Japan PM fires aide over anti-LGBTQ+ remarks

Tokyo: Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has fired a government aide who made derogatory remarks about LGBT couples.

Masayoshi Arai reportedly said he would not want to live next to, or look at, people in same-sex relationships.

Mr Arai also warned that permitting gay marriage in Japan would lead to many abandoning the country.

Mr Kishida said the remarks were “outrageous” and “completely incompatible” with his government’s policies.

Japan – a country still largely bound by traditional gender roles and family values – is the only G7 nation that does not recognise same-sex marriage.

However, recent polling suggests most Japanese support gay marriage.

A number of same-sex couples have also filed lawsuits across Japan in recent years arguing that the ban on same-sex marriage violates the country’s constitution.

Prior to Mr Arai’s dismissal, Mr Kishida had talked about issues surrounding same-sex marriage in parliament.

He stated that it needed to be carefully considered because of its potential impact on traditional family structures.

Mr Arai reacted to the remarks afterwards, telling reporters that he “wouldn’t like it if [LGBT couples] lived next door” and “doesn’t even want to look at them.”

He added that it would “change the way society is” and “quite a few people would abandon this country,” according to Kyodo News.

In response, Mr Kishida said he had dismissed Mr Arai, adding: “We have been respecting diversity and realising an inclusive society.”

Mr Arai later apologised, stating that his remarks were not appropriate and were not representative of the prime minister’s views.

His resignation represents a further blow to Mr Kishida, whose government has seen plummeting approval ratings after a number of his ministers have resigned over various scandals in recent months.

 

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