78-year-old Masateru Shiraishi of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party has faced criticism after claiming his north Tokyo ward would ‘no longer exist’ if LGBTQ+ people had legal protections. According to reports from the Japan Times, Shiraishi asked “this is impossible, but if all Japanese women were lesbian or all Japanese men were gay, then do you think the next generation would be born?” at an assembly session of Tokyo’s Adachi ward. He said this during a conversation about falling birth rates in Japan.
He also added: “I do not intend to interfere in the life of someone who is lesbian or gay. But, getting married, having children and raising them in a normal way is very important for people.” His remarks have sparked backlash from LGBTQ+ activists in Japan, with head LGBTQ+ organisation Fair, Soshi Matsuoka, saying “I strongly resent the fact that a person with such discriminatory ideas can serve as a politician.”
Twitter users have also expressed anger at Shiraishi’s comment, with one person saying it demonstrated a “complete lack of understanding of sexuality” and branding it blatant discrimination. Another said he was ‘oblivious’ about the difficulties of raising children that may be discouraging people from starting families.