Photo/IllutrationA gay couple try to register their marriage, but their request is rejected on Jan. 4 at the Kawagoe city government office in Saitama Prefecture. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

Nearly 80 percent of Japanese in their 20s to 50s are in favor of legalizing same-sex marriages, according to a survey by advertising giant Dentsu Inc.

The survey, carried out in late October on the Internet, covered 60,000 people between 20 and 59 years old and asked for their thoughts about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and other sexual minorities.

Among them, 8.9 percent, up 1.3 percentage points from the previous study in 2015, said they are sexual minorities.

Dentsu asked 6,229 of the individuals about “legalization of same-sex marriages,” and discovered that 78.4 percent fully or somewhat support same-gender marriages.

Of 5,640 non-LGBT individuals, 87.9 percent of women, compared with 69.2 percent of men, were in favor of legalized same-sex marriages.

“The findings show more people now have an understanding of LGBT individuals and that interest has been growing in the development of legislation for them as well as other steps to be taken next,” a Dentsu official said.

Younger people tend to back same-sex marriages. Those positive about same-gender marriages accounted for 87.3 percent of twentysomethings,

81.2 percent of people in their 30s, 77.5 percent of those in their 40s, and 72.5 percent of respondents in their 50s.

“So many people--nearly 80 percent--are in favor of same-gender marriage,” the Dentsu official said. “Younger generations accept the idea. The favorable ratio is so high because only those 59 years old or younger were covered.”