An online petition is calling for legislation in Japan banning discrimination against sexual minorities as Tokyo gears up to host the Olympics and Paralympics next year.
Groups supporting sexual minorities, along with the international non-governmental organization Human Rights Watch, started collecting signatures online on Thursday.
A representative from the Japan Alliance for LGBT Legislation, Igarashi Yuri, told a news conference that a nation hosting the Games must guarantee that nobody will suffer discrimination in that country. Igarashi said LGBT equality legislation would become a legacy of the Tokyo Games.
A football player who has a same-sex partner also attended the event in Tokyo. Shimoyamada Shiho said she knows many players who gave up their sporting careers due to discrimination. She said anti-discrimination laws would help more players concentrate on sports.
The groups plan to continue the campaign through February and submit the signatures they gather to Japanese political parties.
A report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development put Japan second from last out of 35 countries it surveyed on the extent to which their laws ensure equal treatment of people from sexual minorities.
The report said Japan does not prohibit discrimination explicitly based on sexual orientation or gender identity.