A series of court cases pertaining to same-sex marriage might be helping to shape the debate over whether or not Japan will act on legalization. Anika Osaki Exum speaks to two transgender individuals — one Japanese, the other American — on their experiences in Japan and what allowing same-sex marriage might mean for them.

Hosted by Shaun McKenna and produced by Dave Cortez.

On this episode:

Shaun McKenna: Articles | Twitter | Instagram

Anika Osaki Exum: Articles | Twitter

Fumino Sugiyama: Twitter | Blog

Elin McCready: Twitter

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Transcript note: Deep Dive is made to be listened to, and we recommend this transcript be used as an accompaniment to the episode. This transcript has been generated using a combination of speech recognition software and human transcription, and may contain errors. Please check its accuracy against the episode.

Shaun McKenna  00:08  

Welcome to Deep Dive from The Japan Times, I'm Shaun McKenna. And with me this week is Anika Osaki Exum. Hello, Anika.

Anika Osaki Exum  00:16  

Hi, Shaun.

Shaun McKenna  00:17  

So, Anika, you're a reporter at The Japan Times but today we've brought you on Deep Dive in a kind of guest/cohost role for our show on LGBTQ issues.

Anika Osaki Exum  00:27  

Yes, thank you for having me. 

Shaun McKenna  00:30  

Of course. Yeah, so you've been doing some reporting specifically on LGBTQ issues for The Japan Times, and today I hope we can catch people up on where the conversation has been going on these issues in Japan.

Anika Osaki Exum  00:40  

Yeah, and I don't think that conversation is showing any signs of stalling over the summer so on today's episode, I'll be speaking to Fumino Sugiyama, co-chair of Tokyo Rainbow Pride, the group that organizes Pride events every April, and Elin McCready, a professor at Aoyama Gakuin University. Both are parents, authors, activists and trans individuals.

Shaun McKenna  01:01  

Sounds interesting, let's get to the show.

It's officially Pride Month in many cities and countries around the world. But, as you mentioned in the intro, Japan's Pride festivities take place in April around the Golden Week holidays. Still last week, I think Japan's LGBTQ community found something to be proud about heading into June. Anika, do you mind telling our listeners what that was?

Anika Osaki Exum  01:30  

Sure. So on May 30, the Nagoya District Court ruled that not recognizing same-sex marriage in Japan is in fact unconstitutional. This came out of a 2019 lawsuit filed by a male couple in their 30s from Aichi Prefecture, where Nagoya is, and the couple argued that the state not recognizing their marriage constituted a form of discrimination that is banned under Article 14 of Japan's Constitution.

Shaun McKenna  01:58  

What does Article 14 of the Japanese Constitution actually say?

Anika Osaki Exum  02:02  

Well, according to a translation on the government's website, it says, quote, “All of the people are equal under the law and there shall be no discrimination in political, economic or social relations because of race, creed, sex, social status or family origin.” Now, that's an English translation. Obviously, the wording of the original Japanese is what has been and continues to be discussed in various cases pertaining to same-sex marriage.

Shaun McKenna  02:29  

OK, so is this the first time such a ruling has been handed down?

Anika Osaki Exum  02:33  

Actually, there seems to be a bit of a game of ping-pong going on in the courts just now. There are six similar cases we have our eyes on. The first was in 2021 in Sapporo. The ruling said that by not acknowledging same-sex marriage, Japan’s Civil Code and Family Registration Law, we're violating the Constitution's guarantee of equality before the law. However, last June, the Osaka District Court went the other way, saying that not allowing same-sex unions was constitutional. And then, in November, a ruling came down from the Tokyo District Court, saying the lack of laws to protect the rights of same-sex couples presents an “unconstitutional situation.”

Shaun McKenna  03:18  

So Sapporo, Osaka, Tokyo, Nagoya … what about the other two rulings?

Anika Osaki Exum  03:23  

There's going to be a second ruling in Tokyo, but actually there's a ruling set to come out tomorrow. We're recording on June 7, and it comes out June 8. From the Fukuoka District Court.

Shaun McKenna  03:35  

The Nagoya court ruling comes in the wake of the Group of Seven summit that was hosted in Hiroshima last month. In the run up to that event, it was pointed out by the media and other countries that Japan is the last G7 nation not to recognize same-sex marriage. Now, I don't think LGBTQ issues were talked about too much at the summit. Has there been any progress in Japan in the political sphere with regard to these issues?

