A growing number of Japanese prefectural high schools are relaxing or scrapping gender codes for uniforms to meet the needs of transgender and other sexual-minority students, with around a third of prefectures taking such steps in response to an Education Ministry request five years ago.

To win broad acceptance, meanwhile, many are pitching the changes as a move that benefits students as a whole by increasing flexibility for the sake of comfort and convenience.

Kyodo News surveys of education boards found that more than 600 prefecture-run schools in at least 19 of Japan's 47 prefectures have relaxed restrictions regarding uniform dress codes, such as permitting girls to wear trousers instead of skirts.