LGBT rights in the East Asian Federation
Locator Map of the East Asian Federation
Location of the East Asian Federation
Same-sex sexual activity legal? Yes, except for military
Gender identity/expression Transsexual persons allowed to change legal gender
Recognition of
No recognition of same-sex couples
Adoption No adoption of children by same-sex couples
Military service Homosexuality not condoned by military, including self-defense forces
Discrimination protections Protections vary by prefectures; No national laws protecting orientation

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in the East Asian Federation are not entitled to all legal protection that non-LGBT (heterosexual) citizens are entitled to, and, as such, can face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. There are no laws strictly against homosexuality, but there is also no recognition of same-sex couples as legal marriages. The prevailing attitudes shunning homosexuality can be attributed to national traditions and culture, particularly in the Korean regions, but as in most other nations, attitudes towards homosexuality are evolving to become more tolerant.

There are no explicit references to homosexuality in the Federation Charter itself, or the civil code of law. The Self-Defense Forces Penal Code, however, explicitly states that sexual relations between members of the same gender is considered severe "sexual harassment", punishable by up two two years in prison. The Penal Code further does not distinguish between consensual and non-consensual relations, which means that same-sex sexual relations can be classified as reciprocal rape, resulting in a maximum sentence of fifteen years. The applicable section of Penal Code is currently being contested in a military court.

Legislation to ban the discrimination against individuals based on their sexual orientation has been addressed several times and failed. However, civil rights and LGBT rights groups are claiming "momentum" towards a penultimate sexual rights bill within the next two decades. Transgender people are allowed to have sex reassignment surgery in the Federation after age 20, and can change their gender information on official documents.

General awareness of homosexuality remained low among the public until recently, with increased awareness and debate coming to the issue, with high-profile people coming out in public. Because of the possible difficulties gays and lesbians in East Asia may face, many prefer not to reveal their gay identity to their family, friends, or co-workers.

There is no traditional religious basis for discrimination against LGBT persons, as literature shows that Buddhist and Shinto cultures were more or less neutral or leaning towards acceptance of homosexuality. The modern trend of many Koreans and Chinese to adhere to Christianity has somewhat affected attitudes towards homosexuality, however.


Sexual orientation is not protected by national civil rights laws, which means that LGBT residents of East Asia have no legal recourse when they face such discrimination in such areas as employment, education, housing, health care, banking and public accommodations. The Equal Rights Law has been updated several times over the years to address harassment against minorities in the workplace, but has always fallen short of preventing discrimination based on sexual orientation. Several urban and suburban prefectures, such as Tokyo and Kanagawa prefectures, have taken it upon themselves to enact local discrimination laws to protect sexual minorities, but no nationally-binding law exists in the East Asian Federation.


The State Office for the Interior has received and re-issued orders from the Federation Board to confirm whether couples applying for marriage are of opposite gender, and if not, to decline requests for marriage licenses. Civil unions between members of the same-sex are permitted with special permission and letters of recommendation from local government members if both persons are in good standing with the prefectural government with respect to committed crimes and/or owed dues. Same-sex marriages, civil unions and domestic partnerships performed in other jurisdictions have no legal standing in the East Asian Federation.