Japan has granted asylum to an LGBT+ refugee

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Even though Japanese are relatively more LGBT-accepting than other Asians according to researches, the country has a small amount of laws that could have protected its LGBT population on the state level. So, approving the asylum application from a person persecuted in their native country for their sexuality was a surprising move for Japan. Japanese site Asahi reported that this person had spent two years in jail for being gay (it is not clarified whether it was a man or a woman due to safety reasons) and as they were freed on bail, they escaped to Japan and applied for asylum, knowing that homophobic persecution has never served as a basis for asylum granted in this country before. According to Asahi, the Immigration Bureau said homosexuality was “a characteristic that is closely linked to personality or identity and difficult to change.” In other words, they don’t think of homosexuality to be wrong and don’t believe in it being deliberately chosen. But the refugee’s native country legally states it like this, so coming back there can be dangerous. According to the ILGA, there are currently 70 countries where homosexuality is criminalized, and of these there are up to 11 where being gay is punishable by death.

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