the Prime Minister weakened by the homophobic remarks of one of his collaborators
Senior official, previously in the cabinet of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, Masayoshi Arai, one of the executive secretaries of the Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida was dismissed on Saturday February 4 for having made homophobic remarks in front of journalists the day before. He had stated that he “would not like to have an LGBT couple as a neighbor” and that he “would hate to just meet him”. These remarks provoked a strong reaction from Mr. Kishida who judged them “shocking and inconsistent with his government’s line of respecting diversity and promoting an inclusive society.”
When excerpts from these statements leaked to the press, the official began by denying having made them outright, before acknowledging that they were “inappropriate”. Mr. Arai was not his first homophobic remarks. Opposed to marriage for all, he had already declared that if such a reform came into force, “it would change society and lead Japanese people to leave their country”.
In an editorial, the daily asahi writing : “We wonder if we heard correctly. One of the Prime Minister’s close associates, who may on occasion be his spokesperson, makes discriminatory remarks that seriously raise the question of the present government’s awareness of human rights. Is “the inclusive society recognizing diversity” promised by the Kishida government only a lip service promise? », asks the daily.
The conservative fringe of the Liberal Democratic Party (PLD), chaired by Mr. Kishida, is firmly opposed to marriage for all who “would go against the traditional values of the country”. The Prime Minister, for his part, believes that“we must be careful on this issue which will affect the structure of the family in Japan”. In December, a member of the PLD, Mio Sugita, deputy minister of internal affairs and communication, also had to resign for her positions against sexual minorities.
Public opinion in favor of marriage for all
Japan is the only G7 member country that does not recognize same-sex unions. Progress is being made in small steps. Following other municipalities across the archipelago, the city of Tokyo in October adopted a partnership system for same-sex couples living, working or studying in the capital. In 2015, two districts of the city, Shibuya and Setagaya, had already set up the first partnership systems.
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