• Jiji


Some members of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party are calling for a new law to improve public understanding about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

The LDP’s Special Mission Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, chaired by former Defense Minister Tomomi Inada, hopes to draw up such a bill for enactment as early as the current session of the Diet, the country’s parliament, ending in June.

“We want to submit it before the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games,” a party lawmaker said.

Proponents of such a law in the party have been energized by a Sapporo District Court ruling that stated that the government’s failure to approve same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

“If the public’s understanding about LGBT people increases, we’ll be able to have deeper discussions on same-sex marriage and partnership,” Inada said on Twitter just after the ruling was issued on March 17.

The committee worked out an outline of an envisioned law in 2016 that included the goal of “realizing a society in which all people live together fully respecting each other’s personality and individuality regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity.”

The outline said the government should draw up a basic plan toward the goal, review related policy measures regularly and set up a liaison body among government agencies.

At that time, the efforts did not lead to the introduction of a bill because many LDP members were cautious about such legislation. Discussions on the matter petered out in the party.

“The atmosphere has clearly changed since then. I guess we can submit the bill this time,” a committee source said.

Regarding issues of gender and sexuality, LDP Policy Research Council Chairman Hakubun Shimomura has asked the committee to hold discussions to help promote public understanding and achieve a society more tolerant of diversity.

Komeito, the LDP’s partner in the ruling coalition, has launched a working team on same-sex marriage.

In the LDP, however, conservative members with traditional family views are still cautious about the proposed bill.

“We’re not sure how many opponents our party has,” a committee source said.

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