Social Issues

Japan passes toothless law against discrimination towards LGBT communities

Tokyo, Jun 13 (EFE).- The lower house of the Japanese parliament on Tuesday approved a controversial law to prevent discrimination against LGBT people, although it does not include any concrete measure towards recognizing the rights of these communities.

The bill was approved by the lower house of the diet (parliament) after long sessions of parliamentary debates between the opposition – which has called for a stronger law – and the more conservative sections of the ruling coalition, which has called for diluting the draft further.

The bill now has to be approved by the upper house, which is also dominated by the alliance led by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s Liberal Democratic Party.

The text acknowledges that there is a lack of public awareness in Japan on the diversity of sexual orientations and gender identities and calls for efforts to change this situation by authorities, companies and educational institutions.

However, it does not lay down concrete actions in this regard.

The bill, whose initial progressive overtones were diluted and made generic and ambiguous, says that “all citizens can live with peace of mind,” and nobody should face discrimination.

The LDP has faced internal pressure against taking a stand in favor of freedom of sexual orientation and LGBT rights, as the party holds traditional family values and roles to be at the core of its political philosophy.

Japan is the only G7 country which does not have a central legal framework to recognize same-sex couples, although an increasing number of regional and local governments have allowed the registration of civil unions among gay couples, which carry certain rights and benefits.

In recent months, several local court verdicts have raised questions on the constitutionality of not allowing same-sex marriages, following legal action by groups working for LGBT rights.

The activists have welcomed these decisions but insisted that they would not be enough to force the government to take concrete steps towards legalizing same-sex marriages and granting other rights.

The petitioners plan to take the matter to higher courts. EFE


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