The Supreme Court of Japan has declared that it is illegal to require sterilisation before a person may legally alter their gender.
According to the 2004 legislation, a person cannot change their gender if they are incapable of reproducing.
Following the filing of a petition contesting the law, a transgender lady received Wednesday’s decision.
The law has been dubbed “abusive and outdated” by Human Rights Watch.
The court’s decision on Wednesday overturns a decision from 2019 that ruled the same law to be constitutional.
One of the 18 nations, including Japan, that forbid the sterilization procedure is the World Health Organization. It is also the only country in the Group of Seven (G7) that does not recognize same-sex unions under the law.
The woman’s attorney had claimed that years of hormone medication had already reduced the woman’s capacity to conceive, and that surgery would result in physical pain and the possibility of side consequences.
Before going to the Supreme Court, her motion was turned down by the family court and the high court.
As a result of the ruling, “the government now needs to act quickly to remove the clause,” said Kanae Doi, Japan director of Human Rights Watch, to the news agency Reuters. “It’s late but never too late” .
However, several organizations opposed to the law’s modification said that allowing people to change their recorded gender without surgery may make women feel insecure. They further suggested that it may lead to ambiguity in the law.
Despite criticism from politicians and groups associated with the conservative part of society, recent surveys have showed a rise in support for policies that are tolerant of LGBTQ people.
Gen Suzuki, a transgender man, was granted his request to have his gender officially altered without undergoing the procedure earlier this month.
Takehiro Sekiguchi, the family court judge, claimed that the present law broke Article 13 of the Constitution, which states that all persons must be valued as individuals.