Japanese lawmaker blasted for calling LGBT couples ‘unproductive’
A lawmaker in Japan has been hit with criticism and death threats after she wrote in a magazine article that LGBT couples should not receive government assistance because they are “unproductive.”
Mio Sugita’s article titled “The level of support for ‘LGBT’ is too high” appeared in Shincho 45 magazine last July 18 and made statements against the gay community.
“Those men and women do not reproduce,” wrote the 51-year-old in the article, as reported by Asahi Shimbun yesterday, July 24. “In other words, they are ‘unproductive.’ I wonder if it is appropriate to spend taxpayer money on them.”
The lawmaker, who is a member of the House of Representatives as well as the prevailing Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), defended herself in a now-deleted Twitter post on Sunday, July 22. “You should hold your head high because you did not say anything that was wrong,” she wrote, quoting a senior LDP legislator who gave her “encouragement,” the report stated. “I felt that demonstrated the LDP’s big-heartedness.”
Sugita said in another tweet on Monday, July 23, that she reported a “self-described gay individual” to the Akasaka Police Station in Tokyo after receiving a death threat in her email. Because of this, she was advised to delete all of her previous posts related to the magazine article.
— 杉田 水脈 (@miosugita) July 23, 2018
Sugita’s article met criticism from LGBT activists and journalists covering hate speech. Hiroko Masuhara, an advocate for LGBT inclusion, equated the lawmaker’s article to the concept of “eugenics.” She also cited the incident of an armed man, Satoshi Uematsu, who killed 19 and injured 27 residents after breaking into an institution for disabled people in Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture in 2016. Uematsu asserted his belief that people who cannot communicate with others should be euthanized.
Koichi Yasuda, a journalist who covered the hate speech issue remarked: “In today’s society, (minorities) are treated as people who need protection if they appear to be socially vulnerable, but once some minority members begin speaking up, they will become the target of bashing because they are considered ‘too protected.’ I am gravely concerned about the current state of society.”
Sugita was not only criticized by gay rights activists and journalists, she was also called out by her fellow LDP members. House of Representatives member and former parliamentary secretary for foreign affairs Shunsuke Takei posted on Twitter on July 19 that the 51-year-old lawmaker’s sentiments is “not politics but simply hate speech,” the report said.
“It may be taken as denying the entire welfare policy of authorities,” another legislator, Gaku Hashimoto, stated in the report. Hashimoto who also heads LDP’s Health, Labor and Welfare Division noted that Sugita’s article is not a reflection of the LDP’s policies. Kate Matriano/NVG
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