More people in Japan are coming out as LGBT than ever before, according to a recent study.
An online survey of 60,000 people aged between 20 and 59 conducted by advertising agency, Dentsu shows that at least 1 in 11 people or 8.9% now identify as LGBT.
In comparison, the same survey in 2012 showed only 5.1% identifying as LGBT, while in 2015, that figure rose to 7.6%.
Additionally, almost 70% of respondents were familiar of the term LGBT compared to 37.6% who responded similarly in 2015.
A Dentsu official in charge of the survey believes that more people may be willing to identify as LGBT because the issues are now more widely discussed.
“More people may have started to think about their sexuality as information about LGBT people has increased in the last few years,” the official said.
Despite more awareness, 65.1% of the respondents stated that they have not told anyone about their sexuality, highlighting the difficulty of coming out in Japan.
More encouragingly for same-sex couples, almost 80% of the respondents stated that they agreed with same-sex marriage.
Marriage certificates are increasingly being issued to LGBTIQ couples by municipal governments in Japan, but currently only marriages between heterosexual couples are considered legal.
Prominent Japanese politician Katsuei Hirasawa recently came under fire because of his controversial statement that a country would collapse if everyone became LGBTIQ.
Hirasawa later said that LGBTIQ rights should be protected after receiving intense backlash.