• Jiji


A ruling party committee said Thursday that it will aim to enact a law to promote understanding of sexual minorities during the ongoing session of the Diet, set to end in June.

A draft outline of the bill, presented at a meeting of the Liberal Democratic Party’s Special Mission Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, requires the government to set a basic plan for promoting understanding of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and to review its policies every three years.

It also calls on companies and schools to promote understanding of LGBT people and ensure opportunities for consultations over issues they face. The bill does not set penalties for noncompliance, according to the draft outline.

The committee sought to introduce a similar bill in 2016, but it met opposition within the LDP.

The move to pass an LGBT law regained steam after Sapporo District Court ruled in March that it was unconstitutional for Japan not to recognize same-sex marriage. However, there is still adamant opposition to such a law within the LDP, mainly from conservative members seeking to protect traditional family values.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, former Defense Minister Tomomi Inada, who chairs the LDP committee, said she will seek understanding from those opposed to the bill.

“The LDP, as a conservative party, shouldn’t exclude something just by using the phrase ‘traditional family,'” she said.

Also Thursday, major Japanese ad agency Dentsu Inc. released a survey that showed 80.1% of respondents in the nation are aware of the term “LGBT.”

The rate was up 11.6 percentage points from the previous such survey, conducted in 2018.

“With the rate exceeding 80%, we can now say that the word has become common” in Japan, Dentsu said in its latest survey report on sexual minorities including LGBTQ, or LGBT, queer or questioning.

The survey also showed that 82.2% of respondents are in favor of the idea of legalizing same-sex marriage, up from 78.4%. Those approving of the idea accounted for 31% and those somewhat supporting the idea made up 51.2%.

The results showed that “many people are in favor” of legalizing same-sex marriage, Dentsu said.

In the survey, 43.3% said they knew that LGBT was one of many collective terms for sexual minorities, while 36.8% said they kind of knew that.

The proportion of respondents who think of themselves as LGBTQ or another sexual minority came to 8.9%, unchanged from the previous survey.

The latest survey was conducted online in December last year, covering 60,000 people across Japan age 20-59.

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