Japan: Shadow Report on the Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People

This shadow report was prepared by GayJapanNews, Global Rights, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), and the International Human Rights Clinic from the Human Rights Program at Harvard Law School. The report was submitted to the United Nations’ Human Rights Committee as part of the review of Japan's compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

The Human Rights Committee regularly reviews submissions from every state party to ICCPR. Non-governmental organizations can submit “shadow reports,” which serve as an additional source of information for UN Committee members. In the shadow reports, NGOs generally offer their own evaluation of the state’s compliance with the treaty.

See more information about Japan’s review (scheduled for October 20 and 21, 2008) and the 94th Session of the Human Rights Committee in Geneva:



In their Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 40 of the Covenant for Japan, the Human Rights Committee of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights expressed concern about the discrimination LGBT people face in Japan:

29.\tThe Committee is concerned about discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons in employment, housing, social security, health care, education and other fields regulated by law, as exemplified by Article 23 (1) of the Public Housing Law which applies only to married and unmarried opposite-sex couples and effectively bars unmarried same-sex couples from renting public housing, and by the exclusion of same-sex partners from the protection under the Law for the Prevention of Spousal Violence and the Protection of Victims. (arts. 2 (1) and 26).

They asked the following:

The State party should consider amending its legislation, with a view to including sexual orientation among the prohibited grounds of discrimination, and ensure that benefits granted to unmarried cohabiting opposite-sex couples are equally granted to unmarried cohabiting same-sex couples, in line with the Committee’s interpretation of article 26 of the Covenant1.

While a significant step, this suggestion does not adequately address the depth of problems LGBT face in Japan or the recommendations offered on pages 14-15 of the shadow report.

1- See Young v. Australia, Communication No. 901/1999 and X v. Colombia, Communication No. 1361/2005.