(Nikkei: January 29, 2016, Evening edition – p. 2)
The ruling and opposition parties are joining hands to enhance support to LGBT individuals.
Education Minister Hiroshi Hase heads a bipartisan parliamentary league on LGBT issues, which was launched last spring. He took part in the drafting of special legislation related to gender identity disorder, which was sponsored by legislators and enacted in 2003. He is actively campaigning to raise public awareness of the issue and change people’s mindsets.
Masaaki Taniai, a House of Councillors member with Komeito Party, serves as head of the secretariat of the parliamentary league. He played a part in reviewing the special legislation on gender identity disorder as a head of a party task force on the issue. He emphasizes that LBGT issues are not domestic affairs and how Japan addresses these will draw a great deal of international attention.
The leading opposition Democratic Party of Japan allies with the ruling parties on this issue. DPJ Policy Chief Goshi Hosono acts as advisor to the parliamentary league. The party has already drafted an outline of legislation aimed at eliminating discrimination against LGBT individuals and is promoting Diet discussions on the establishment of legislation.
The parliamentary league is also joined by young members. Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Cabinet Office Karen Makishima acts as deputy secretariat head. She took the initiative in launching a study group in the party. From the Japanese Communist Party, Saori Ikeuchi, a rookie House of Representatives member, joins the ranks of the league. (Abridged)