LGBTQ rights activists are hoping Japan may finally allow same-sex marriage if Taro Kono, who has publicly supported gay marriage, becomes the country's next prime minister — but change will not come easily.

Kono is seen as a leading contender to win the ruling party's leadership vote on Wednesday, which will effectively decide the nation's new prime minister.

Of the four candidates for the Liberal Democratic Party leadership, Kono and Seiko Noda have supported gay marriage. Within Asia, same-sex marriage is currently only legal in Taiwan.