A senior aide of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has recently come under fire for making discriminatory remarks towards the LGBTQ community. In response, Japanese LGBTQ people and rights groups are calling for the government to enact laws banning discrimination and legalizing same-sex marriage before the country hosts the Group of Seven summit in May.
The discriminatory remarks were made by Kishida aide Masayoshi Arai, who was fired after he stated that he wouldn’t want to live near LGBTQ people and that citizens would flee Japan if same-sex marriage was allowed. This led to a news conference held on Tuesday where LGBTQ activists and supporters demanded immediate action from the government to legalize same-sex marriage, establish a team to guarantee LGBTQ rights, appoint a special aide for LGBTQ rights, and include statistics of same-sex couples in the national census.
Japan is currently the only member of the Group of Seven that does not have a law protecting LGBTQ rights. Takako Uesugi, a lawyer and director of Marriage For All Japan, commented that Japan’s lack of effort to establish legal protection amounts to promoting discrimination and that the country is not fit to lead the G-7 summit without addressing this issue. In recent years, there has been growing support for sexual diversity in Japan, however, legal protections are still lacking and LGBTQ individuals often face discrimination in various aspects of their lives.