Japan’s ruling LDP panel seeks swift passage of LGBT understanding law

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A ruling party committee said on Thursday it would aim to enact legislation to promote understanding of sexual minorities during the Diet’s current session, which ends in June.

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

It also calls on businesses and schools to promote understanding of LGBT people and to ensure opportunities for consultation on the issues they face. The bill does not set penalties for non-compliance, according to the draft plan.

The committee sought to present a similar bill in 2016, but encountered opposition within the PLD.

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The decision to pass an LGBT law has picked up steam after the Sapporo District Court ruled in March that it was unconstitutional for Japan not to recognize same-sex marriage. However, there is still outright 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 would seek the understanding of those opposed to the bill.

“The LDP, as a conservative party, should not rule something out by just using the phrase ‘traditional family’,” she said.

Also on Thursday, the large Japanese advertising agency Dentsu Inc. released a survey that shows that 80.1% of respondents in the country are familiar with the term “LGBT”.

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

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

The survey also showed that 82.2% of those polled are in favor of the idea of ​​legalizing same-sex marriage, compared to 78.4%. Those who approved of the idea represented 31% and those who somewhat supported the idea represented 51.2%.

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

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

The proportion of respondents who consider themselves LGBTQ or another sexual minority is 8.9%, unchanged from the previous survey.

The latest survey was conducted online in December last year, covering 60,000 people across Japan between the ages of 20 and 59.

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