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LDP lawmaker under fire for calling sexual minorities unproductive, waste of taxes

The article by LDP lawmaker Mio Sugita claiming there is too much support for sexual minorities is pictured in the August issue of the monthly magazine "Shincho 45." (Mainichi)

House of Representatives Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) lawmaker Mio Sugita is facing scorching online criticism after she wrote in an article for a monthly magazine that sexual minorities, "Don't have children, and therefore are not productive" members of Japanese society.

Her claim is being likened by some to Nazi eugenic ideology, and Sugita has tweeted that people should read her entire argument before passing judgment. However, she has also strongly claimed that she has the support of high-level members of the ruling LDP, who allegedly told her, "You haven't said anything wrong, so you should stick to your words with pride."

The article in question was titled "The level of support for 'LGBT' is too high," and appeared in the August issue of the monthly magazine "Shincho 45." In the text, Sugita questions, "Can the use of tax money for LGBT couples gain public support?" and continues with her opinion that such couples are not productive because they cannot bear children. "Why can't we just stick to two sexes -- male and female?" she continues, with comments such as, "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," further showing her contempt for sexual minorities.

In response, Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDP) lower house lawmaker Kanako Otsuji, an 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."

Meanwhile, other people online also posted scalding criticism of Sugita's comments, such as, "Does that mean we shouldn't use taxes on single individuals and married couples with no children because they are unproductive?" and "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?"

Sugita has taken to defending her stance on Twitter, and said that because she had the support of other LDP lawmakers who would protect her, she felt "the deep tolerance of the Liberal Democratic Party." She later deleted some of her tweets on July 23 after allegedly receiving death threats to her office's email address from someone who claimed to be gay, and filed a police report.

The Mainichi Shimbun made an inquiry to Sugita's office about the intent of the article and for the names of the LDP members who she said supported her stance, but received a message that it would "be difficult to reply within the time period given." Sugita belongs to an LDP faction led by former party heavyweight Hiroyuki Hosoda, from which Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also comes.

Sugita also came under fire for her comments in a documentary aired on broadcaster BBC in June about alleged rape victim Shiori Ito, saying that Ito made an error as a woman in becoming the target of sexual assault.

The Japan Alliance for Legislation to Remove Social Barriers based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, a national organization supporting sexual minorities, issued a statement on July 23 reading, "We cannot accept content that can be considered insulting and humiliating." In response to a Mainichi Shimbun request for comment, executive director of the group Yuichi Kamiya lamented, "This is nothing short of negating the efforts that have been made toward the realization of a diverse society that was held up by government officials, politicians and businesses."

There has also been intraparty criticism. LDP House of Representative lawmaker Shunsuke Takei wrote on Twitter, "There is no such thing as a person without producivity," and added that to intensify such ill feelings "is not politics, but simply hate speech."

(Japanese original by Kenichi Omura, General Digital News Center)

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