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03 April 2021

Will Japan legalise gay marriage?

Last month, one of Japanese district courts, Sapporo District Court ruled that current Civil Law that does not recognise the same sex couple as legitimate married couple is unconstitutional. It was a revolutionary decision for Japanese judicial administration since Japanese constitution claims that marriage is recognised only if both sexes agree. But the court says this statement does not mean gay marriage is banned but to rule only individuals can decide who to marry. In the old days, it was common that parents of the couple decided who to marry without their will. Gay marriage was out of imagination. 

Rather the court paid attention to the other part of constitution that states all the people must be treated equal. So the current Civil law which only admits heterosexual couple to the marriage is unconstitutional. 

However, some claim gay marriage is not allowed in the constitution as says “both sexes” and traditional family value does not conform to gay marriage. 

As for public opinion survey, Asahi Shimbun Newspaper revealed that 65% of Japanese citizens of all ages support gay marriage. 5 years ago it was less than half. The society has drastically changed recently. 

Japanese parliament already has two openly gay members. Their party Constitutional Democratic Party proposes amendment of Civil law. 

Even among conservative side, current ruling party LDP, one of young representatives, KOIZUMI Shinjiro, whose father was Prime Minister between 2001 to 2005, said he is for gay marriage and he would be very considerate father if his child’s sexual orientation was same sex person when asked if he was pro-gay marriage and what he would do if his child was gay. 

Japan is not Christian nation so religious faith would not be an obstacle. Only the old values and peer pressure are problems. I guess it is a matter of time that Japan approve gay marriage legally and socially. 

Currently around 30 nations in the world legalised gay marraige. Among G7 nations Japan is the only nation that does not legalise gay marriage. Marriage equality is an urgent issue if Japan wants to join truly advanced members of the world. 

I would be proud of being Japanese and love my country more than ever if that happens. 

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