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Hiroyuki Taniguchi(March 2011)

In this podcast Hiroyuki Taniguchi from Japan talks about attending the human rights conference.

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This abstract summarizes a 13-minute interview with Hiroyuki Taniguchi, recorded on March 16, 2011, in Wellington Town Hall, during which Taniguchi discusses the human rights of LGBT individuals in Japan and at the human rights conference. Taniguchi, a legal researcher from Japan, shares observations on the lack of anti-discrimination laws in Japan, specifically those that protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The interview is conducted by Gareth Watkins.

Taniguchi mentions that unlike many countries that have begun repealing sodomy laws, Japan never had such laws to begin with, leaving no legal framework to build upon for reform. This creates unique challenges in advancing LGBT rights. Japanese law does not offer specific protections for LGBT individuals and does not recognize them as potential discrimination targets. Consequently, discrimination occurs, especially in rural areas, despite the absence of severe hate crimes.

The interview touches upon Taniguchi's activism, which involves lobbying for comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation that includes provisions for sexual orientation and gender identity. However, efforts have not yet been successful. A significant issue highlighted is the lack of social benefits or insurance for same-sex partners, as they are not legally recognized as a couple in Japan. The fear of social repercussions also leads many individuals to conceal their LGBT identity, making it difficult to challenge discrimination from public officials, family, or friends.

During the conference, Taniguchi expresses interest in the intersectionality of human rights issues, noting how LGBT rights are intertwined with cultural, disability, and indigenous issues among different countries.

A personal narrative reveals that Taniguchi, fortunately faced acceptance from family and friends regarding their sexuality. In contrast, Taniguchi's partner, who has not come out to their family or workplace, experiences considerable fear and apprehension due to potential social consequences.

Taniguchi also discusses the complications faced by Japanese LGBT individuals in the aftermath of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami of 2011, noting how same-sex partners were unable to obtain information or access their partners, as they were not recognized as legal family. This tragedy has prompted a more serious consideration of legalizing same-sex partnerships in Japan.

The lack of representation from East Asian activists at the conference is noted, and Taniguchi stresses the importance of international collaboration and participation to promote LGBT rights. With the hope that future listeners, perhaps 30 years on, will reflect on the progress made, Taniguchi underscores the ongoing struggle for human rights and the necessity of organizing such conferences to improve the global situation for LGBT individuals.

The interview concludes with the expectation that returning to Japan, Taniguchi will share insights from the conference with fellow activists to encourage further international engagement and advocacy efforts.

This summary is created using Generative AI. Although it is based on the recording's transcription, it may contain errors or omissions. Click here to learn more about how this summary was created.

Record date:16th March 2011
Interviewer:Gareth Watkins
Location:Wellington Town Hall, Wellington
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Archive:The master recording is archived at the Alexander Turnbull Library (OHDL-004160).