Japanese Politicians Denounce Anti-LGBTQ Diet Member

Japanese civil rights advocates and politicians have publicly condemned anti-LGBTQ statements made by Diet Member Mio Sugita. They have asked for her to explain or apologize to Japan’s LGBTQ community.

Sugita, a member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, is a lawmaker in the national House of Representatives. In July, Sugita wrote an article, subsequently published.

In the article, Sugita questioned support for LGBTQ persons. She said that they were unable to create offspring, and therefore are “unproductive.” Following this inference, she said they did not deserve government assistance.

Sugita is regarded as hard-right politician. According to Hifumi Okunuki, “This hard-right politician is already infamous online for her claim that the wartime network of sexual slavery serving the Imperial Japanese Army, euphemistically known as the ‘comfort women’ system, is a fabrication of the Japanese left, and for attacking Koreans with such gems as ‘They spread their lies throughout the world.’”

Her article, which appeared in Shincho 45, was titled “Support for LGBTs has gone too far.”

A backlash soon followed. A petition bearing approximately twenty-five thousand signatures was sent to the party.

The LDP told Sugita she ought to be “very careful.” The party also said that Sugita’s views did not at all conform with the LDP doctrine on the issue.

Critics of Sugita say that’s not enough. They have asked for an apology, and want the Diet to pass laws that will protect LGBTQ citizens from being discriminated against because of gender identity or sexual orientation.

Among the voices raised against Sugita was Taiga Ishikawa. Ishikawa is openly gay, and is currently a legislator in the Toshima Ward Assembly. In interviews, Ishikawa said that he and allies in the Association of LGBT Municipal Representatives had written a letter to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (also of the LDP), urging him to publicly decry Sugita’s statements.

According to the Japan Times, Ishikawa told a press conference that Sugita was “’insincere’ for not appearing on media since the article was published, nor had she apologized for or retracted what she said over the ensuing month.”

The nation of Japan does not officially recognize same-sex marriages. However, local-level governments have explored using municipal rules to recognize LGBTQ partnerships.