Tokyo, May 25 (Jiji Press)–Japan may not be able to enact a bill to promote understanding of sexual minorities before the current session of the Diet, the country’s parliament, ends on June 16.
This is because conservative members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party are persistently objecting to the bill, making it unclear whether the LDP will be able to reach a consensus over the bill soon.
LDP executives have no plan to extend the Diet session as the Tokyo metropolitan assembly election is scheduled for July 4, meaning that there is little time for deliberations on the bill for promoting understanding of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
Tomomi Inada, chair of the LDP’s Special Mission Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, who is in charge of the bill, aims to submit it to the Diet jointly with Komeito, the LDP’s coalition partner, and opposition parties after having the LDP approve it this week.
At the LDP, the bill needs to be approved unanimously by its Policy Research Council and General Council, but it is unclear whether that will be possible since both of them include members taking a cautious stance on the bill.
Conservative LDP members have voiced concerns over a wording of the bill that says “discrimination against LGBT people is unacceptable,” which was included as a result of talks with the opposition side.
Another bottleneck is that conservative LDP members are demanding that the bill be discussed at Diet committees, a process that is omissible for a bill submitted jointly by the ruling and opposition sides.
In that case, the bill will be discussed at the Cabinet committees. But the committees will be too busy discussing a bill to restrict the use of land lots deemed important for national security until the very end of the Diet session.
Because there is no time for deliberations, the enactment of the LGBT bill during the current Diet session is impossible, Diet affairs officials at the LDP said.
Some LDP members believe that enacting the bill during the current Diet session is unwise, as it would give a negative impact to the party in its campaigning for the election for the House of Representatives to be held by autumn.
“The bill should not be enacted before the election,” a source close to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said. “Or we would lose our core conservative supporters.”
“The bill won’t help us gain more votes. It’s obviously a better idea to ensure votes from conservative supporters,” said a senior LDP member of the House of Councillors.