LGBT community hopes election spurs gay rights debate, legislation


The LGBT community and their allies hope the upcoming upper house election will help advance the national discussion on LGBT rights in Japan and lead to legal recognition. Small headway has been made at the local level, with some municipalities, starting with two wards in Tokyo in 2015, issuing “partnership certificates” to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender couples. But such moves have yet to translate into national legislation and marriage equality remains unrecognized by the Japanese government. The situation prompted 13 same-sex couples to sue the Japanese government in February alleging unconstitutional treatment. Transgendered people can change their sex on their family registries in Japan but to do so they must jump through multiple hoops including invasive gender reassignment surgery. Shigeyoshi Suzuki, a 41-year-old elementary school teacher in Tokyo, is expecting politicians to “take the initiative to get involved” in LGBT issues in the July 21 House of Councillors election.

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