Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) on Tuesday (25 June) revealed a draft bill aiming to improve understanding of LGBT issues.
Local LGBTI rights advocates criticized the draft for containing no mention of same-sex marriage or anti-discrimination legislation.
The LDP’s special committee took three years to consult on and draft the ‘LGBT Understanding and Enhancement Bill’.
It includes a basic plan for the ‘realization of a tolerant society that accepts the diversity of sexual orientation and gender identity’, according to Asahi TV.
LDP’s LGBT special committee chairman Furuya said the party hopes to submit the bill in the next session of parliament.
‘It seems that it would be just a call for promotion of understanding about LGBT … without any punishment against discrimination’ local LGBTI rights activist, Hideki Sunagawa, told Gay Star News.
He also said the LDP’s voter base would not support for the LGBT bill.
The LDP is known for its anti-LGBT stance. Its lawmakers have made homophobic comments. And, the administration has shown little interest in advancing LGBT rights.
The LDP currently holds a two-thirds majority in parliament.
LGBTI rights bill
It comes as one of Japan’s major opposition party, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDP) pledged to protect LGBT rights as it announced its election promises.
It would implement anti-discrimination legislation and legalize same-sex marriage if it wins upper house elections this year, party president Yukio Edano said according to local media.
Conservative Japan does not allow same-sex marriage. National laws do not protect LGBTI people from discrimination.
But, in Tokyo, a city-wide anti-discrimination bill protects against discrimination based on gender identity or sexuality.
What’s more, laws force transgender people to undergo sterilization before they can legally change gender.
But, in the last year, the CDP has drafted bills to end discrimination and bring marriage equality.
Earlier this month, the CDP joined other opposition parties to draft a bill that would change the country’s definition of marriage from a ‘man and a woman’.
In October last year, CDP announced it would introduce LGBTI anti-discrimination legislation to the country’s legislature.
LGBTI rights activists were dismayed that notorious homophobe and lawmaker Mio Sugita joined the LDP committee.
Sugita last year said there was no need for LGBTI education in schools.
‘They told me that the suicide rate among homosexual children is six times higher than that of normal children. “Do you still think it’s unnecessary?” they asked,’ Sugita explained.
‘Even if the suicide rate is high, the priority is low, I think,’ she replied to the question.
She also called LGBT people ‘unproductive’.