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Tokyo court rules toilet use limit for transgender gov't official illegal

This April 11, 2019 file photo shows a court sign at the entrance of a building that houses the Tokyo District and High courts in Tokyo. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- A court ordered the government on Thursday to pay damages to a transgender official, ruling that it was illegal for her workplace to impose restrictions on her use of women's toilets.

The Tokyo District Court ordered the state to pay the official, who was born male but has led a life as a female, a total of 1.32 million yen ($12,000).

Presiding Judge Kenji Ebara said when handing down the ruling that an individual living a social life based on their gender identity should be protected "as an important legal benefit."

The ruling also declared that it was illegal for her superior to tell her to "become a man again."

The official has worked wearing women's clothes since 2010 with the approval of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, and has been using the women's locker room, according to the lawsuit.

But the official had been asked to use toilet rooms for disabled people or restrooms for women two or three floors away from her department because some of her female colleagues wanted her to do so.

In 2013, the official asked the National Personnel Authority, which protects the interests of government officials, to improve the situation, but the request was rejected. She filed the lawsuit in November 2015.

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