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Japan lawmakers to introduce landmark LGBTI anti-discrimination bill

Japan lawmakers to introduce landmark LGBTI anti-discrimination bill

Marchers at Japan Tokyo Pride in 2012

Japan’s main opposition party will introduce a landmark bill banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity when parliament opens next week.

The Democratic Party of Japan drafted the legislation, which it hopes to jointly submit with other opposition parties on 4 January.

The proposed law would prohibit discrimination against the LGBTI employees of central and local governments, as well as private businesses. The central government would be required to draw up guidelines to eliminate discrimination in the workplace, and companies that fail to follow them would be named and shamed.

The bill would also require schools to teach staff and students about LGBTI issues, and employers to promote awareness of such topics through training programs.

The bill comes amid growing public awareness of LGBTI issues in the conservative country, after Tokyo’s Shibuya ward became the first local government to issue certificates recognizing same-sex partnerships as equivalent to marriage in November.

A coalition of 58 LGBTI groups released a report in April calling for such legislation, citing more than 250 examples of discriminatory behavior.