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Japan opposition party leader confirms 'Don't get married' jeer came from LDP lawmaker

Mio Sugita of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party is seen at a House of Representatives Budget Committee meeting on the morning of Jan. 28, 2020. (Mainichi/Masahiro Kawata)

TOKYO -- The head of an opposition party has reportedly confirmed the person who heckled him after he voiced support for separate surnames for married couples at a Diet session was Mio Sugita, a Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) lawmaker who came under fire in 2018 for stating that sexual minorities were "not productive."

During a Jan. 22 plenary session of the House of Representatives, Democratic Party for the People (DPFP) leader Yuichiro Tamaki pointed out that Japan's single surname system, in which one spouse must adopt the surname of the other at the time of marriage, was an obstacle for couples to get married. A female legislator then shouted, "Don't get married, then!"

The DPFP told a board meeting at the chamber's Rules and Administration Committee on Jan. 28 that Tamaki has confirmed that it was Sugita who made the comment. According to Yoshio Maki, a member of the committee's board representing the DPFP, Tamaki and Sugita both attended a New Year's party that night, and Tamaki approached Sugita and told her that the heckling was "awful." Sugita then reportedly told him that she shouted at him because he "said that kind of thing."

(Japanese original by Minami Nomaguchi, Political News Department)

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