days. However, Japanese TRAs lobbied READYFOR, claiming that the project was discriminatory, and as a result READYFOR told the planner that "using the word 'women' in a sense that does not include trans women in expressions such as 'women's rights' is trans discrimination", etc. READYFOR pressed the planners to change the content of the plan. The planner negotiated with READYFOR on the grounds that they could not change the fundamentals of the project once they had publicised it and received money, but this was not accepted, and the project was stopped.The planner hopes to achieve publication in another way.
  2. In Tokyo, a partnership system for sexual minorities will be launched in November this year. It contains the claim that sexual minorities should be protected based on their 'gender identity', but the definition of 'gender identity' is unclear and does not even require medical certification. There is concern that this system will be used as a social basis for 'recognising gender identity as a person's sex' in the future. In Saitama Prefecture, an ordinance for sexual minorities was passed in July. It states that "No person shall be subjected to unfair and discriminatory treatment on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity." The article, which bans "discriminatory treatment on the grounds of gender identity" could spread without restriction, depending on interpretation, and as a result, rights based on biological sex could be infringed.
  3. In August, it was reported that within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party there are calls for legalisation of surrogacy to be partially permitted. This could be included in an amendment to the Assisted Reproductive Medicine Law this autumn. The Japanese Society of Obstetrics and Gynaecology has been clearly opposed to this, while the Japanese Medical Association is in favour of surrogacy. There is opposition because legalisation would first of all pave the way for vulnerable women, who face pressure within the family, to have their lives threatened and their bodies exploited, but liberal feminists have said almost nothing about this.

Japanese literary figure writes book on 'gender ideology': May 2022

For the first time in Japanese literature, Ms Shono Yoriko has denounced the dangers of gender identity as well as the damage caused by the cancel culture she had suffered. The book she wrote, which was recently published, is called 'Shono Yoriko's Banned Novels'.


Update on 'gender identity' ideology: May 2022

  • In December 2021, Sanseido, one of Japan's largest publishers of education-related books, published a revised edition of a Japanese language dictionary. It is targeted at junior high school students and above. In explaining the meaning of the terms woman and man, it says these terms include people who feel they are in this category, irrespective of their physical characteristics at birth. The Japanese language does not have separate words equivalent to sex and gender. However, people, except trans rights activists and gender scholars, have taken the words woman as female and man as male, and the other dictionaries say so.  Also, the word "feminism" was wrongly explained as "the idea or movement' that men, women and sexual minorities should be treated equally". One of the compilers of that dictionary stated on Twitter that he does not define the term, only addresses how it is used by the public.The female rights activist group No! Self-ID sent a letter to Sanseido and demanded an explanation, but the company sent back just superficial words that "they are all related to our editorial policy, and we will refrain from answering each clause".
  • When Professor Senda Yuki of Musashi University published an moderate article in 2020 that stated that the protection of transgender rights should not be an infringement of women's rights, she was heavily rejected by gender scholars and trans rights activists. Her recent article published in an academic journal this month (April 2022) also made that claim, but her opponent gender scholars are even saying that there may have been a problem on the part of peer review.  Professor Senda is now courageously refuting to such slander. 
  • Ms Shono Yoriko, a prominent novelist, published a novel in a literary journal on the issue of transgenderism around the world. Subsequently, Ms Shono was disassociated from the magazine in which she had been published for many years, and she is no longer able to publish with that company. The book Ms Shono wrote about transgenderism will be published by a courageous company on 8 May, 2022.
  • In Japan, no national law has yet used the term 'gender identity', but at the prefectural and municipal level, it is being used in ordinances and systems.The Tokyo Metropolitan Government and Saitama Prefecture are currently working on such an ordinance, which is expected to be passed in June 2022, according to publicity. Even though they are not legally binding, the impact on citizens in real life is expected to be significant, and many voices of opposition have been raised in public comments.