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LDP support rises for LGBT bill, dual surnames, Asahi-Todai survey of LH election candidates

By NOBORU INOUE, staff writer

 

Support for measures to help sexual minorities and allow dual surnames in marriages has increased among ruling Liberal Democratic Party candidates, but the largest group remains undecided on the issues, a survey showed.

 

In contrast, opposition candidates and those fielded by the LDP’s junior coalition partner, Komeito, in the Oct. 31 Lower House election were overwhelmingly in favor of legislation to promote the changes, according to the survey.

 

The survey was jointly conducted by The Asahi Shimbun and a team led by Masaki Taniguchi, a professor of political science at the University of Tokyo.

 

Local governments and citizens groups have pressed the central government to promote the rights of LGBT individuals, including officially recognizing same-sex marriages.

 

The LDP would not go that far but set up an internal committee to look into possible legislation on “promoting an understanding of sexual minorities.”

 

However, no consensus in the party was achieved, and the bill was never formally submitted to this year’s ordinary Diet session.

 

According to the survey, 43 percent of LDP candidates were leaning in favor of such legislation, greatly exceeding the 11 percent who were against it.

 

However, the largest segment—46 percent—said they were undecided.

 

Komeito and the opposition Japanese Communist Party have included planks in their Lower House election platforms calling for passage of such legislation.

 

Ninety-six percent of the candidates for those two parties were in favor of the legislation and none was against it.

 

Among other parties, 94 percent of candidates from the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, 86 percent of candidates from Nippon Ishin (Japan Innovation Party) and 77 percent of candidates from the Democratic Party for the People were leaning in favor. No candidates from the CDP and DPP were opposed to the legislation.

 

The survey also asked candidates their views on whether to allow married couples to register under separate surnames as well as the same-sex marriage issue.

 

More LDP candidates were against such measures than those in favor, but opposition has shrunk from the survey four years ago.

 

Thirty-three percent of LDP respondents were leaning against changing laws to allow a dual-surname system, a decrease from 42 percent in the 2017 survey. Twenty-three percent were leaning in favor, up from 15 percent.

 

Forty-four percent of the LDP candidates were undecided.

 

Regarding the legalization of same-sex marriages, 38 percent of LDP candidates were opposed, while 12 percent were in favor. Again, the largest group consisted of undecided candidates, at 50 percent.

 

Among all candidates, 70 percent were in favor of allowing married couples to choose separate surnames, with only 13 percent leaning against the proposal. Seventeen percent were undecided.

 

Regarding same-sex marriage, 61 percent were in favor, 15 percent were against, and 25 percent were undecided. The percentages were rounded off so the total does not equal 100.

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