The education ministry issued a landmark notice on Thursday, urging local education boards to ensure that schools do more to cater to children who believe they were born the wrong gender.
The move, which comes amid rising sensitivity toward sexual minorities by Japanese society and officialdom, will oblige schools to pay greater attention to the needs of transgender students. The measures include, for example, paying heed to students’ gender identity as much as possible by allowing them to use whichever bathroom or locker room they prefer.
It also says other sexual minority students — gays, lesbians, and bisexuals — deserve greater accommodation, the first such notice of its kind.
Some schools have allowed transgender children to wear the uniform of the gender they identify as, but the latest ministry notice will encourage all schools to do so — from elementary level to high school.