This week’s news roundup is dominated by legal matters. In a significant victory for transgender rights activists, the Japanese Supreme Court ruled that the country’s “sterilization requirement” for a person to legally change genders is unconstitutional. A man charged with fatally shooting a doctor and attempting to attack medical staff last year claims he never intended to kill them. JR Kyushu is considering involving the police after four foreign influencers dodged train fares for a YouTube stunt. A notorious sugar baby is rearrested for swindling a man out of ¥52 million. And a Tokyo clinic is planning to take legal recourse against a woman who failed to inform them that her husband had died.  

A Step Forward for Transgender Rights  

In 2003, a law was passed in Japan allowing transgender people to change their gender marker on legal documents. While this seemed like a watershed moment for transgender rights, the procedure has proved discriminatory as only applicants who have undergone surgery to remove their sexual organs are accepted. It’s a law that has been criticized by groups around the world, including Human Rights Watch, which described it as “regressive and harmful.”

It seems that the Japanese Supreme Court finally agrees. On Wednesday, it ruled the sterility requirement clause unconstitutional. The plaintiff, identified only as a transgender woman under 50, said she was “very surprised” by the decision, but was “disappointed” that no conclusion was reached regarding the physical appearance condition, which states that applicants should have “a body that appears to have parts that resemble the genital organs of those of the opposite gender.” 

Foreign YouTubers Slammed for Freeloading Antics  

Foreign influencers causing trouble in Japan seems to be a running theme these days. The latest incident involves a group of four YouTubers who traveled up and down the country without paying. One of the culprits, Fidias Panayiotou, posted an apology on his YouTube channel. Speaking to his more than 2.3 million followers, he promised to do more research into the cultures he visits next time to prevent it from happening again.  

Part of a $10,000 challenge, Cypriot Panayiotou dodged train fares, begged for bus money and enjoyed breakfast at a five-star hotel without paying. His video “I Traveled Across Japan for Free” garnered over half a million views before being taken down. Another YouTuber known as Nightscape is also seen begging locals for money. It’s not clear when the footage was taken or if the four influencers are still in Japan. JR Kyushu is currently investigating the matter. 

Man Charged With Murdering Doctor Denies Intent to Kill  

The first hearing of Hiroshi Watanabe’s murder trial took place at Saitama District Court on Thursday. The 67-year-old defendant, who is accused of fatally shooting a doctor and attacking other medical staff, said at the trial that he had “never intended at all” to kill anyone. He claimed that he aimed his gun at the doctor’s right knee but missed his target. According to his defense team, he was under the influence of heavy amounts of sleeping pills.  

The incident occurred in January of last year, a day after Watanabe’s mother had died. His victim, Doctor Junichi Suzuki, allegedly refused to resuscitate her. During the attack, which took place at Watanabe’s home in Saitama, he also aimed his gun at a physical therapist, wounding him in the chest, and sprayed another medical worker with tear gas. After an 11-hour standoff, the police eventually stormed his house and arrested him.

‘Sugar Baby’ Riri-Chan Rearrested for Swindling Man out of ¥52 Million  

Mai Watanabe, 25, known on social media as “Itadaki-joshi Riri-chan“ (sugar-daddy Riri-chan), was rearrested on Sunday for swindling a 54-year-old man out of approximately ¥52 million between July 2021 and June 2022. The victim reportedly transferred the cash over on six occasions after she told him she was in debt due to the failure of her apparel company. According to investigators, she wanted to spend the money on host clubs.  

Watanabe was first arrested last month on charges of aiding and abetting fraud. She allegedly sold “papa katsu” manuals, advising females how to con older men out of money. In October, she was apprehended again for reportedly swindling a man she met on a matching app out of around ¥38 million. Hiroshi Tanaka, 26, and Kazuki Hashimoto, 34, were also taken in for questioning. Watanabe spent approximately ¥40 million in cash at the host club they work at.  

Woman Becomes Pregnant Using IVF After Concealing Husband’s Death 

Hara Medical Clinic in Tokyo suspended in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures on Sunday after it was revealed that a woman undergoing IVF treatment there became pregnant while, at the same time, concealing her husband’s death from doctors. This is in violation of the institution’s guidelines, which states that “treatment will be terminated if either spouse dies.” During a post-pregnancy consultation, the woman admitted that she had the fertilized egg implanted in her womb after her husband had passed away.  

According to the clinic, she “prioritized her strong desire to have a child,” adding that “this incident has the potential to threaten the non-anonymous donor, as the patient’s husband cannot become the legal parent of the child.” If identified, the sperm donor could be legally asked to accept recognition as the child’s father. The hospital, which reported the case to the Japan Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology, is now planning to take legal recourse against the woman. 

Kubo and Kyogo Shine in the Champions League  

In men’s soccer, Takefusa Kubo received yet another Player of the Match award as Real Sociedad defeated Benfica 1-0 in the Champions League. Takehiro Tomiyasu also impressed in the same competition for Arsenal in their 2-1 victory over Sevilla. Both Sociedad and Arsenal top their groups. Celtic, however, sit at the bottom of theirs following a 2-2 draw with Atlético Madrid. Kyogo Furuhashi continues to impress, though. He opened the scoring for the Hoops with a deft finish.

Furuhashi also scored on Sunday along with compatriots Daizen Maeda and Tomoki Iwata in Celtic’s 4-1 thumping of Hearts. Elsewhere in Europe, Freiburg’s Ritsu Doan and Daichi Hayashi of FC Nürnberg grabbed their first league goals of the season. Ao Tanaka and Daisuke Yokota both bagged braces for Fortuna Düsseldorf and Górnik Zabrze respectively. There were also goals for Standard Liège midfielder Hayao Kawabe and Gil Vicente’s Kanya Fujimoto. Wataru Endo, meanwhile, opened his account for Liverpool in the Europa League.