Japan: OutRight Action International Concerned Over Homophobic Comments by Governor of Tokyo

On December 3, 2010 when speaking to the Parent Teachers Association in Tokyo, the Governor of Tokoyo, Mr. Shintaro Ishihara, referenced the Tokyo Metropolitan Ordinance on Healthy Youth Development, and said, “It’s not just for the kids, homosexuals appear on TV as if it was no big deal. In Japan, things are way too uncontrolled. I will see to it [the revised bill’s passage] with a sense of mission.”

A few days later, on December 7, at a press conference at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office, he similarly stated, “I feel there’s something missing [in them]. Perhaps it’s because of their genes. I feel sorry for them for being a minority.”

In protest of these statements, Japanese human rights defenders have sent letters to the governor’s office to request a retraction of the statements and a public apology. To date, the office has failed to respond to their communication and offered no public retraction.

Japanese lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people face discrimination in the workplace, bullying in schools, rejection from families, and incredible social pressure that forces many of them to live double lives in fear and shame. They depend on the governor’s office to address the very problems that his remarks contributed to – namely homophobic stigma, discrimination, hardship, and potentially even violence.

OutRight Action International urges the Governor of Tokyo to honor the commitments made by the Government of Japan to uphold the full spectrum of human rights and both retract your statements and issue a public apology. We also recommend that his office use the Yogyakarta Principles on the Application of International Human Rights Law In Relation to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity as a guide to moving forward in public policy and community relations. OutRight Action International would appreciate the opportunity to dialogue with the Governor about these matters.

Read OutRight Action International's statement at the Ishihara protest site »