Japan includes protection LGBT students in anti-bullying guidelines

25 March 2017 - The new national bullying prevention policy of Japan will for the first time protect sexual and gender minority students. The measure will boost Japan’s reputation regionally and internationally on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights. (image taken from Japan's earlier policy guidebook about LGBT students, 2016)

Updated policy

The updated Basic Policy for the Prevention of Bullying, which the Education Ministry released on March 16, 2017 mandates that schools should prevent bullying of students based on their sexual orientation or gender identity by promoting proper understanding of teachers on sexual orientation and gender identity as well as making sure to inform on the school’s necessary measures regarding this matter. The policy follows a 2015 directive from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT) regarding transgender students and a 2016 MEXT guidebook for teachers about LGBT students.

Research shows serious LGBT harassment

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.
Human Rights Watch also found that Japanese teachers were ill-equipped to respond to LGBT-specific bullying. Even when individual teachers or schools attempted to support students who requested protection from harassment over their sexual orientation or gender identity, the response could be inadequate. Teachers were often ill informed about LGBT issues and unaware of the specific vulnerabilities faced by LGBT children.

Sources: Human Rights Watch, Japanese anti-bullying guidelines, HRW research on Japanese schools