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Bill to ban LGBT discrimination to be proposed by Tokyo Metro. Gov't

Soshi Matsuoka speaks about a Tokyo Metropolitan Government ordinance bill for the LGBT community, in Tokyo's Bunkyo Ward, on Sept. 12, 2018. (Mainichi)

TOKYO -- The Tokyo Metropolitan Government is set to propose the first ordinance bill including a stipulation to prohibit discrimination against LGBT and other sexual minorities to the metropolitan assembly on Sept. 19.

People concerned with the drafting of the bill added provisions not only pushing for the promotion of understanding of the LGBT community, but stipulations that would also prohibit discrimination against such sexual minorities. "This will be a major step," a person familiar with the matter said. "We expect the discussion in the assembly will make the bill more effective."

The bill is prospectively named "the ordinance aiming to realize the idea of respect for human rights in the Olympic Charter." The Olympic Charter, established by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), stipulates the "Fundamental Principles of Olympism" as the "enjoyment of the rights and freedoms" being protected "without discrimination of any kind, such as race, color, sex, sexual orientation, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status."

Although the charter is not legally binding, the Tokyo government has decided to enact the ordinance ahead of the city hosting the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The metropolitan government had disclosed a plan to introduce legislation for the LGBT community in May, and called for Tokyo residents to submit their opinions through a public comment system without clarifying whether a clause explicitly banning discrimination against sexual minorities will be incorporated in the proposed ordinance.

Soshi Matsuoka, a 24-year-old gay activist for LGBT rights, said, "While I thought it was a good move when I learned about the effort to enact the ordinance on the news, I felt uneasy because I couldn't tell whether the bill would include a discrimination ban or not."

Even if the prohibition goes on the books without punishment attached, it would still become a basis for protest against discrimination during searching for a job or looking for a home. Matsuoka encouraged people to send in online opinions about the bill to reflect the voices of the LGBT community. The metro government explained that the stipulation was added due to "the public comments received" and it was "judged to be in accordance with other ordinances."

(Japanese original by Tatsuya Haga, City News Department)

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