Japan's governing coalition approves reworded 'LGBT bill'

Japan's ruling coalition parties have officially approved amendments to a bill aimed at promoting understanding of the LGBTQ community that was drafted by a nonpartisan group of lawmakers.

The Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito intend to submit the so-called "LGBT bill" to the Diet by the end of this week.

The bill was written by the nonpartisan group two years ago, but divisions among LDP members about the precise wording of the bill prevented it from being submitted to the Diet.

On Tuesday, the LDP's General Council approved the amendments that included reworded lines.

One line, which translates as "discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is forbidden" was changed to "there should be no unfair discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity."

The bill was then officially approved by both coalition parties. They plan to ask the opposition to support the revised bill before they submit it to the Diet.

LDP Policy Research Council Chairperson Hagiuda Koichi says thorough discussions enabled them to reach a conclusion. He says his party hopes to submit the bill to the Diet as soon as possible.

Komeito's Policy Research Council Chair Takagi Yosuke says he is pleased that the ruling parties reached an agreement. He said he hopes to submit the bill with the support of as many people as possible, so that it can be enacted.

Supporters of the LGBTQ community met in the Diet building after the revised bill was approved.

Transgender male Asanuma Tomoya argued that the revised line that says there should be no unfair discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity "endorses the existence of fair discrimination."
He said Japan does not need a bill that does not completely forbid discrimination.

The leader of a support group, Matsuoka Soshi, expressed concern that the legislation could suppress, rather than promote, understanding and ultimately advance discrimination.

He said it is totally unacceptable for lawmakers to step away from the original bill that the nonpartisan group supported. He added that he wants the government to enact a law that protects people from discrimination and prejudice.