Protest in support of LGBTQ people, in Sapporo, Japan, September 12, 2020.

The bill to promote the acceptance of sexual minorities in Japan sees its future compromised: proposed by the opposition and supported by part of the ruling coalition, the text was to be adopted before the end, on June 16, of the current parliamentary session. Even if it did not provide for sanctions against possible breaches, it would have represented a significant step forward in the run-up to the Olympic Games, whose charter prohibits all forms of discrimination.

However, the strong mobilization of the conservative members of the Liberal Democratic Party (PLD, in power) wasted precious time, which excludes the adoption of the text before June 14 and obliges to postpone it to an indefinite date.

This is another victory for opponents of any recognition of LGBT rights in Japan, who blocked a similar text in 2016. This time, they have multiplied objections during meetings of the parliamentary group responsible for the issue, polluting the debates of interventions sometimes “Unbearable to follow”, according to the words of a PLD member favorable to the text, reported by the center-left daily Mainichi.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also In Japan, transgender people still victims of discrimination

Several opponents called LGBT people “Morally unacceptable”. Kazuo Yana, deputy of the department of Tochigi (southwest), accused them of “Block the preservation of the species”. Eriko Yamatani, elected from Tokyo known for her proximity to ultranationalist movements, attacked the rights given to transgender people abroad, which allow “People with a male body to participate in female competitions, because they say they identify mentally with women”.

“Insults by Japanese officials against LGBT people are not new, but they are increasingly out of touch with Japanese public opinion”, wants to believe the NGO Human Rights Watch, which awarded the “Gold medal for homophobia in Japan”. These insults are all the more damaging given that Laurel Hubbard, a New Zealand weightlifter, is due to become the first transgender athlete to participate in the Olympics this summer in Tokyo.

“Discriminatory treatment”

The positioning of the PLD is not new. In 2018, MP Mio Sugita had spread in the magazine Shincho 45 to castigate same-sex couples, who “Do not have children, lack productivity and do not contribute to the prosperity of the nation”.

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