On November 28, the results of Japan’s first national survey about attitudes toward gay marriage were revealed. What kind of image did they paint of the people of Japan?

In March this year, soon after Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward began recognizing same-sex partnerships, the National Institute of Population and Social Security surveyed 1,259 men and women between the ages of 20–79 regarding their feelings about gay marriage in general. Results were divided, with an almost 50/50 split between those in support and those against it, with those in total or partial support at narrowly becoming the majority at 51.1 percent.

However, when surveyed about their feelings about the issue hitting closer to home, the scales were slightly tipped in the other direction.

Of those surveyed, 53.2 percent answered that they would not be supportive if they learned that a male friend was gay, while 50.4 percent of respondents said they would not be supportive if it transpired that a female friend of theirs preferred women. The survey also noted that more than 70 percent of men in their 40s said that they would not approve if they found out their co-worker was gay.

With Prime Minster Shinzo Abe’s wife even making an appearance at the Tokyo Rainbow Pride earlier this year, there is evidence to suggest that Japanese society is more aware and understanding of LGBT issues than ever before, even so, it looks like there still much work to be done before both citizens and the government are ready to tackle them with a more open mind.

Source: GENXY
Feature/top image: Flickr/Lauren Anderson