Anika Osaki Exum  04:00  

Yeah, well, one of the biggest stories in this area in the past few years has been consideration of a bill to quote, “foster understanding of sexual minorities.” But note that this comes in lieu of a bill that would actually outlaw discrimination toward the LGBTQ community. Our colleague, politics reporter Gabriele Ninivaggi has reported on the proposed bill, and there was initially a clause that read, quote, “discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or self recognition of gender identity shall not be tolerated.” 

Shaun McKenna  04:33

OK, that sounds like some progress? 

Anika Osaki Exum  04:35

Sure, but that clause was amended following opposition from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's conservative members to read, quote, “no unfair discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity is allowed.”

Shaun McKenna  04:48  

Why would they feel the need to put that qualifier in there? 

Anika Osaki Exum  04:53  

The reasoning that was given is that the initial wording could cause confusion and a potential spike in sexual harassment of women in gendered spaces like restrooms or dressing rooms. According to Gabriele’s article. Also note, the changes of “discrimination will not be tolerated” to “unfair discrimination is not allowed,” as well as a change from “self-recognition of gender identity” to just “gender identity,” a decision that is seen as eliminating the individual's role in determining their own gender.

Shaun McKenna  05:25  

OK, got it. So if we take the point of view of someone in the LGBTQ community, it seems like legislation still has a ways to go. If I'm a member of that community, though, can I find any wins in the current situation?

Anika Osaki Exum  05:38  

I think when it comes to progress, you have to look at the population itself if you want any wins. Some polls put public support for same-sex marriage as high as 70%. The only counter to that, though, is that a lot of respondents don't seem to make the issue a priority. They support it, but only as far as they can say, “Sure, why not?” in a phone poll. Fumino Sugiyama, who we’ll be hearing from a little later, has gotten at this in previous stories in The Japan Times. He believes that the language surrounding LGBTQ issues is now firmly entrenched in society, and that's a win. But, going forward, he wants more focus to go toward affecting actual changes that would better the lives of LGBTQ individuals.

Shaun McKenna  06:19  

I'm curious, a lot of anti-LGBTQ sentiment overseas tends to come from religious groups, like I can think of tenets in Christianity that are used to argue against same-sex marriage. Where's the objection to it coming from in Japan? 

Anika Osaki Exum  06:35  

Well, from a political perspective, what I've read in reports is that vocal lawmakers opposing it say that legalizing same-sex marriage runs the risk of changing what Japan understands as the traditional family. And what's probably similar to other countries, although not in a religious sense, is this value of marriage as an institution being thought of as only possible between a man and a woman. With that being said, though, Motoko Rich and Hikari Hida from the New York Times, wrote in a piece last month that certain religious groups, such as the Shinto Association of Spiritual Leadership and the Unification Church have pressured LDP lawmakers against giving legal protections to the LGBTQ community. They say that, as a result of this pressure, the LDP is quote, “struggling to agree on even limited expressions of support for the rights of gay and transgender people.”

Shaun McKenna  07:31  

You wrote a piece last month titled “LGBTQ+ familyship systems expand in Japan amid absence of national law.” What is the familyship system?

Anika Osaki Exum  07:42  

Yeah, so familyship systems and partnership systems are two certification frameworks that are becoming more common at the local level in municipalities across Japan. These systems help to better recognize queer partners and families as what they are in the current situation, where they can't be legally recognized as such in Japan. Of course, some might say these systems are sufficient especially while same-sex marriage isn't legal. But the people I spoke to for this episode will explain why they think these systems aren't adequate.

Shaun McKenna  08:22  

So Anika, for this episode, you spoke to Fumino Sugiyama. Can you tell us a little bit about who he is?

Anika Osaki Exum  08:31  

Yeah, so, Fumino is 41 and was born in Tokyo and is the co-chair of Tokyo Rainbow Pride, alongside Natsumi Yamada. And …

Anika Osaki Exum  08:48  

… He says that despite the beard he has now he once presented as a girl. In fact, he was even a member of Japan's national women's fencing team. 

Shaun McKenna  08:55  

Oh, wow. What did the two of you speak about?

Anika Osaki Exum  08:58  

Well, he has a cisgendered female partner and they have two children. So he talked about his kids, of course, but we mainly talked about his role in the running of Tokyo Rainbow Pride. 

Shaun McKenna  09:08

You went this year, right? 

