A Japanese MP who claimed in an article in July that same-sex relationships would destroy society has addressed the resulting controversy for the first time since the incident occurred.
Mio Sugita, who is a member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party in Japan and sits in the House of Representatives, sparked an international furore after she wrote an article titled: “The level of support for ‘LGBT’ is too high.”
In the lengthy opinion piece, Sugita said that public funds should not be used to benefit gay couples, and said they are “unproductive” as they “don’t bear children.”
In the months since the controversy, Sugita has refused to address the controversy, despite the magazine she wrote the article in being forced to close indefinitely as a result.
The Asahi Shimbun reports that Sugita finally addressed the controversy on October 24 when she took questions from reporters.
“I have taken seriously the fact that my comments triggered misunderstanding and controversy, and had offended or hurt some people,” she said.
“I had no intention at all to discriminate against same-sex couples or to deny their human rights.”
Despite this, she refused to go as far as to retract or apologise for her comments.
The magazine that published the article – Shincho 45 – courted further controversy after they chose to run a follow-up article in their October issue, called: “Is Sugita’s article that outrageous?”
The follow-up, and the controversy it caused, pushed the publishing company to take action and to close the magazine.
Her comments caused a huge uproar in Japan, which is relatively accepting of LGBT+ people when compared to other Asian countries, with eight cities and city wards legally recognising same-sex unions.
Authorities have started to introduce genderless uniforms into schools across the country, but this gradual progress has attracted criticism from Sugita, who asked: “Why can’t we just stick to two sexes – male and female?”
In the wide-ranging article, Sugita said that giving broader legal recognition to gay partners would lead to people engaging in bestiality, incest and sex with objects.
She then added: “If we recognise different sexual interests, then it will lead to calls for allowing marriage between siblings, marriages between parents and children, or even marriages to pets or machinery.”
The article led to a number of protests in Japan, as well as a strong public uproar.