Japan's Kishida cautious on recognizing same-sex marriage

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Japan's Kishida cautious on recognizing same-sex marriage

TOKYO Kyodo Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has struck a cautious tone on Thursday about recognizing same-sex marriage in line with other Group of Seven countries that have already adopted the practice, according to the TOKYO Kyodo-Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

There are several lawsuits filed across the nation by same-sex couples, but we need to be extremely careful in considering the matter, as it could affect the structure of family life in Japan.

Japan does not acknowledge same-sex marriage, as many members of the Conservative Liberal Democratic Party, led by Kishida, oppose the concept, emphasizing the country's traditional values, such as the role of women in giving birth and raising children.

The issue attracted fresh attention last year when LDP lawmaker Mio Sugita, the then parliamentary vice minister for internal affairs and communications, was forced to retract past remarks against sexual minority couples.

Sugita, who was sacked by Kishida in December, came under fire in 2018 for saying in a magazine article that the government should not support sexual minority couples because they can't bear offspring and thus are not productive. While leftist opposition parties have supported reforms around family issues, including recognizing same-sex weddings and allowing married couples to take separate surnames - another controversial topic in Japan in terms of gender equality.

Kishida did not answer a question about a legal revision to allow married couples to use different surnames, as asked by an opposition lawmaker at the plenary session of the upper house on Thursday.

The premier said that it is necessary to gain greater understanding through sufficient discussion as there are a variety of views among the public.

While Japan's civil code requires a married couple to share a surname, the vast majority of couples who register their marriage in the country choose the husband's family name.

Japanese conservatives, who usually cherish traditional values, oppose separate surnames, arguing that the move may have an impact on family unity as well as on children.

The UN's Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women has recommended that Japan introduce reform to the system.