Japanese politician Mio Sugita faced protests on Tuesday (16 April) as she maintained that the LGBTI population were ‘unproductive’.
Sugita, a member of the lower house of parliament for the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), was campaigning for a far-right candidate in Suginami City Assembly elections.
Protestors asked Sugita to apologize for comments last year that LGBTI people were ‘unproductive’ because they did not have children. They should not receive welfare, she argued.
‘I will not apologize because I am not discriminating’ she said, according to a video uploaded on Twitter. ‘LGBTI [issues] are a bad use of taxes’ she said.
Protestors can be heard shouting. A man is holding a placard with Sugita’s face on it above her head.
— Nobutaka Watanabhe (@fuantei_workers) April 16, 2019
Sugita’s comments in an LDP magazine led the publication to shutter.
Sugita last year also said there was no need for LGBTI education in schools.
‘They told me that the suicide rate among homosexual children is six times higher than that of normal children. “Do you still think it’s unnecessary?” they asked,’ Sugita explained.
‘Even if the suicide rate is high, the priority is low, I think,’ she replied to the question.
A recent survey found 8.9 percent of Japan’s population identify as LGBT.
But, half of LGBT people surveyed said they had not come out at work.
It also revealed that only 70 percent of people had heard of the term LGBT.
Lawmakers from the ruling LDP are renowned for anti-LGBTI comments. Earlier this year, lawmaker Katsuei Hirasawa came under fire for saying the nation would ‘collapse’ if everyone was LGBTI.
But, Japan’s opposition party, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDP), has pledged to introduce will introduce marriage equality legislation and anti-discrimination legislation.
It is also fielding some LGBTI candidates in upcoming elections.
Battle for same-sex marriage
Last month, 13 same-sex couples filed lawsuits against the government hoping to force it to recognize equal marriage.
The five female and eight male couples are challenging local administrations that denied them marriage certificates. They are also seeking damages of US$9,000.
The couples argued the government’s stance on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. They filed cases in four different district courts.