Some European countries used to insist on this, too
A horrific step backwards for transgender rights in Japan. The right to self-determination should never be compromised.
It wasn't until 2013 in the US that a transgender woman would have to undergo sex reassignment surgery (SRS) to be recognized as her actual gender by the Social Security Administration or get a passport with the correct gender marker. We're not that far ahead of Japan or the rest of the developed world, really.Most importantly, this surgery is intended to treat a person's dysphoria, not conform to a sexual binary for the sake of society. Gender is complex, often non-binary and is subjective. A government imposing additional restrictions and requirements invariably leads to suffering and death.
This is an egregious, shocking and cruel move that underscores the threat to lives and dignity that Trans people face on a daily basis. Sadly, this community also lacks as powerful representation as other marginalized groups have, so acts like this cause a momentary spike in media attention but then usually pass. A very sad trend for humanity.
Readers being aghast by these laws demonstrates how much society has changed, it was less than a century ago that it was not only illegal to be homosexual, but it will be a public hanging criminal offense. But we need to remember that even today there are still laws that allow for mutilation, disfigurement, and even homicide for a multitude of similar "offenses".
So sad to hear of this, it is a major human rights issue. The deeply rooted complexity of the Japanese culture is ever-present and desperately needs to be changed.