LGBTQ Activists In Japan Call For Equality Law To Be Enacted Before Toyko Games

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LGBTQ activists in Japan submitted a petition with over 106,000 signatures calling for the LGBT Equality Law to be enacted before Tokyo Games to Japan’s ruling party on March 25.

It states that as the host nation, Japan should live up to the Olympic charter banning gender and sexual discrimination.

The petition was submitted on the day the Olympic torch relay began counting down to the Olympic Games which are starting this July. LGBTQ activists in Japan say that the momentum for the law is rising as Japan is getting attention for how gender equality, diversity, and human rights issues are handled. Humans rights activists are also involved in the organisation of the petition.

Four main groups of LGBTQ activists in Japan organised the petition. One of the groups involved in the organisation of the petition is Japan Alliance for LGBT Legislation. The director of the Japan Alliance for LGBT Legislation, Yuri Igarashi stated that “Many LGBT people in Japan are still discriminated against … We need legislation to guarantee human rights and equality of LGBT people.” He added that “It is the responsibility for a host nation to legalise the equality act.”

According to Igarashi, the signatures were submitted to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party. They were also submitted to the ruling party’s junior coalition partner Komeito and to the opposition lawmakers.

Recently, a district court in Sapporo, Japan ruled that the same-sex ban was unconstitutional and violated the right to equality. The case promoted public support for equal rights, even though it had no immediate legal impact.  The ruling Liberal Democratic Party promised to raise awareness on issues faced by members of the LGBTQ community and stated that it is working on legislation “to promote understanding”. It is expected that the move will face opposition from conservatives within the party.

Fumino Sugiyama, former Olympian in fencing and transgender activist had stated that “We call for the equality law so that we can achieve a society where not only LGBTQ people but everyone can live in a safe and secure environment.”

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