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City council in east Japan accepts retraction of remark describing LGBTQ as 'disease'


NARITA, Chiba -- A local municipal assembly in Chiba Prefecture on Sept. 22 accepted a formal request from an assembly member to rescind a comment he made earlier in the month describing LGBTQ as a "disease."

    Toshikatsu Ehara, 63, a member of the Tomisato Municipal Assembly, apologized at the assembly's plenary session over his remark, saying, "I am truly sorry."

    On Sept. 1, Ehara asked whether the city's junior high school uniforms would be changed to take LGBTQ students into consideration, and said, "As of now, there are a diverse range of problems about a disease, so to speak, or LGBTQ. ... There might be children who are not sure if they have such a disease, or children who are worried about a disease that is only known to themselves."

    Immediately afterward, the assemblyman -- a member of Komeito, the junior coalition partner of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party in the National Diet -- expressed his intention to request that the statement be rescinded and corrected.

    The council received a formal request in writing to retract the remarks, and on Sept. 22, the last day of the September regular council meeting, members unanimously approved the request. Therefore, the statement will not appear in the minutes of the meeting.

    After the vote, Ehara said, "I sincerely and deeply apologize for the inappropriate remarks, which caused discomfort to the people concerned and many others."

    (Japanese original by Tadakazu Nakamura, Narita Bureau)

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