Tokyo 2020 to have most LGBTQ athletes ever

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics are set to be the most inclusive Games ever.

With more than 160 openly lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer athletes due to participate.

But the inclusion has put a spotlight on the host nation Japan.

Where activists say the country still has a long way to go.

Gon Matsunaka is the founder of Japan's first LGBTQ center, Pride House.

"I think lots of people in the world think that Japan is the human rights defender, but it's opposite, because we don't have any marriage equality, we don't have any law to ban discrimination on sexual orientation or gender identity, we also have a law for transgender people but they have to go undergo surgery to change their sex officially."

The Olympic charter bans discrimination and while Tokyo passed an anti-discrimination law three years ago, the same legal protections are not in place for much of the rest of the country.

Rights activists hope to use the Games as an opportunity to raise awareness and public support for LGBTQ+ issues.

Among them is Fumino Sugiyama.

The 39-year-old is a former fencer for the Japan national team and a transgender activist.

He organizes the city's annual pride march and became the first transgender person to be appointed to the Japanese Olympic Committee.

"With the timing of the Olympics, diversity and harmony are the main concepts and there is a growing momentum for valuing diversity. So the public want progress with this issue, even within the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC). However, there are not any members of the LGBTQ community who are able to talk openly about their sexuality and that is why I was asked to participate in this project."

There had been calls on the Japanese government to pass an LGBTQ+ equality law ahead of the Games.

But a bill was shelved in June after strong opposition among conservative lawmakers.