Japan: LGBT Community In Outrage After Politician’s 'Hate' Speech

Japan: LGBT Community In Outrage After Politician’s 'Hate' Speech

Following the homophobic comments of Mio Sugita, a politician in the governing party, the LGBT community has taken to the streets of Tokyo and Osaka asking for her resignation.

While a heatwave has hit Europe, Japan has faced extreme flooding and a typhoon of magnitude, Jongdari. But another event has started a storm in the country, this time a human one. Mio Sugita, a 51-year-old politician, stated on the 18th of July in an interview with the magazine Shincho 45 that gays and lesbians were 'non-productive' people, adding that she wondered whether we should 'spend taxpayers’ money on them.' These comments have certainly provoked a reaction, seeing as the LGBT community marched in Tokyo and Osaka, on the 27th and 28th of July, asking for her immediate resignation.

Mio Sugita seems to believe that homosexuality is a choice or an illness. She has said that media that addresses homosexuality could encourage people 'capable of living a normal romance and of getting married' to 'become homosexual'.

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'These remarks are discriminatory'

These comments have provoked a wave of indignation in the archipelago. Millions of people have protested in Tokyo. Among them, LGBT citizens feel humiliated and offended.

'It’s as if I had been told that I don’t have the right to live,' stated a lesbian participant.

Among politicians, the opposition has not delayed in reacting. For Taiga Ishikawa, one of the first Japanese politicians to come out, the words of Sugita have truly 'tarnished Japan’s reputation.' Sugita is still being 'protected.'

Toshihiro Nikai, the party’s general secretary, has simply commented: 'Outside of political positioning, different people have different opinions.' It must be understood, 'everyone has their own opinion, especially if they come from our country. Japan remains a very conservative country, but the protests against  Sugita's remarks show that there is a change in attitudes occurring.

• Abbie Marshall
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