Fifteen diplomatic missions in Japan, including those of the United States, Europe and Australia, on Friday called on the Japanese government to take concrete action toward protecting LGBT rights ahead of the Group of Seven summit in Hiroshima this month.
A video compilation of the messages, posted by U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel on his official Twitter account, urges the Japanese government to "not be shaped by the past" when building a future where everybody is seen, heard and counted.
"With all the challenges that we all face, from the implications of climate change, wars, civil strife, hunger -- the last thing that should occupy our energy is two people who love each other and want to build a life together," Emanuel said.
In addition to the United States, the video features messages from the European Union, 10 European countries, Canada, Australia and Argentina.
Swedish Ambassador Pereric Hogberg said that everyone has "the right to love who you want to love," while Finnish Ambassador Tanja Jaaskelainen stressed that "the rights of LGBTQI+ people are human rights -- pure and simple."
British Ambassador Julia Longbottom expressed hope that there would be "concrete steps towards equal rights for the LGBT+ community in Japan" under the country's G-7 presidency this year.
After his former close aide made discriminatory remarks against sexual minorities earlier this year, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has been under mounting pressure to pass a law to protect Japan's LGBT community, with the Asian country lagging behind other G-7 members on the issue.
His ruling Liberal Democratic Party's executive committee plans to submit a bill to parliament aimed at introducing legislation to promote understanding of the LGBT community before the three-day G-7 summit in Hiroshima opens next Friday.
But it is unclear whether such ambitions will come to fruition before the international gathering amid deep-rooted opposition among conservative LDP members who cherish traditional family values.
When my closest friends give me the same advice, I pay attention. Fifteen foreign missions in #Tokyo have each lent their singular voice to a common message: we support universal human rights for all, we support #LGBTQI+ communities, and we oppose discrimination. pic.twitter.com/PzLizE4gFx— ラーム・エマニュエル駐日米国大使 (@USAmbJapan) May 12, 2023