Mio Sugita, a Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) member of Japan’s House of Representatives, is facing a wave of backlash after calling the country’s LGBT community “unproductive” in terms of child-bearing and undeserving of tax-funded services.
The lawmaker’s comments appeared in her article for the August issue of a monthly magazine called “Shincho 45.”
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The article, titled “The level of support for LGBT is too high,” asserted that members of the community “don’t bear children and are therefore unproductive.”
It also questioned whether the use of taxes for LGBT couples would gain public support.
“Why can’t we just stick to two sexes — male and female?” Sugita wrote. “If we recognize different sexual interests, then it will lead to calls for allowing marriage between siblings, marriages between parents and children, or even marriages to pets or machinery.”
Sugita, who comes from the same LDP faction as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, went on to recall her adolescence, which she spent being surrounded by female classmates in an all-girls school.
She argued that while it was not uncommon for girls to fantasize about having romantic relationships with each other, they would soon outgrow the phase and have “normal” lives.
“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 article concluded.
Sugita maintained her stance in a TV interview, saying that educating LGBT issues in schools is “definitely unnecessary.”
And despite the fact that suicide rates among Japanese homosexuals is six times more than the general population, the lawmaker simply laughed and said:
“Even if the suicide rate is high, the priority is low. School teachers have many things to do and they don’t have time to use for LGBT education.
“Teachers will not always be able to educate properly. The possibility of mistake cannot be denied.”
Sugita’s remarks immediately drew criticism from other politicians and the public.
Taiga Ishikawa, an openly gay member of the Toshima Ward Assembly, said that her comments “significantly tarnish Japan’s reputation” ahead of the 2020 Olympics, the Japan Times noted.
“Homosexuality is not the definition of unhappiness. It’s discriminatory remarks like Sugita’s that make us unhappy,” Ishikawa said.
Kanako Otsuji, a Constitutional Democratic Party (CDP) lawmaker and LGBT rights activist, tweeted, “I would like to point out that people belonging to sexual minorities also pay taxes. The life of every single person carries value.”
The Mainichi quoted netizens as writing:
“Does that mean we shouldn’t use taxes on single individuals and married couples with no children because they are unproductive?”
“Isn’t dividing up the citizens of a country into those who are productive and those who aren’t and cracking down on the latter the same as Nazi eugenic ideology?”
Meanwhile, the Japan Alliance for LGBT Legislation pointed out that Sugita’s description of LGBT people as abnormal contradicts her party’s own position that sexual minorities are forced into the “norm” imposed by society.
In defense, Sugita, who allegedly received death threats after putting her views out, said that she is supported by unidentified, high-ranking members of the LDP.
This is not the first time Sugita has been caught up in controversy. Previously, she blamed Shiori Ito, a journalist who claimed to be a rape victim, for making “clear errors as a woman” by drinking too much with a man.