LDP’s Sugita chided over LGBT remark

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers Mio Sugita, left, and Tomu Tanigawa

The Yomiuri ShimbunLiberal Democratic Party lawmaker Mio Sugita in a weekly magazine article recently described lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) couples as “unproductive” for not having children.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is president of the LDP, said Thursday that what Sugita wrote in her article runs counter to the policies of the government and the LDP. Sugita is a House of Representatives member elected in the proportional representation system from the Chugoku region.

“It is a matter of course that we strive for a society where diversity is respected,” Abe told reporters in Higashi-Matsushima, Miyagi Prefecture.

A day earlier, the LDP posted a message on its website with regard to Sugita’s article. The party said it has instructed her to be more careful about what she says or writes.

“Among what she wrote were expressions that showed her lack of understanding of LGBT issues and lack of consideration for the feelings of people concerned,” the LDP wrote.

Keiji Furuya, who chairs the LDP’s Special Mission Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, was responsible for giving Sugita guidance in the wake of her comments.

The committee’s “basic principles” compiled in May 2016 mapped out a policy of seeking a lawmaker-initiated special measures law to promote correct understanding of the issues.

The LDP included the policy in its lower house election pledges in 2017.

Even so, it is hard to say that understanding within the LDP toward sexual minorities has improved.

Last Sunday, on AbemaTV, an internet program, lower house lawmaker Tomu Tanigawa commented on homosexuality, saying, “It’s just like a hobby.” The comment drew criticism.

It is unusual for the party to announce on its website that it had given guidance to a lawmaker. It is likely the party will try to stave off a surge of inappropriate remarks and criticism from its members.

Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi complained at a press conference on Thursday, saying, “We ask the LDP to carefully consider how to make its members thoroughly understand the party’s stance.”

On the same day, LDP Secretary General Toshihiro Nikai told media in Seoul that “It’s better not make such a fuss about it.”

‘Ingrained nature’

Following a series of LDP members’ remarks against sexual minorities, Kohei Otsuka, coleader of the Democratic Party for the People, said on Thursday at a press conference, “I believe [those comments] come from the ingrained nature of the LDP as an organization.”

As for the party’s handling of the issue, Otsuka criticized it, saying, “It was too late.”Speech

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