A government official in the Mie prefecture of Japan has doxed a same-sex couple on his blog and refuses to delete their personal information from his webpage.
Takatora Kobayashi, a member of the Liberal Democratic Party on the Mie Prefectural Assembly, revealed the names and postal addresses of a local same-sex couple on his blog, according to Kyodo News. Kobayashi shared the names and address of the couple – Masahiro Shimada and Katsunori Kano – after they sent the assemblyman a letter of inquiry about an LGBT+ partnership programme in Mie.
LGBT+ rights in Japan have garnered international attention as of late as the country gears up to host the Olympics this year. The increased focus has brought increased momentum for LGBT+ equality as a district court in Japan ruled that blocking same-sex marriage is “unconstitutional” – a huge step forward for the community.
Earlier this month, the Adachi ward became the first municipality in Tokyo to certify LGBT+ couples and their children – biological or adopted – as families. Adachi joined 100 local governments across Japan to offer the certifications, which have no legal basis.
Kobayashi has been vocal about not supporting same-sex marriages, taking to Twitter to share his views. Kyodo News reported that Kobayashi wrote on his Twitter: “A local partnership system is a strategy to push the national government into a corner.”
The tweet prompted the couple to write to Kobayashi on 15 March to ask about his tweet and inquire about an LGBT+ partnership programme in Mie.
Takatora Kobayashi then posted a picture of the envelope showing the couple’s names and address to his blog on 30 March. Kyodo News said Kobayashi wrote that sending a letter holding him accountable for his tweet was “very aggressive and malicious”.
Shimada and Kano reportedly asked Kobayashi to remove their personal information from his blog and apologise multiple times, but the official refused.
Kyodo News reported Kobayashi did eventually take the couple’s information off his blog on Monday (5 April) afternoon. He wrote on his blog: “I am deleting because I am causing trouble to people around me, as I heard that the secretariat of the prefectural assembly, the assembly’s chairman and vice chairman are receiving phone calls.”
A Mie prefecture resident told Vice World News that Kobayashi was holding a “personal grudge” against the couple because he posted their personal information on his blog. They said: “I think if Kobayashi had a rule where he posted the private information of every person who’s ever sent him a letter, then that’d be fair.
“But that’s not the case.”
Takatora Kobayashi’s actions come as the Mie Prefecture implemented an ordinance banning anyone from revealing, or outing, an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity without their consent. Mie is the first of Japan’s 47 prefectures to pass such legislation.
The ordinance came into effect on 1 April, but it does not stipulate any penalties for breaches of the ban, according to the Japan Times.