Despite being one of the most secular nations of the world, Japan still must contend with ardent beliefs against homosexuality and transgender identity—attempting to use science as its basis for discrimination.
Japan House of Representatives member Kazuo Yana told his ruling party members that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons are unnatural because they do not benefit the preservation of the species.
Yana, a 43-year old from the Tochigi prefecture (province), is serving his third term in the Diet (parliament).
He says LGBT people “resist” biology.
He made the comments during a Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) conference—responding to a consideration of transgender persons using restrooms that match their gender identity.
Yana was immediately denounced by fellow LDP members as well as members of other political parties.
Japan Alliance for LGBT Legislation issued a statement in response.
They said that Yana's comments hurt “not only” LGBT persons, “but also their families, friends and acquaintances. They cannot be overlooked.”
Another LGBT organization, Pride House Tokyo Japan, has partnered with corporate sponsors of the Tokyo Olympics. They intend to protest the comments and the LDP in some way.
The LDP had found itself in the firing line of LGBT advocates in 2018 when House member Mio Sugita said that LGBT people are biologically unproductive in the whole scheme of humanity.
Over 80 percent of Japanese nationals are affiliated with the Shinto faith—the indigenous religion of the empire. Many of those Shinto observers concurrently practice a Japanese form of Buddhism.
Contrary to American ideas of Shinto and Buddhism, many traditional adherents of those spiritualities do not agree with equality for LGBT persons—sharing in Yana's belief that they are biologically unnatural.
About 1 percent of the Japanese population identify as Christian—a religion brought to the archipelago by Jesuit priests of the Catholic tradition.
As these churches evolved differently from the West, many Japanese Christians still adhere to traditional anti-LGBT views of the Church.
Approximately 500,000 are Catholic. Over 128,000 are members of the U.S.-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
There are also members of the Presbyterian Church in Japan, Nippon Sei Ko Kai (Anglican), and U.S.-based Episcopal Church.
The LDP is the current ruling party in Japan. Its leader is the Prime Minister, Yoshihide Suga.
The head of state since 2019 is the 61-year old Emperor Naruhito—grandson of World War II-era emperor Showa (formerly Hirohito).
There are about 1.3 million Americans of Japanese Ancestry in the U.S.
The cities with the largest Japanese American population include Honolulu; Los Angeles; Torrance, Calif.; San Jose, Calif.; San Francisco; Hilo, Hawaii; Seattle; Sacramento.