Japan wants LGBT tourists to visit its disaster zones

Japan Pride parade

Japan is hoping LGBT people can boost tourism in a region formerly plagued with natural disasters.

The country’s Reconstruction Agency has launched an initiative to draw queer and trans people to visit the Tohoku region, according to the Japan Times.

Tohoku was devastated by the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in 2011, which was reportedly the most powerful earthquake known to have hit Japan.

The initiative is also reportedly creating spaces to welcome LGBT people in Fukushima, the state where there was a nuclear power plant disaster in 2011.

The article, written in the Japan Times, says that “the agency believes that tourism information can quickly spread throughout the LGBT community.”

The agency will reportedly provide support to those working in tourism in the designated zones, and introduce marketing ideas such as the promotion of same-sex weddings at hotels.

It also wants to offer LGBT-friendly hotels to visitors and provide promotional tours of the reconstructed areas.

The project is reportedly one of 10, thought up by the agency in the hope of boosting visitors to the disaster zones.

It’s not currently known how many gay and trans tourists visit Japan each year. And despite trying to attract more LGBT visitors, some of the country’s lawmakers have been known to make anti-gay statements.

A couple prepares to take part in the Tokyo Rainbow Pride Parade on May 6, 2018 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images)

This week a Japanese MP sparked outrage after saying the high rate of gay people dying by suicide is not enough to justify teaching children about LGBT issues.

Mio Sugita, a lawmaker for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party who sits in the House of Representatives, also caused a backlash earlier this month when she wrote that gay relationships would lead to the destruction of society.