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Japanese university avoids charges over death of outed gay student

Japanese university avoids charges over death of outed gay student

Hitotsubashi University (Photo: Facebook)

A court in Japan on Wednesday (27 February) rejected a suit filed against a university by parents of a gay student who died after he was outed by classmates.

The parents of the 25-year-old law student claimed Hitotsubashi University failed to respond properly after classmates outed their son in 2015.

But, the presiding judge at Tokyo District Court said there was no issue with the way professors and staff members had dealt with the situation, according to Japan Today.

The parents argued the university failed to see the case as a human rights issue and had not prevented harassment based on sexuality or gender identity.

Japan’s largely conservative society does not allow same-sex marriage. There is no nationwide discrimination to protect LGBTI people.

A recent survey found 8.9 percent of Japan’s population identify as LGBT.

But, half of LGBT people surveyed said they had not come out at work. It also revealed that only 70 percent of people had heard of the term LGBT.

Tragic death

According to Japan Today, a classmate exposed the student’s sexuality in an online chat group with 10 other members in June 2015.

His parents’ court case claims he then asked the University to switch classes.

But, two months later, the student suffered a panic attack in class.

He left the room before falling fatally from the university building.

The man’s parents also sued the student who outed him, according to Japan Today. They reached an out of court settlement.

LGBTI rights in Japan

Earlier this month, 13 same-sex couples filed lawsuits against the government hoping to force it to recognize equal marriage.

The five female and eight male couples are challenging local administrations that denied them marriage certificates. They are seeking damages of US$9,000.

The couples argue the government’s stance on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. They filed cases in four different district courts.

growing number of cites throughout Japan have allowed same-sex couples to officially register with their local municipal governments under the partnership oath system.