A Japanese lawmaker has come under fire for making anti-LGBTI comments.
The comments come from Katsuei Hirasawa, a veteran legislator from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).
Speaking to a crowd at Yamanashi Prefecture in central Japan on Thursday (3 January), Hirasawa said: ‘Criticizing LGBT would create problems, but if everyone became like them then a nation would collapse.’
He has since received widespread backlash on social media, ABC News reports.
Hirasawa also said he was against moves to recognize same-sex marriage in Japan while discussing the country’s low birthrate.
Politicians have been trying to combat Japan’s low birthrate for years, but with little success. Many believe this is due to lack of adequate child-care and proper support for working mothers.
Recent controversies over LGBTI comments
Hirasawa is not the first Japanese politician to make controversial comments regarding the LGBTI community.
In July 2018, lower-house MP Mio Sugita was widely condemned for saying that same-sex couples were ‘unproductive’, and should not be allowed to claim welfare.
A petition calling for Sugita to apologize received over 25,000 signatures.
The following August, thousands of people took to the streets to protest Sugita’s comments outside of the LDP’s headquarters in Tokyo.
The LDP later released a statement saying that Sugita’s comments ‘show her lack of understanding of (LGBT) issues and consideration for the feelings of people involved’.
Sugita refused to apologize, but would later say that her comments were mischaracterized.
Around the same time, fellow LDP lawmaker Tom Tanigawa courted controversy after saying same-sex marriage was ‘like a hobby’.
Appearing on an internet TV show, Tanigawa said: ‘It’s not that I don’t approve of diversity and it’s fine if women like women and men like men. But it’s not necessary to legalize same-sex marriage. It’s like a hobby.’
Far from full equality
Japan is generally progressive with regards to LGBTI rights, particularly when compared to other Asian countries. However, the LGBTI community does not have full equality.
There have been moves to increase the LGBTI rights in Japan, such as the partnership oath system. Japan’s tourism sector is also attempting woe LGBTI travelers.
In late December 2018, ten Japanese same-sex couples announced plans to sue their government for not recognizing marriage equality.