27 Mar 2017

Revised Anti-Bullying Policy in Japan to Protect LGBT students

Education ministry’s updated policy encourages schools’ understanding of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Japan’s new national bullying prevention policy released by the education ministry aims to protect sexual and gender minority students.

The updated Basic Policy for the Prevention of Bullying revised on March 14, 2017 says schools should prevent bullying of students based on their sexual orientation or gender identity by “promot[ing] proper understanding of teachers on…sexual orientation/gender identity as well as mak[ing] sure to inform on the school’s necessary measures regarding this matter,” according to Human Rights Watch.

A 2016 Human Rights Watch report found that LGBT students in Japanese schools face physical and verbal abuse, harassment, and frequent insults from both peers and staff. Hateful anti-LGBT rhetoric is nearly ubiquitous, driving LGBT students into silence, self-loathing, and in some cases, self-harm.

“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 Human Rights Watch.

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