Japanese prime minister's aide leaving over LGBTQ remarks

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TOKYO (AP) — A senior aide to Japan’s prime minister is being dismissed after making discriminatory remarks about LGBTQ people.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters Saturday that Masayoshi Arai, a secretary at his office, was being dismissed after Arai recently told Japanese media he did not like seeing LGBTQ people. Arai had retracted his comments and apologized on Friday.

Kishida said the remarks run counter to the administration’s position on promoting diversity.

“Taking strong action is inevitable,” Kishida said without providing further details, meaning Arai may leave voluntarily.

Arai's remarks prompted an outburst of protest and were the latest in a string of gaffes by Japanese officials that have landed them in trouble.

Saving face is important in conformist Japan, where prejudice against LGBTQ people, racial groups, women and other nationalities persist.

Japan is the only Group of Seven country that does not recognize same-sex marriage, but the movement toward recognition has been growing.

Kishida’s administration has been hit by several scandals recently, and its popularity is shaky.

Various Japanese officials have resigned over the years over comments they made.

A justice minister stepped down last year after joking about capital punishment.

In 2021, Yoshiro Mori resigned as head of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee after saying women talked too much. Mori had been gaffe-prone when he earlier served as prime minister, about 20 years ago.

A minister in charge of cybersecurity who acknowledged he had hardly ever used a computer resigned in 2019.


Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter https://twitter.com/yurikageyama