Anika Osaki Exum  09:10

I did along with around 240,000 other people. Fumino spoke to me about how Japan's Pride event differs from what's done overseas. Overseas, you can block streets off to have these big kind of Carnivale-type celebrations. Here, though, you have to share the streets with Tokyo’s busy traffic and, according to road laws, that means only getting to march down one lane of the road.

Shaun McKenna  09:33  

Hey, one lane is better than nothing. 

Anika Osaki Exum  09:36  

True. I think what was really interesting, though, was how Fumino spoke about the importance of even just having that one lane to march down the city streets,

Fumino Sugiyama  09:47  

Well, I think these types of events are absolutely essential. I mean, looking back at the past 10 years, there's been huge progress in raising awareness and visibility of the LGBTQ community in Japan. A decade ago, very few people here were even familiar with the term “LGBT.” But now the term has become common knowledge. However, the area where progress is still lagging the most is in legislation, the fact that the laws haven't changed much remains a major issue. So despite increasing awareness, the current situation is that LGBTQ individuals are still living under a society and fundamental rules that function as if they don't exist. So through events like Pride, it's important to convey the message that LGBTQ individuals actually exist in reality, and are right there. Perhaps even right next door to you. We are still in a phase where we need to continue firmly communicating that.

Anika Osaki Exum  10:57  

So, is Pride strictly a Tokyo thing?

Fumino Sugiyama  10:59  

No. Pride events are now being held in like 30 locations across Japan. Not just in Tokyo but also from Hokkaido to Okinawa, spanning the entire country. In that sense, I also think we've achieved considerable success in terms of visibility.

Anika Osaki Exum  11:18  

I've heard from both Japanese people and non-Japanese people that compared to other countries, Japan is pretty peaceful. And so there isn't too much blatant discrimination towards queer people, or violence for that matter.

Fumino Sugiyama  11:33  

I think there are a lot of different opinions on this. And this is one of them. But this applies not only to the LGBTQ community, but also to the character of Japan as a society and as a country. Relative to other countries, Japan has low levels of violence, but we are not completely free from it. Hate crimes exist, and there have been cases of assault or even murder. However, in terms of numbers, it’s likely very low. On the other hand, there's the experience of being ignored or being treated as if we don't exist. So even though I may walk at the front of the parade without someone throwing a single stone at me, there’s still deeply rooted discrimination and prejudice. As a result, individuals struggle with their self-esteem suppressing themselves, blaming themselves and sometimes this leads to suicide. The suicide rate among LGBTQ individuals is significantly high, with more than six times that of straight people, and over 10 times more than straight people for transgender individuals. And particularly during middle school and high school, there is a peak period where LGBTQ kids are really suffering. And so that's why I believe it is important to establish proper legal protections.

Anika Osaki Exum  13:05  

Now, partnership and familyship systems have made incremental progress in recognizing same-sex couples and families, but some might also have the opinion that those systems are sufficient. What are your thoughts on that?

Fumino Sugiyama  13:19  

On the partnership systems, it was in 2015, when the issuance of certificates for same-sex partners was first implemented in Shibuya and Setagaya wards in Tokyo, it was significant news in Japan. And now after nearly eight years, I think over 300 municipalities have established them locally, and around 4,000 to 5,000 couples have applied for it. Starting from November 2022, it also started in metropolitan Tokyo. So now it covers about 70% of the population nationwide. So I think this is a very significant development. But there is that opinion that I've heard, saying that having a partnership system is sufficient. While I do hear that, it's important to note that this is a system implemented by local governments and not a legal framework. It doesn't provide legal protection. So issues like inheritance and other aspects still pose challenges. Seeking same-sex marriage or marriage equality is about stating that while all citizens should be equal, there are people who can marry and people who can't. This implies that LGBTQ individuals are not included among “all citizens.” Such a message perpetuates deep-rooted discrimination and prejudice. So even if some suggests expanding the partnership system instead of pursuing same-sex marriage, there should be discussions about that. And some might even question the institution of marriage itself. But right now, it is a crucial law for human dignity. And I think we need to examine that as a start line.

Anika Osaki Exum  15:15  

Right. Well, while the legal protections are still lacking, can you talk to us a little bit about acceptance in Japan, and maybe from your personal experiences?

