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Japan: Equal opportunities

Original and updating authors: Koki Yanagisawa and Erino Yoneda, Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu

Consultant editor: Rikisuke Yamanaka, Ushijima & Partners

See the legal services provided by the authors/consultant editors of XpertHR International > Japan, including any discounts/offers for subscribers.


  • There is no comprehensive legislation specifically dealing with equal opportunities and discrimination in employment but specific laws prohibit discrimination on various grounds. (See General)
  • Discrimination is prohibited in recruitment and/or employment on grounds including sex, disability, nationality (including ethnicity), creed, social status and age. (See Specific provisions)
  • There are various potential exceptions from the prohibitions of discrimination on grounds of sex and age. (See Exemptions)
  • Employers are required to take the necessary measures to protect employees from sexual harassment and harassment relating to pregnancy, childbirth, childcare leave or family care leave. (See Harassment and sexual harassment)
  • Employees receive protection from dismissal or disadvantageous treatment for reporting breaches of specified elements of the anti-discrimination legislation and various criminal acts by their employer. (See Victimisation)
  • Employers may take certain forms of positive action measures to support female employees, such as preferential recruitment and promotion in certain circumstances. (See Positive action)
  • Various remedies are available to employees and job applicants who believe that they have suffered unlawful discrimination, depending on the nature of the alleged discrimination. (See Remedies and penalties)