LGBTQ groups in Japan hope that the PM race might lead to legalisation of gay marriages in Japan. Taro Kono and Seiko Noda, two of the Prime Minister candidates of the Liberal Democratic Party have publicly supported same-sex marriages in discussions. Kono is seen as the leading competitor to win the votes of the ruling party in the election on Wednesday.
If Taro Kono becomes the next Prime Minister of the country, the queer right activists of the country hope that, Japan might finally allow gay marriages. Currently, the only country where same-sex marriage is legal in Asia is Taiwan.
Queer activists said the fact that the issue of same-sex marriages which was a cultural flashpoint among the conservative families in Japan, being discussed in the Prim Minister race showed the issue’s acceptance among the lawmakers and the public. Gon Matsunaka, an LGBT rights activist in Tokyo says that it is great that Kono visibly supported same-sex marriage and it indicated that the topic came from someone inside the Liberal Democratic Party.
Makiko Terahara is a lawyer who leads an organisation campaigning for gay marriages. He says that same-sex marriage had never been raised as an issue in the leadership races in the past, which shows the extend of progress made by the LGBTQ community in the country.
In 2015, Shibuya ward in Tokyo had become the first municipality to recognise same-sex partners in certificates. Such certificates only provide limited legal rights to the couples, even though they recognise the gay partners.
In a poll conducted by Asah newspaper found out that only 22% the participants opposed gay marriages while 65% supported marriage between same-sex couples. Despite the public support, a political change will not come easily, as it would be a different matter, activists say.