Fumino Sugiyama  15:30  

Well, I’m 41 years old, turning 42 this year, but when I came out, I was in my mid-teens. At the time, I told my parents that I might be transgender. Well, back then, I didn't even know the word transgender, so I used the term gender identity disorder. When I mentioned it, my parents couldn't even look me in the eye anymore. They thought I was mentally ill and told me to go to the hospital. That was a difficult time, but I also think my parents were struggling because they didn't know anything about it. Since then, we've repaired our relationship while facing many challenges, and now they are my biggest supporters. And our family gets along very well. At the same time, I think that both Japanese society and families in general are gradually becoming more aware and acknowledging the existence of diverse identities. However, when people like me openly speak about it, we attract attention as if we represent a completely new form of family, and I find that a bit strange. Families come in various forms, and there are as many shapes as there are families and individuals. So many different ways of living are emerging today and they believe it's only a natural progression that we will see different areas of family units emerging as well.

Anika Osaki Exum  17:00  

Are many others starting to speak openly about this too?

Fumino Sugiyama  17:05  

There are still many people who cannot speak up because they fear being bullied or ostracized, and they continue to live with that anxiety. That seems to be the current situation in Japanese society. Personally, I'm really grateful because the people around me, including my friends and family, have been incredibly supportive. In fact, we have three parents and six grandparents for our children. So they're happily and joyfully spending time with all these adults. 

Anika Osaki Exum  17:38  

Well, Fumino, thanks for joining us on Deep Dive.

Fumino Sugiyama  17:41  

Hai, arigatou gozaimashita! Thank you very much.

Shaun McKenna  17:53  

Anika, it was interesting to hear how the current situation around the legal lack of protection for LGBTQ individuals is affecting Japanese citizens, though it's not limited to people who were born here, right?

Anika Osaki Exum  18:04  

Right, and to get more on what needs to be done on the policy side, I spoke to Elin McCready, who is a linguistics professor at Aoyama Gakuin University here in Tokyo. And she is originally from the United States, Texas, but has been living here for quite a long time.

Elin McCready  18:22  

So I came here as an exchange student in ’94, actually, to Waseda, and learned to speak Japanese … went to a lot of shows, made a zine about the hardcore and noise scenes.

Anika Osaki Exum  18:34  

Oh, wow, that's awesome. Um, I also studied at Waseda for a semester…

Elin McCready  18:39

Oh did you? Amazing.

Anika Osaki Exum  18:34    

… in like 2016, but yeah, I want to get into you, your family, your wife and your experiences here in Japan. So how did you meet your wife, Midori.

Elin McCready  18:50  

So we met in ’98 I guess it was. So one of my friends from my exchange period at Waseda came to Tokyo from his JET Programme situation out in Shimane and got all his friends together, and I was one of his friends and so was Midori. And so we all went to this yakitori place and, from the yakitori place, I was going on to a club and a few people came out with me. And that's how we met. Yeah. So we got married in 2000, actually on Leap Year Day.

Anika Osaki Exum  19:20  

Awesome. And so I'm gonna get into your transition. Is it correct that you returned to the U.S.?

Elin McCready  19:26  

Actually, no, I gave my mother a power of attorney and she went to the courthouse for me in Texas and handled the paperwork situation and the conversation with the judge, which is what you have to do in Texas. These things. Yeah.

Anika Osaki Exum  19:38  

Got it. OK, so you were in Japan? How was that process?

Elin McCready  19:43  

The process, you know, like, I think it was actually quite a bit easier than it would be perhaps to do it now in Texas. So I kind of thought it was going to be quite difficult because I'd seen horror stories on the internet. And also because it's a bit the procedure is a little bit unspecific because you take your paperwork to the judge and the judge makes a decision based on what the judge thinks and wants. And so, if you draw the wrong judge, you're in trouble. So people, like, were very, very careful to make sure that their case would come up at a time that Judge X was working and stuff like this. And, you know, I didn't do any of these things. But it all went very easily. I think my mom was in and out of there within half an hour, an hour or something like that.

Anika Osaki Exum  20:23  

And then did you have any expectations on the Japan side? What did you expect on the legal side when you did have to transition in Japan?

