the parliament of Japan gave half approval to a bill for “promote understanding“of the collective LGBTQ+despite the fact that it was criticized by human rights activists for various reasons, including for not offering concrete measures to expand the rights of the community.
The regulations were the product of months of deliberation by legislators of the only G7 Asian country, which is also the only one in which same-sex marriage is illegal, as established in its Constitution that dates from the end of World War II. This Tuesday, June 13, they reached an agreement that included a anti-discrimination clause It was not without controversy.
LGTBQ+ (lesbian, gay, trans, bisexual, queer and other) rights is an issue that divides public opinion in Japan and generated noise in the Liberal-Democratic Party (LDP) government, headed by the prime minister Fumio Kishida, that in February he had to fire an official for homophobic comments.
The pro tempore president of the G7 has also received pressure in recent months from his peers in the forum to adopt a text that would further protect the diverse group. However, he encountered resistance among conservative groups in Parliament, a picture that seems to be at odds with Japanese society which mostly favors expanding rights, including civil union, according to the latest polls.
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Criticism of Japan’s LGBTQ law
The most conservative deputies were reluctant to include a anti-discrimination clausetionarguing that this “would aggravate divisions within society” and that it could lead to “abusive legal proceedings”.
After weeks of deliberation, an agreement was reached with a clause prohibiting any “unfair discrimination” towards sexual and gender minorities. This caused a stir on the part of human rights activists, who denounced that the word “unfair” weakens the scope of that clause since it follows that some discrimination would be fair.
“We strongly condemn (this bill) whose content is the opposite of what we had claimed,” criticized the Japanese organization for the defense of the rights of LGBT+ people J-ALL, in a statement on Tuesday.
In addition, they denounced that the content of the law “betrays” to the people of the collective, by taking into “consideration” the authors of the discriminations.
To enter into force, the law will have to be voted on in Parliament, although in principle this will be no more than a formality, since the ruling coalition also has a large majority in the Upper House.
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Japanese society and equal marriage
Contrary to the government and the majority of Japanese deputies, who are more conservative, the Japanese population is overwhelmingly in favor of same-sex marriage legislation.
According to several polls, including one in April by the Japanese television channel NHK, the 60% were in favor of legalizing equal marriage. To this was added the attitude of the private sector, where 40% of the largest companies in Japan introduced measures to respect the LGTBQ collective in the workplace, according to the NGO Nijiiro Diversity.
The rainbow flag movement reached a turning point in 2019, when militants launched coordinated legal actions across the country to urge the Japanese state to compensate LGBTQ+ couples for preventing them from marrying and enjoying benefits. rights associated with civil union.