Japan: record numbers march for LGBT rights in Tokyo
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Japan: record numbers march for LGBT rights in Tokyo

SOME 6,000 people marched through the Japanese capital’s Shibuya district for Tokyo Rainbow Pride 2017 in support of LGBT rights on Sunday.

With more than 60 events leading up to the parade, the theme of this year’s Tokyo Rainbow Pride was “Change.” While LGBT rights have improved significantly in recent years with numerous reforms and the coming out of several openly gay politicians, Japan is yet to legalise same-sex marriage.

In 2017, Rainbow Pride attracted record sponsorship from 190 companies including a range of iconic local and international firms such as Yahoo, Sony, BuzzFeed, Johnson & Johnson, Accenture and GAP. Another record broken was the number of attendees – numbered at 6,000 – according to The Mainichi.

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Local governments in Japan have increasingly issued same-sex partnerships legally non-binding certificates “equivalent to marriage” including Naha, Sapporo, and where Rainbow Pride was held in Shibuya, reports The Japan Times.

In March, rights groups applauded the Japanese education department’s updating of its bullying prevention policy to protect sexual and gender minority students.

The policy follows a directive regarding transgender students issued by the government in 2015 and a 2016 guidebook for teachers about LGBT students.

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A Human Rights Watch report in last year found that LGBT students in Japan’s schools face harassment, abuse and insults from both peers and teachers, and the organisation welcomed the 2017 reforms.

“Japan’s new policy on bullying is an important step toward ensuring equal access to education for all Japanese children,” said Kanae Doi, Japan director at HRW.

“The government is demonstrating leadership in educating and empowering teachers to protect LGBT students.”