Elin McCready  20:33  

Well, I kind of didn't know what to expect because I hadn't really heard about other similar cases. But making phone calls and looking around, it seemed like the thing to do was gender change in Texas, change the U.S. passport, take the new passport into the immigration and get them to update the residence card. And I thought, OK, this could be quite difficult, but actually, it was extremely trivial. It only took, well, it's immigration, so it took a bit of time. But so they didn't have to hem and haw in the back and kind of disappear for ages. They just did the thing on the spot, which is nice. But you know, after that it was complicated, taking the residence card to the local ward office, and trying to get them to update my local paperwork. So they took my new residence card, they said, “Oh, yeah, no problem. Just wait a minute.” And then they came back, and they said, “OK, so, says here that you're married. So you're divorced now, yeah?” And I said, “No.” And they're like, “Please wait a minute.” And then the hemming and hawing, and disappearing into the back began, and then finally somebody came back and said, “Actually, we can't do this, we have to call to the Tokyo government.” And then things went up to the Ministry of Justice. And, like, my impression was that nobody really knew what to do. And then, ultimately, the decision was to do nothing.

Anika Osaki Exum  21:54  

  1. So in 2021, you and your wife sued Japan's government and your past and present municipalities of residence after they've refused to recognize you and your wife's marriage following your transition? So can you lay out for listeners, what happened there? How you decided to do so, and I guess where things currently stand?

Elin McCready  22:13  

Sure. Yeah, so when the ward refused to do the paperwork update, and told us to sort of sit tight and wait for a decision from the higher-ups in the government, we thought, OK, you know, at a point, they contacted us and said, “We cannot leave you as married, but we can put your wife down as a relative, distant enough relative as to not have another kind of name. So this we can do?” And we said, “No, we don't do that.” And so then went back to the drawing board, and it just sat there and sat there and sat there. And, occasionally, I’d call and say “What's going on?” They'd say, “Nothing.” And then finally, they called us and said, “OK, the directive is, don't update that part. You can change the name and you can change whatever else, but you cannot change the gender marker.” Because, you know, because Japan doesn't have same-sex marriage. And so like it would cause a precedent that the government didn't want. Then we thought, OK, what shall we do? Well, we either let it sit, or we sue. And we decided that neither Midori or I are really people who are up for letting things sit when they seem wrong. So we decided to sue and we crowdfunded a lawsuit, found some lawyers, and ultimately filed the lawsuit in 2021, the status of the lawsuit now, the government, as far as I can see, their goal is to drag this out as long as possible until in hopes that somebody gets tired. And so far, we have been petitioning for them to release documents relating to our case, after resisting this and resisting this, eventually there was, they were released documents, but the documents were all redacted, like everything was blacked out — everything. And so that now there's a petition to release unredacted documents, and the government is deciding to resist this as well. So we're in like, we're two years in and we haven't even got the paperwork that they sent around. So that's where it is at the moment. And so it's extremely frustrating. And, frankly, I am getting tired.

Anika Osaki Exum  24:11  

Yeah, definitely, yeah, that touches on my next question, what are the emotions that you, your wife and your family, right, your three kids? How do you feel going through all this?

Elin McCready  24:21  

Well, you know, like, I always feel that Japan is a very, very nice place to live. People are super nice. And it's very safe and everything. Everything is great, until you run up against the bureaucracy, and then nothing is ever going to move — ever. And so in this sense, like all my all my worst predictions are confirmed in every way. So in a way, I'm completely unsurprised, that said, between this and the Japanese government's handling of the borders under corona, the combination of these things make me question in a way like, what the long-term status of our life here is. Yeah.

Anika Osaki Exum  24:59  

But In reading up on like a partnership system and the familyship system, and Tokyo, and have you heard things like, if we have those systems, maybe you should take advantage of those or instead of…

Elin McCready  25:12  

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, of course, you know, of course, people would say this because you know, it's better to have a partnership system than nothing, right? Or is the partnership system ultimately a red herring with no legal status that just makes people feel, “Oh, we got a bandaid on the problem, we don't actually have to do the sutures.” Ultimately, there's no sense in which a partnership is anything like a legal marriage. You don't get hospital visitation rights. The tax breaks aren't there. You don't get the opportunity to have a visa, which in my case, of course, is not relevant since I got permanent residency, but still. And so like, it's very much not what you want, I guess. But for us in particular, like, we're already married, why should why should we do that for? Yeah, I mean, I guess one thing that's changed for Midori and I during this process is we start to question very much the institution of marriage itself. And whether it even makes any sense to base your entire society, taxation, visa, everything else around an institution, that is itself like a kind of romanticization of romantic love. OK. Like, the conclusion I think the two of us have drawn from all this is, forget about marriage, you know, don't even want marriage don't care if we're married, but it's totally unfair, the way the government is handling our situation, and the situation of so many people for whom the stakes are much, much higher, for example, the visa situation. So for us, it's less about all for our own sakes, and more like a kind of, in a way of public service.

