Fumio Kishida, the prime minister of Japan, has dismissed a cabinet minister for disparaging LGBT couples.
According to reports, Masayoshi Arai said he wouldn’t want to live next to or observe people who are in same-sex partnerships.
Mr. Arai also cautioned that allowing gay marriage in Japan would result in many people leaving the nation.
The comments, according to Mr. Kishida, are “outrageous” and “totally irreconcilable” with the goals of his government.
The only G7 country that does not recognize same-sex marriage is Japan, a society that is still heavily reliant on conventional gender norms and family values.
But according to a recent study, the majority of Japanese are in support of gay marriage.
Many same-sex couples have also filed legal complaints in Japan in recent years, arguing that the ban on same-sex unions is unconstitutional.
Prior to Mr. Arai’s dismissal, Mr. Kishida had spoken in parliament about issues relating to same-sex marriage.
He claimed that it needs to be carefully addressed since it might have an impact on traditional family structures.
In response, Mr. Arai told reporters that he “wouldn’t like it if [LGBT couples] lived next door” and that he “doesn’t even want to look at them.”
According to Kyodo News, he stated that it would “alter the way society is” and “quite a few individuals will leave this country.”
Mr. Kishida replied that Mr. Arai had been fired and stated, “We have been respecting diversity and realizing an inclusive society.”
Later, Mr. Arai issued an apology, saying that his comments were inappropriate and did not reflect the views of the prime minister.
His departure is a further setback for Mr. Kishida, whose government has seen its approval ratings sink as a result of several of his ministers resigning in recent months due to different scandals.