The plaintiff had argued that the decision was unconstitutional because it violated the principle of equality by introducing a discrimination among the potential recipients of the subsidies.
On 5 October 2023, a High Court in Japan has upheld the judgment of a lower court which had denied a sex-related business activity access to COVID-19 subsidies in the light of the government subsidies schemes which did not mention such activities among the eligible subjects.
The plaintiff had argued that such decision was unconstitutional because it violated the principle of equality by introducing a discrimination among the potential recipients of the subsidies.
The lower court had, however, upheld the constitutionality of the government’s decision, while also saying that, since such business activities are contrary to the moral understanding of most people, it is reasonable to treat them differently.
The plaintiff filed an appeal, but the High Court rejected it. The court pointed out that, although the public opinion’s understanding of sex-related values has changed over time, sex-related businesses are still considered inappropriate, at least when publicly acknowledged. Therefore, the court said, the government could reasonably consider that it would be difficult to obtain public approval for a measure which allowed sex-related businesses to get COVID-19 subsidies.