On Valentine's Day, LGBTQ activists in Japan call for same-sex marriage rights

TOKYO — Activists and LGBTQ community members handed out colorful chocolate candy for Valentine’s Day in Tokyo on Wednesday, marking the fifth anniversary of the launch of a legal battle to achieve marriage equality for same-sex couples.

Japan is the only member of the Group of Seven nations that still excludes same-sex couples from the right to legally marry and receive spousal benefits.

Support for legalizing marriage equality has grown among the Japanese public, but the governing Liberal Democratic Party, known for its conservative family values and reluctance to promote gender equality and sexual diversity, remains the main opposition to the campaign.

Gathered outside of a busy downtown Tokyo train station, activists and LGBTQ community members urged for equal marriage rights as they handed out bags of Meiji “marble chocolate” candy — Japan’s version of M&Ms — with flyers explaining their lawsuits.