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Central Japan prefecture to ban outing of sexual minorities

The Mie Prefectural Government building is seen in the prefectural capital of Tsu. (Mainichi/Hiroki Sameshima)

TSU -- The central Japan prefecture of Mie plans to establish an ordinance banning discrimination against sexual minorities such as LGBT people, which stipulates to forbid outings -- the act of disclosing an individual's sexual orientation or gender identity without their consent, the prefectural government indicated on June 3.

It will also ban the act of forcing these sexual minorities to disclose their sexual orientation or gender identity. The Mie Prefectural Government will establish an expert panel to debate penalties and other issues, and aims to enact the regulation during fiscal 2020. If enacted, the regulation will be the first of its kind introduced at a prefectural government in Japan.

In February 2019, Mie Prefecture compiled a guideline for prefectural government workers to deepen their understanding of sexual minorities. It stipulated to accept people coming out with sincerity and to avoid any outings. With the enactment of the ordinance, Mie aims to further support LGBT people and sexual minorities.

Gov. Eikei Suzuki said on June 3, "I would like to make this prefecture a livable place for individuals with various backgrounds."

In South Korea, when a cluster infection of the novel coronavirus broke out at a night club where many sexual minorities gathered, people concealed their identity out of fear of discrimination. Some avoided taking tests, and this made it difficult to investigate infections.

Taking into consideration that a second wave of infections may hit the prefecture, the Mie Prefectural Government aims to secure an environment where sexual minorities can feel safe cooperating with health checks by public centers and other bodies.

A local ordinance to ban outings was first established in Japan by the suburban Tokyo city of Kunitachi in April 2018. The enactment came in response to a 2015 case in which a male student at Hitotsubashi University's School of Law fell to his death at the school campus in the city after a classmate disclosed he was gay.

(Japanese original by Ayaka Morita, Tsu Bureau)

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