Japanese Prime Minister fires aide for anti-LGBTQ+ comments | News

Fumio Kishida criticizes contributors’ comments about same-sex unions as ‘outrageous’ and ‘incompatible’ with an inclusive society.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has fired one of his secretaries over homophobic comments the prime minister called “outrageous.”

Kishida said Masayoshi Arai’s statements, in which he said he “doesn’t even want to look at” married same-sex couples, were “outrageous” and “incompatible” with the inclusive society the government is aiming for.

“I made the decision to remove him as secretary,” Kishida told reporters on Saturday.

On Friday, Arai, an economy and trade official who joined Kishida’s staff as secretary in October, said he “would not like them living next door” and that people would “leave the country if we allow same-sex marriage.” , broadcast by public broadcaster NHK.

The 55-year-old later apologized, saying his remarks were not appropriate, even if they were his personal opinion.

The removal is a further blow to Kishida’s government, which has faced declining approval ratings since last year.

Kishida has lost four ministers in just three months, including over allegations of financial irregularities or ties to the controversial Unification Church.

Among those who have resigned is Mio Sugita, the vice minister of internal affairs and communications, who resigned in December over controversial comments about LGBTQ+ people and Japan’s indigenous Ainu community.

Japan is the only nation in the Group of Seven industrialized nations that does not recognize same-sex marriage, although recent media polls show that the majority support such unions.

Arai’s comments came after Kishida told parliament that same-sex marriage should be carefully considered because of its potential impact on family structure.

More than a dozen couples have filed lawsuits in district courts across Japan claiming that the ban on same-sex marriage violates the Constitution.

Last November, a court in the Japanese capital upheld a ban on same-sex marriage, but said the lack of legal protection for same-sex families violated their human rights.

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