The current Olympic Games in Tokyo have faced many challenges, mainly due to the COVID pandemic. The games were delayed and the logistics of moving athletes around the world has proved challenging. Spectators are not allowed to watch the games live at stadiums. However, many people still hoped that the Games would have a positive influence on the world, especially Japanese society.
In particular, LGBT activists hoped that the Games would bring international attention to the fact that Japan does not have an anti-discrimination law that prevents people being discriminated against based on their gender or sexuality. Activists hoped that the Games would create pressure on Japanese politicians to pass a law that defends people regardless of gender or sexuality. In the build up to the Games, many Japanese politicians supported the passing of an anti-discrimination law and a bill was presented to the Japanese parliament. However, the bill was not presented for a vote and the Japanese government said that the bill would be debated after the Games and then voted on. Some conservative law makers said that they thought the legislation would create too many new trials as people used the law to challenge a wide range of discrimination. Activists angrily protested the decision by holding rallies and contacting international news organizations to raise awareness of the issue, but the Japanese government ignored the calls for the legislation to be passed before the start of the Games.
Amnesty International had tried to persuade the Japanese government to pass the anti-discrimination bill, arguing that Japan is behind international standards and should catch up with the protection of LGBT people. In Japan, same-sex marriage is still illegal and same-sex adoption, when adoptive parents are the same sex, is also not legal.
LGBT activists have been highly disappointed by the Japanese government’s decision to refuse a vote on the creation of a gender discrimination law, and as the world focuses on the impact of COVID-19 on the Games, some activists feel that they have missed their biggest chance to pressure the Japanese government to introduce a non-discrimination law.
Pavitt, Michael, et al. Proposed LGBT Equality Legislation Fails to Be Passed in Japan before Tokyo 2020, 16 June 2021, www.insidethegames.biz/articles/1109121/tokyo-2020-equality-legislation-fails.