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Japan: Equal opportunities

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

See the legal services provided by the authors 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, harassment relating to pregnancy, childbirth, childcare leave or family care leave, and power harassment. (See 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)