TOKYO -- The president of Japan's prestigious Shinchosha publishing house issued a statement on Sept. 21 acknowledging one of his company's magazines "included aberrant expressions" in defending a Diet member's controversial article against sexual minorities.
The magazine, Shincho 45, faced harsh criticism after running a contribution from Mio Sugita, a House of Representatives member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, in its August issue. The contribution stated that LGBT people are "not productive" because they cannot bear children. The magazine then ran a feature defending Sugita with articles from seven contributors. One of them wrote that train gropers face problems similar to those faced by LGBT people, and stated, "Isn't society supposed to guarantee their right to groping? Would you say we should consider the shock felt by groped women?"
A statement posted to the Shinchosha website by the company's president, Takanobu Sato, said the publisher "fully recognizes and respects the importance of freedom of speech and expression as well as the diversity of opinions and the independence of editorship." However, it added that "some portions" of Shincho 45's feature in question included "aberrant expressions full of prejudice and lacking understanding."
It went on to say that the issues of discrimination and minorities are major literary themes, and that Shinchosha, which has a 122-year-long history, has grown alongside such themes.
"Our company will continue to pay proper attention to discriminatory expressions," the statement concluded.