HuffPost Japan 2018/12/01
On the November 29th broadcast of AmebaTV NewsBAR Hashimoto, lower house member Inada Tomomi spoke about the so-called “LGBT Awareness Promotion Law” which is currently being created with the intention of being presented to the diet.
Inada: As the chair of the LDP’s Policy Research Council, I created the Special Mission Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, which has presented (LGBT-related) legislation to the diet. However, it was crushed by the opposition. I then served as defense minister for one year and have since returned to the party. I’ve been doing my best to present the legislation again. I want to submit it as soon as possible, but it’s difficult because the extraordinary diet session is short. But I absolutely want to submit it.
The reason why the bill was crushed was due to a lack of understanding within the LDP and among the older generation. The vast majority of people think “Isn’t that a hobby?”, “Isn’t that a mental illness?”, or “Won’t the declining birth rate worsen?”.
Unnecessary hardship is placed on LGBT people. The difficulty that young people face when trying to make their parents understand their identity is a human rights issue. Children are being bullied in elementary school, and some troubled children commit suicide, so I think that it is of utmost importance that we properly educate students about these issues in schools.
Hashimoto: I’ve also heard about that sort of thing occurring, and I thought that it is challenging.
However, one thing I noticed, and this is the same with married women using their own surnames, is that there’s a feeling that this is the new normal. It’s as if there’s a trend where separate surnames represent a woman’s independence. So does that mean that my wife is not independent because she is using my surname? Just as I’m not considered special for loving my wife, instead of regarding them as special, I think that we should treat LGBT people like anyone else.
Inada: I’m not suggesting that all LGBT people ought to come out, or that they should be called special. It would be great if we reach a point of understanding where people can merely react with “Oh, I see.”
Hashimoto: I also hate the word conservative. The definition differs from person to person, and I think it’s strange to say things like “I’m conservative so I am against LGBT,” or “I’m for LGBT because I’m liberal.”
Inada: When tackling LGBT issues, there are many people that think “that’s not conservative.” I don’t believe that. It’s a human rights issue, so I would like to say that it has nothing to do with ideology or history.
In the past, I was opposed to married couples using separate surnames because I wasn’t sure about the idea of parents and children having different names. However, as soon as aliases became legal, people bearing both the name on their family register and their nickname emerged. In an age where people are living to be 100, some people are marrying in their sixties. If I were to get married now, I think that I would also like to continue to use my name. When I thought of that, I realized that the options should expand with the times.
Hashimoto: About the difference in surnames between parents and children, it’s the so-called conservatives that say that “it will impair the unity of the family.” But in my case, my mother remarried and changed her surname, and because I inherited my father’s name, I grew up with a different surname than my parents. But there weren’t any problems.
Inada: I don’t think it makes a difference to the happiness of a family whether or not they share the same surname, or just because the constitution says they should. I am a conservative, but it’s not such a formal thing.
Hashimoto: That’s quite different from those LDP guys yelling “I’m conservative!” It makes you want to yell at them “you fools!” You ought to tell them that too! How is same-sex marriage?
Inada: The LDP has not come to recognize it, and at the current stage, I think it would be difficult to approve it at once. I’m conservative, so we should ban discrimination before lifting the ban on same-sex marriage. I think that the first step is to promote awareness.
Hashimoto: Article 24 of the constitution stipulates that “marriage shall be based only on the mutual consent of both sexes,” but that’s only because SCAP (Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers) wrote the draft. It was important to make a point of ‘consent of both sexes’ to stop political marriages of convenience between houses which occurred in the pre-war days. The LDP needs to come to grips with that.
If we only focus on creating awareness, it might just come across as a trend. What it comes down to is, who one chooses as their partner isn’t anyone else’s business, and it doesn’t cause anyone any trouble. Of course, same-sex married couples should also receive things like spousal tax deductions. I’d like for you to do your best tackling those issues as well.
Inada: Although some people say that same-sex marriage would destroy the family system or that it goes against measures to counter the declining birth rate, of course, it would not cause anyone any trouble.