Japan's leading opposition party submitted to parliament on Monday a bill to legally recognize same-sex marriage in an effort to spur debate on the issue.
The Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan's bill proposes amending wording in the country's Civil Code that has been written on the premise that marriage is a union between partners of different sexes.
Japan is the only Group of Seven country that does not legally recognize same-sex marriage or civil unions, with the government and ruling party remaining cautious about the issue.
Issues surrounding sexual minorities have attracted more public attention since Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in February sacked one of his executive secretaries who said he would "not want to live next door" to an LGBTQ couple and does "not even want to look at" LGBTQ people.
But Kishida remains cautious about legalizing same-sex marriage, telling a parliamentary session on March 1 that doing so "could change society as it concerns the lives of the people extensively," calling for further debate.
Many ruling Liberal Democratic Party members have opposed same-sex marriage, saying they favor respecting traditional family values.
CDP Executive Deputy President Chinami Nishimura told reporters after presenting the bill, "It is discriminatory that same-sex marriage is not allowed."
In June 2019, the predecessor party of CDP jointly proposed with the Japanese Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party a bill aimed at legalizing same-sex marriage, but the Diet session at the time closed without it being deliberated.