Japan’s powerful lower house passed a bill to promote the understanding of LGBTQ+ issues amid protests by activists.
On Tuesday, Japan’s lower house passes a bill to spread awareness about LGBTQ+ issues. Activists complain that the last-minute modifications by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s conservative part favoured people who do not support people who believe in sexual equality.
The passage was a result of only a few hours of debate in the lower house last Friday, which seemed exceptionally brief. The law will soon be passed to the upper house for approval, which is also ruled by Kashida’s alliance.
Japan is the sole member out of the seven main industrialized nations to not have legislative rights for the LGBTQ community. Even if the Japanese population is highly supportive of the community, the opposition is strong with the Liberal Democratic party in power, which is recognized for its conservative values and reluctance to support gender equality.
LGBTQ+ activists are trying their best to achieve an anti-discrimination law ever since a former Kashida aide said that they wouldn’t live alongside LGBTQ people, and if same-sex marriage is allowed the citizens of the country would flee.
The bill’s final version when passed on Tuesday said that sexual discrimination is unjust, and doesn’t mention that there is a ban on it, this might be because some lawmakers are against giving transgender rights. Some party members believe that there should be more awareness among people before there is a ban or anti-discrimination measure introduced.
The bill states that the citizen’s knowledge about different sexual orientations and gender identities isn’t enough. Measures should be taken to create conditions where all people can live with peace of mind. Critics of the government say that this clearly shows the party prioritizing the concern of people not being supportive of equal rights over sexual minorities.
Recent surveys show that a majority of Japanese people support the legalization of same-sex marriage while some are not. The business community is increasingly supporting it.
Kashida said that public views may vary on this topic, and that would affect people a lot if the law is legalized. Before the law is passed a wide understanding and discussion is required.
Last Thursday, a court in Fukuoka, southern Japan, said that the lack of legislative powers for LGBTQ+ people seemed very discriminatory and unjust. There were five court challenges filed in 2019 by 14 same-sex couples, accusing the government of violating their equality. Four courts said that the present government policy is unconstitutional, while the fifth court said that the prohibition on same-sex marriage is constitutional.