Japan’s Opposition Parties Vow To Legislate LGBTQ+ Equality Ahead Of Elections

Japan does not currently have an equality law protecting LGBTQ+ individuals from discrimination, although activists had pushed the government to pass such a law ahead of this summer’s Olympic Games.

Japan’s political opposition parties have promised to create legislation supporting LGBTQ+ equality, including marriage rights, ahead of this Sunday’s lower house elections.

Kyodo News reports that all six opposition parties are pledging to present bills in parliament that would extend equality rights to LGBTQ+ individuals. Four parties, including the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, the main opposition party, “agreed on a common policy of enacting an LGBT equality law,” while the Democratic Party for the People will consider enacting a same-sex marriage law, the news outlet reports. 

Japan does not currently have an equality law protecting LGBTQ+ individuals from discrimination, although activists had pushed the government to pass such a law ahead of this summer’s Olympic Games. The country currently does not recognize same-sex marriage although Kyodo News reports that 130 municipalities across the country, including Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward, have introduced partnership certificates for same-sex couples. 

In March of this year, a Sapporo District Court ruled that the government’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. The decision marked the first time same-sex marriage rights were legally recognized in the country. It also revitalized the push for an equality law by some members of the country’s ruling conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), the Japan Times reports. However, legislation stalled in the last parliamentary session.

Japan’s Prime Minister and LDP leader, Fumio Kishida, has promised to raise awareness about sexual minorities but is reluctant to support same-sex marriage and has said his party has no plans to enact equality legislation, Kyodo News reports. 

The LDP and its coalition partner, Komeito, are expected to hold a majority of seats in the lower house in Sunday’s election, The Diplomat reports, but are expected by some experts to lose about 30 seats.


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