Japanese MP calls LGBT community 'unproductive'
Japan Japanese MP calls LGBT community 'unproductive'
Latest controversial statement by Mio Sugita, an ally of PM ShinzÅ Abe, sparks furore
Japanâs governing party has belatedly distanced itself from an MP who described members of the LGBT community as âunproductiveâ because they cannot have children.
Mio Sugita, a lower house member of the Liberal Democratic party (LDP ), sparked widespread criticism after she challenged the use of taxpayersâ money to support same-sex marriages in a magazine article published last month.
Sugita wrote that same-sex couples âdonât produce children. In other words, they lack productivity and, therefore, do not contribute to the prosperity of the nation.â
Senior LDP officials initially refused to condemn Sugita, saying they had no plans to discuss the article with the MP, a controversial rightwinger who has claimed that the use of sex slaves by Japanese soldiers before and during the second world war was a Korean fabrication.
Sugita, an ally of the prime minister, ShinzÅ Abehas not apologised for the comments, but her office said she âtook the matter seriouslyâ, according to the Kyodo news agency.
In a statement this week, the LDP said it did not share Sugitaâs views on same-sex marriages. The article, it said, âshows her lack of understanding of (LGBT) issues and considera tion for the feelings of the people involvedâ. The party said it was committed to supporting the rights of sexual minorities.
Abe told reporters it was âonly natural to aim to create a society where human rights are respected and diversity is cherishedâ.
Earlier this week, the partyâs attitude towards LGBT rights drew further criticism after a second MP suggested homosexuality was âa matter of tasteâ.
Tomu Tanigawa told an internet TV programme that while he did not oppose same-sex relationships, he opposed laws legalising same-sex marriages.
âA man and a woman get married and have children. That is how a traditional family is formed,â he said. âHumans have been doing so from antiquity to prevent nations from falling into decline and ruin.â
Several local governments in Japan have recognised same-sex partnerships in recent years, but same-sex marriages have yet to gain legal recognition.
In a letter to the Asahi newspaper, Tanigawa said he âdid not intend to discriminate against LGBT people, nor do I deny diversityâ.
His comments contradict a new LDP pamphlet intended to raise awareness of sexual minorities among party members. It says: âThere is widespread misunderstanding that being a member of a sexual minority is a matter of individual will, taste or preference.âTopics
- LGBT rights
- Asia Pacific
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