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  • Human Rights Research Center

Japanese Court Strikes Down Mandatory Transgender Sterilization Requirement

October 18, 2023

Gen Suzuki, center, enters Shizuoka family court in Hamamatsu on October 14, 2022. [Credit: 2022 Kyodo News via AP Photo]

Cited article by Human Rights Watch

The resilience of transgender activists in Japan following the recent landmark ruling by the Family Court, declaring the mandatory surgical requirement for transgender individuals unconstitutional. We emphasize the need for equal opportunities and the elimination of discrimination against transgender people.

News Brief

In a groundbreaking decision, a Japanese family court has declared the mandatory sterilization requirement for transgender individuals seeking to change their legal gender as unconstitutional. This ruling, the first of its kind in Japan, emerged from a case brought forth by Gen Suzuki, a transgender man, who contested the law in 2021. Under Japan's current law, specified in the Gender Identity Disorder (GID) Special Cases Act, transgender individuals are mandated to undergo psychiatric evaluations and sterilization for gender recognition, while also being required to be single and childless under 18.

The recent ruling, coupled with increasing international pressure, highlights the momentum for change in Japan's legal treatment of transgender people, urging the Supreme Court to eliminate the controversial sterilization requirement and address the discriminatory aspects of the existing law. The ruling coincides with a growing movement within Japan, supported by legal, medical, and academic professionals, advocating for the elimination of discriminatory elements within the law, echoing calls from United Nations experts and the World Professional Association for Transgender Health.


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