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Japanese lawmaker says being LGBT goes against preservation of species

A lawmaker of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party said being lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender goes against the preservation of the species at a party meeting on Thursday, participants said Friday.

Kazuo Yana, a three-term House of Representatives member, was also quoted by participants as saying at the gathering that LGBT people resist the basis of biology.

The 42-year-old’s comments are certain to draw rebukes from within his own party as well as from the opposition.

In a written response to Kyodo News, Yana said, “I will refrain from commenting about the (LGBT) remark as it was a closed meeting.”

In the meeting, Yana repeatedly said he does not intend to discriminate against LGBT people, according to a participant.

His remark came after Eriko Yamatani, another LDP member, said in a party meeting on Wednesday, “Some foolish things are going on” regarding LGBT people, citing a case where a transgender woman wanted to use a women’s restroom.

“Yana and Yamatani are both open to criticism for having a discriminatory attitude. The remarks were foolish,” said a senior LDP lawmaker.

LDP lawmaker and former economy minister Hiroshige Seko told a news conference Yana should thoroughly explain his remarks.

Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan lawmakers Kanako Otsuji and Taiga Ishikawa, who are both openly gay, criticized Yana’s comments.

“I demand he retract the remarks,” Otsuji said. “How much does he have to hurt (LGBT) people and neglect their human rights to be satisfied?”

Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto bumps elbows with Gon Matsunaka, the head of Pride House Tokyo, in Tokyo on April 27. | POOL / VIA REUTERS
Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto bumps elbows with Gon Matsunaka, the head of Pride House Tokyo, in Tokyo on April 27. | POOL / VIA REUTERS

Ishikawa said Yana’s remarks represent an “extremely stereotypical view.”

Ryosuke Nanasaki, 33, head of a body supporting sexual minorities who has come out as gay, said he felt “a sense of void” after hearing of another discriminatory remark by a politician.

Another LDP member, Mio Sugita, came under fire in 2018 for saying in a magazine article that the government should not support LGBT couples because they cannot bear offspring and thus are not “productive.”

Nanasaki has protested every time discriminatory remarks have been made but said, “Such remarks are made over and over. I feel hopeless thinking that this will continue.”

Japan Alliance for LGBT Legislation, comprised of groups aiding sexual minorities, said in a statement that Yana’s remarks, which “hurt not only (LGBT) themselves but also their families, friends and acquaintances, cannot be overlooked.”

Pride House Tokyo Consortium, an entity promoting better understanding of sexual minorities in cooperation with sponsors of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, including Panasonic Corp., said it will soon deliver a letter of protest to the LDP over Yana’s remarks.

In the letter, the consortium will criticize Yana’s “intolerable” remarks as going against the Olympic Charter that bans discrimination of any kind, its officials said.

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