Japan Lawmaker Sugita Retracts Comments about LGBT

Politics

Tokyo, Dec. 2 (Jiji Press)--Japanese Parliamentary Vice Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications Mio Sugita on Friday announced the retraction of her past inappropriate comments about LGBT couples and ethnic costumes.

"I apologize to those hurt (by the comments) and withdraw my expressions," Sugita, a lawmaker of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, told a meeting of the Budget Committee of the House of Councillors, the upper chamber of the Diet, Japan's parliament.

She has been criticized by opposition parties over a magazine article in which she called lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender couples "unproductive" and a blog post in which she made fun of women wearing "chima jeogori," a Korean ethnic costume, and the ethnic consume of the Ainu indigenous people in Japan.

"These are expressions made before she became parliamentary vice minister," Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, the LDP's president, told the committee meeting.

The retraction "is believed to show an improvement in her awareness" of such issues after she became a member of the cabinet, Kishida said. "I want her to continue performing her duties."

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press