A survey conducted by a Japanese LGBT rights organization has been extremely revealing about the main political parties’ attitudes towards sexual minorities, and is something to think about for voters heading to the polls this weekend.
The non-governmental organization Rainbow Pride Ehime, which works to educate the public on LGBT rights, has used the upcoming general election as an incentive to conduct a survey across the main political parties on political measures regarding sexual minorities.
The organization has been conducting these surveys since the 2012 election. This time they had responses from six parties: the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), New Komeito, the Democratic Party (DPJ), the Party for Future Generations, the Communist Party, and the Social Democratic Party.
They posed various questions related to LGBT rights and political policy, and provided possible answers for the respondent to choose from.
The first question was, “What do you think about dealing with LGBT issues as human rights issues?” and the six possible answers were as follows.
A: Action is needed to deal with them as human rights issues
B: They do not need to be dealt with as human rights issues
C: Human rights are not applicable to homosexuality
D: If someone is experiencing discrimination or prejudice it is a personal problem caused by choosing to be homosexual
C: Cannot answer/Don’t know
The LDP chose option B, “They do not need to be dealt with as human rights issues.” The other five parties chose A, “Action is needed to deal with them as human rights issues”.
The second question was on “The need for policies to protect the rights of sexual minorities” and the choices were as follows.
A: Since it is an issue of lack of understanding in society, active education and policies are needed
B: As there is no particular prejudice or discrimination active policies are not necessary
C: It is not something to be treated as a human rights issue
D: There is no need for policies which promote homosexuality and transgenderism
E: Policies are needed to protect transgendered individuals, but not for homosexuals
F: Cannot answer/Don’t know
In this case the LDP chose E, “Policies are needed to protect transgendered individuals, but not for homosexuals.” The other five parties chose A, “Since it is an issue of lack of understanding in society, active education and policies are needed.”
You can see the entire survey on the organization’s blog in Japanese.
While December 10 was Human Rights Day and the Ministry of Justice highlighted “eliminating discrimination based on sexual orientation” as an issue of concern, it seems that these issues are not actually that high up on the list of priorities for Japan’s current ruling party (LDP). This stance is something voters should consider when casting their votes this coming Sunday.