Ruling and opposition parties lock horns over 'toned down' LGBT bill

Japanese lawmakers planning to submit a nonpartisan bill aimed at promoting understanding of the LGBTQ community locked horns during a meeting on Monday.

The main ruling Liberal Democratic Party last week agreed to reword the bill compiled by the nonpartisan group two years ago. LDP divisions on the precise wording of the bill had prevented it from being submitted to the Diet.

The LDP says it will reword part of the bill that translates as "discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is forbidden" to "there should be no unfair discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity."

The LDP presented its revised draft at Monday's nonpartisan group meeting, saying the rephrasing will not change the legal interpretation of the bill.

Members of the LDP's junior coalition partner, Komeito, stressed the need to pass the bill during the current Diet session if no change in the spirit of the bill is confirmed.

But members of the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party objected, calling the rephrasing "backpedaling." They said, "discrimination can never be categorized as fair or unfair and if the rephrasing will not change the bill's legal interpretation, why change it?"

They demanded that a general meeting of the nonpartisan group be convened to discuss the matter.

The Japanese Communist Party also called the revision unacceptable, while the Nippon Ishin Japan Innovation Party and the Democratic Party for the People called for no revisions to the bill.