In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled as “unconstitutional” a clause in domestic law that requires transgender people to undergo sterilization surgery to change their gender, assigned at birth, in their family registry.

It was the first time the Supreme Court judged the clause to be unconstitutional, in a case filed by a transgender woman who has not undergone surgery. Advocates hope the decision will pave the way for a legal revision allowing transgender individuals to change their legal gender without having surgery, a move that would put Japan in line with international standards.

The Grand Bench — which is composed of 15 judges and typically handles only a few proceedings a year, if at all — unanimously agreed on the law’s unconstitutionality.