Anika Osaki Exum  26:51  

As a foreigner, who is an activist who is vocal on these issues, what's your experience been like? And do you feel any differences from say, if you were doing the same back in the U.S.?

Elin McCready  27:02  

I mean, yeah, absolutely. I guess my first question to myself, when I started doing all these things was, is it my place. You know, but on the other hand, I lived here for 20 years, I don't currently have a plan to leave. And so if I don't try to fix things here, who's gonna fix them for me? I need them fixed, and other people need them fixed too. For this court case, in particular, if I was Japanese, I couldn't do this, I couldn't have changed my gender marker in the first place. And this whole situation would never have arisen. So like, like, in this situation, the entire premise of this idea of the possibility of activism is me being a foreigner. And then as far as other people who are not Japanese, you know, being a person with permanent residency and a secure job, and something of a platform. I'm the one who can do it. So I'm the one who should do it, basically, is my thinking there. Yes.

Anika Osaki Exum  27:56  

And so that takes us into all that you are doing, if you want to give us a layout of yeah, all the things that you're, you've taken on.

Elin McCready  28:05  

I mean, so there’s this lawsuit thing, but independently of that, you know, so what kind of spaces are out there for queer people in Japan and in in Tokyo specifically? And the answer is, you know, like, people who aren't in the community would probably say, well, Tokyo has Nichome, in Shinjuku, this gay area, historical gay area. So surely everything is nice. I think it's really, I think it's quite nice — if you're a cisgender gay man, it's much less nice, but still, there are spaces if you're a cis-gay woman. But if you're trans, or if you're queer in some other way, then there aren't really spaces for you there. And my own experience was always feeling rather uncomfortable in that area. The result of these things and the lack of space, and the lack of any space for people like us to be in led us to start a party called Waifu, which is centered around queer femmes and trans people. And this has been ongoing since, I guess, 2019. So we've done quite a few of these parties and it's been really nice for a lot of people. I had people come up to me in those parties, especially in the early days, in tears and thank me for making the space. And so I guess the common feature of all of these activities is the choice not to wait for somebody else to do the thing that I/we want. Because, you know, none of these things are done in isolation. They're all part of collectives and all of us wanted to have certain things available to us and to others. So, yeah, that's what I've been up to. 

Anika Osaki Exum  29:42  

All right Elin, I'm really grateful to you for sharing so much with us today. Thank you so much for coming on Deep Dive, Elin.

Elin McCready  29:48  

Thanks for having me, it was really fun.

Shaun McKenna  29:56  

Anika, those were interesting conversations, we can put links to Elin's and Fumino’s socials in the show notes, and we'll be sure to cover the Fukuoka District Court's decision, listeners can find that on japantimes.co.jp. Also in The Japan Times, the government aims to introduce new My Number personal identification cards in 2026, with changes to information written on the cards according to draft proposals compiled by a government panel on Tuesday. The government will consider issuing the new cards with enhanced security as the current My Number cards introduced in 2016, will start to expire in 2026. The cards are valid for 10 years. The revisions are expected to be approved at a Cabinet meeting on Friday.

Anika Osaki Exum  30:39  

Japan is set to revise its working program for fourth-generation foreign nationals of Japanese descent and offer permanent residency to individuals who fulfill certain language requirements, immigration agency officials said Tuesday. The change of the program introduced in 2018 and aimed at helping develop human resources familiar with their home countries and Japan comes following low uptake among those eligible as well as calls to ease its conditions on the maximum age and period of stay in Japan. Under its current provisions, fourth-generation Japanese abroad ages 18 to 30 are eligible to work in the country under a designated activities visa. The maximum period of stay is five years and their families are not allowed to join them.

Shaun McKenna  31:22  

Our thanks again to Fumino Sugiyama and Elin McCready. This week's episode of Deep Dive was produced by Dave Cortez, dubbing for our Japanese interview was done by Taro. Our outro music was produced by Oscar Boyd and the theme music is by Japanese musician LLLL. I'm Shaun McKenna and my co-host today was Anika Osaki Exum. Anika, would you like to do the honors? 

Anika Osaki Exum  31:42


Shaun McKenna  31:44