Japan ruling party under fire after MP Mio Sugita calls LGBT 'unproductive'

Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) politician Mio Sugita, an ally of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, sparked protests over an article she wrote in July questioning spending taxpayers' money on LGBT couples.

Published: 04th August 2018 02:37 PM  |   Last Updated: 04th August 2018 02:37 PM   |  A+A-


Image for representational purpose (EPS File | Ashwin Prasath)


TOKYO: Japan's ruling party has come under fire over remarks by one of its lawmakers who said gay and lesbian couples were "unproductive" because they cannot have children.

Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) politician Mio Sugita, an ally of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, sparked protests over an article she wrote in July questioning spending taxpayers' money on LGBT couples.

"Can we obtain approval of spending taxpayers' money for LGBT couples? They don't make children. In other words, they lack productivity," she wrote.

Some 5,000 people protested outside the LDP headquarters in Tokyo last week over her remarks and similar demonstrations are planned in Osaka and other cities over the weekend, organisers said.

Abe attempted to calm the furore, saying Sugita's remarks contradicted the party's policy towards sexual minorities.

ALSO READ | Japanese medical school altered test scores over last seven years to keep women out

"It is natural to aim at a society where human rights and diversity should be respected," he said Thursday.

The LDP also separately warned her to pay more attention to her remarks, saying in a statement: "Lawmaker Sugita's article ... includes phrases reflecting her lack of understanding of (LGBT) issues and consideration for the feelings of people involved."

But the party stopped short of reprimanding her despite growing calls for her resignation.

Sugita -- a mother of one -- reportedly said she would take the party's instruction "seriously" but neither apologised nor withdrew her remarks.

Analysts say Abe is nervous about potential damage to his popularity ahead of the party's leadership election in September when he aims to secure his premiership.

"I don't think it's going to be a decisive issue in the election campaign but at least Abe appears concerned about a possible backfire," Tetsuro Kato, emeritus professor at Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo, told AFP.

Opposition parties lashed out at the LDP for its "lenient" stance towards Sugita, demanding her immediate resignation.

"If she does not apologise or withdraw the remarks, she should resign as a lawmaker," Akira Koike of the Japan Communist Party told reporters.

A group of local legislators also urged her to apologise to the LGBT community and retract the article.

Taiga Ishikawa, the first openly gay politician to win a local election in Japan, tweeted: "There is no self-cleaning function in the LDP. The LDP is not qualified to speak about promoting understanding of LGBT."

While Japan is largely tolerant of homosexuality there is no specific legal protection for gay people.

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

  • Tony Marano

    The gay community in Japan is allowing itself to be used by liberals who are exploiting them.
    1 year ago reply
flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp