Japanese lawmaker Mio Sugita has come under fire for writing in an article last week that the LGBTQ community is “unproductive” in terms of childbirth and saying that societies that accept same-sex couples run the risk of having more “unhappy people.”
In the commentary for Shincho 45 titled “The Level of Support for ‘LGBT’ Is Too High,” Sugita writes that the government should not use taxpayer dollars to support such relationships because LGBTQ people cannot bear children. She also writes that supporting same-sex relationships could also promote relationships between family members, with animals, and even with machines, The Mainichi reports.
Sugita wrapped up the article by writing: “a society deprived of ‘common sense’ and ‘normalcy’ is destined to lose ‘order’ and eventually collapse. I don’t want Japan to be a society like this.”
The lawmaker belongs to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). Abe and his government have been seen as taking an active approach to promoting LGBTQ rights in recent years.
As CNN reports, Sugita has been caught in controversy before, including denying the existence of Japan’s wartime “comfort women” and victim-blaming the leader of the #MeToo movement in Japan.
“Within the party, she’s essentially a nobody,” Jeff Kingston of Temple University tells the outlet. “But because of her prominent right-wing views, she gets a lot of media attention.”
Sugita has since taken down the tweets related to LGBTQ people. She claimed on Twitter that this is because she received death threats.
Rights groups have criticized Sugita’s comments, including one organization calling for a protest at LDP’s headquarters. Sugita was slightly rebuked by her party’s leadership who called for diversity in society but without directly commenting on Sugita’s article.
“Everybody has their own political stance and philosophy of life,” LDP Secretary-General Toshihiro Nikai said at a press conference following the outrage, reports Asahi Shimbun. “The LDP is made up of members from different fields, representing the entire political spectrum from the right to the left.”
Longtime LGBTQ activist and first LGBTQ member of Japan’s House of Representatives Kanako Otsuji took to Twitter to condemn Sugita’s words as well as the response from her LDP, writing that not directly condemning the article and comments is “the same as accepting Sugita’s remarks as a party.
“I would like to point out that people belonging to sexual minorities also pay taxes. The life of every single person carries value,” she wrote, according to CNN, while noting the discrimination that LGBTQ people in Japan face.
“[The rights of LGBTQ people] are not guaranteed. There are a lot of actual facts such as legal security issues, such as lack of inheritance rights of property, spousal visas […and] bullying and harassment at work and school,” Otsuji posted in a thread.
Others joined Otsuji in calling out Sugita, including Japan’s former PM Yukio Hatoyama. “You don’t need to make a child for there to be love in the world. I want them to live their lives with dignity,” he wrote on Twitter.
Besides having no legislation against employment discrimination of LGBTQ people and an issue with bullying of LGBTQ-identifying children in schools, Japan also forces trans people to be diagnosed with “Gender Identity Disorder,” according to Human Rights Watch. In order to get legal recognition for their gender, trans individuals are forced to be sterilized and must fit other requirements.
The country does not allow same-sex marriage. However, civil partnerships have been recognized in several cities.