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Editorial: Bigoted lawmaker Sugita not worthy to represent the people

  • July 25, 2018
  • , The Mainichi
  • English Press

One has to be appalled by the fact that an individual who dares to make an outrageous remark is a member of the Diet.


“Can the use of tax money for LGBT couples gain public support? They do not bear children, and therefore are not ‘productive,'” lawmaker Mio Sugita wrote in her contribution to the August issue of the monthly magazine “Shincho 45.”


People must not be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation or disabilities. This is a social norm common in all developed democracies. The United Nations calls for the elimination of discrimination and violence against LGBT people, and Japan is expected to actively tackle the issue. Despite this stance, ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) lawmaker Sugita publicly made a statement that could be construed to promote discrimination.


It is not acceptable to measure the value of people based on whether they have children or not, and use an economic yardstick such as “productivity” to categorize them.


Sugita’s argument effectively suggests that sexual minorities should not receive administrative services, which are designed to cover all people living in Japan. One cannot overlook such an argument as just an ideology, an opinion or a policy.


Such an attitude is the same as hate speech violating the human rights of particular minorities or socially disadvantaged individuals. It can be linked to the eugenics ideology promoted by the Nazis. It clearly violates public order and good morals.


It must be said that Sugita is not qualified to serve as a member of the Diet — a person who yields power to make laws as a representative of the people and make decisions on how to spend taxpayers’ money.


Sugita has made absurd arguments in the past. For example, she criticized moves seeking more day care centers, use of different surnames among married couples and support for LGBT individuals as acts “driven by the Comintern (an international organization of communist parties) to destroy Japanese families.”


LDP legislators are constantly making socially unacceptable remarks under the almost unchallenged long-term reign of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. They include unruly statements such as, “Moms are indeed the best people to raise children,” and, “Cancer patients don’t have to work.”


Sugita was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2012 on the ticket of the Japan Innovation Party. She lost her seat in the 2014 election, but was re-elected as an LDP candidate on the proportional representation list for the Chugoku region in western Japan in the 2017 general election. She now belongs to the Hosoda faction of the ruling party, from which Prime Minister Abe hails. The LDP bears a serious responsibility for leaving Sugita’s words and deeds unchecked.


One has to wonder if the publisher that ran Sugita’s contribution in the monthly magazine is part of the problem. When it comes to online hate speech, calls are growing to hold website managers responsible for such content.

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