Mio Sugita

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Mio Sugita
杉田 水脈
Member of the House of Representatives of Japan
IncumbentOctober 23, 2017
ConstituencyProportional Chugoku Block
Personal details
Born (1967-04-22) April 22, 1967 (age 54)
Political partyLDP

Mio Sugita (杉田 水脈 Sugita Mio, born April 22, 1967) is a Japanese politician. Sugita is a member of the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan and an incumbent member of the House of Representatives for the Proportional Chugoku Block.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Sugita graduated from the Faculty of Agriculture, Tottori University in 1990.[2]

She worked as a Nishinomiya government employee and member of the Japan Restoration Party and the Next Generation Party before becoming a member of the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan.[3]

After unsuccessfully running in the 2014 election for the Hyogo Prefectural 6th District (garnering the fewest votes of any candidate[4]) as a member of The Party for Japanese Kokoro, Sugita changed parties, joining the Liberal Democratic Party. She next ran for the Proportional Chugoku Block as an LDP member, and was made a representative of that Block by the LDP, without having to rely directly on a direct election.

Sugita married at age 26. Her husband is an engineer. They have one child, a daughter.[5]

Political career[edit]

Women using maiden names[edit]

A debate has been continuing in Japan on whether or not married couples should be allowed to retain their own names after marriage and thus have different surnames. At present, married people must share the same surname, whether the husband's name or the wife's maiden name. During a Diet session on January 23, 2020 when this issue was being debated, a female Diet member shouted out of turn (called a "yaji" in Japanese), "if you don’t want your husband’s name, you shouldn’t get married!" The Diet member was reported to have been Sugita.[6]

Nurseries[edit]

In July 2016, Sugita wrote an article in the Sankei Shimbun opposing increases in the number of nurseries.[7]

Comfort women[edit]

In 2013 Sugita joined fellow Japan Restoration Party members Yuzuru Nishida [ja] and Hiromu Nakamaru [ja] at the Study Group for Japan's Rebirth based in Los Angeles to request removal of a statue in Glendale, Los Angeles County, California. The statue commemorates as many as 200,000 "comfort women" from Korea and other countries "forced into sex slavery by Japanese soldiers during World War II".[8] Statue opponents, including Sugita, said, "the women acted willingly" and that the numbers of them reported are inflated.[9][10] The three politicians also stated that they wanted the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs to retract an apology made in the 1990s to comfort women.[9]

Shiori Itō rape case[edit]

Sugita appeared in a 2018 BBC documentary "Japan's Secret Shame"[11] which detailed the alleged rape of Shiori Itō. In the interview, Sugita was quoted as saying, "With this case, there were clear errors on her part as a woman; drinking that much in front of a man and losing her memory. With things like this I think men are the ones who suffer significant damage.”[12] Sugita also laughed at an illustration with a woman apparently made to look like Itō and the words "failure at sleeping around for business".[13]

The video has subsequently drawn criticism on social media. Sugita was criticized by Lully Miura, an instructor at the Policy Alternatives Research Institute at the University of Tokyo who wrote, "Behavior as if questioning the actions of the victim instead of the perpetrator will spread the misunderstanding that it cannot be helped if something happens to a woman when she gets drunk in front of a man. There seems to be a sense of dislike against women strongly speaking up to men that is embedded in Sugita's attitude."[13] When approached for comment about the documentary by the Mainichi Shimbun, Sugita stated the video had been edited in a way that misrepresented her intentions and she was considering releasing her own footage of the interview.[13]

LGBT issues[edit]

In 2015, Sugita made an appearance on the Japanese Culture Channel Sakura television program Hi Izuru Kuni Yori alongside music composer Koichi Sugiyama and fellow politician Kyoko Nakayama in which she claimed that there was no need for LGBT education in schools, dismissing concerns about high suicide rates among the community.[14][15] In July 2018, Sugita wrote a magazine article that described LGBT couples as "unproductive" as they can not bear children and thus were not worth taxpayer investment.[16] Her comments were denounced by various prominent Japanese politicians, including former Japanese prime minister Yukio Hatoyama, with thousands of protesters gathering outside the headquarters of the Liberal Democratic Party on July 27, 2018 to demand her resignation from the party.[17] Two months later, a group of LGBT politicians and civil rights leaders demanded that she account for the comments.[18]

In September 2020, at a party gathering for the LDP government, participants claimed that Sugita remarked, "Women can tell lies as much as they want," during a briefing about the government’s support program for sexual violence victims. The remark was likely related to Shiori Ito, a controversial figure due to her rape allegations, who was recently selected by Time magazine, as one of the world’s 100 Most Influential People of 2020. Sugita later denied having made those comments.[19][20]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "杉田 水脈 | 国会議員 | 議員情報 | 議員・役員情報 | 自由民主党". www.jimin.jp (in Japanese). Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  2. ^ "国会議員情報:杉田 水脈(すぎた みお):時事ドットコム". 時事ドットコム (in Japanese). Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  3. ^ "Japan Should Aim to Create an Independent Constitution, Not Reform the Present One | Apple Town". en.apa-appletown.com. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  4. ^ "比例中国ブロック" (in Japanese). Retrieved September 7, 2018.
  5. ^ "杉田水脈の結婚した旦那(夫)や子供は?若い頃の顔画像や整形疑惑を調査!" (in Japanese). Retrieved September 7, 2018.
  6. ^ "「結婚しなくていい」ヤジ問題で自民・杉田水脈氏、無言貫く 携帯を耳にあて立ち去る". Mainichi Daily News (in Japanese). January 23, 2020. Retrieved September 27, 2020.
  7. ^ "【杉田水脈のなでしこリポート(8)】「保育園落ちた、日本死ね」論争は前提が間違っています 日本を貶めたい勢力の真の狙いとは…". Sankei Shimbun (in Japanese). Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  8. ^ Mikailian, Arin. "Court rules in favor of memorial to comfort women". latimes.com. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  9. ^ a b Levine, Brittany (December 19, 2013). "Japanese politicians want Glendale's 'comfort women' statue removed". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  10. ^ Schreiber, Mark (April 25, 2015). "U.S. towns pulled into Japanese politics". The Japan Times Online. ISSN 0447-5763. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  11. ^ Japan's Secret Shame, retrieved July 26, 2018
  12. ^ "Woman's fight highlights rape taboo in Japan". The Irish Times. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  13. ^ a b c "LDP lawmaker draws fire over comment on alleged rape victim in BBC documentary". Mainichi Daily News. July 7, 2018. Retrieved April 2, 2020.
  14. ^ Hart, Aimee. "Anti-LGBT Dragon Quest Composer Spurs Square Enix Response". Game Revolution. Retrieved August 7, 2018.
  15. ^ Loveridge, Lynzee; Sherman, Jennifer. "Square Enix Responds to Dragon Quest Composer's 2015 Anti-LGBTQ Statements". AnimeNewsNetwork. Retrieved August 7, 2018.
  16. ^ "Japanese politician under fire for claiming LGBT couples are 'unproductive'". The Independent. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  17. ^ Osaki, Tomohiro (July 27, 2018). "Thousands rally to protest LDP lawmaker Mio Sugita's remark calling LGBT people 'unproductive'". The Japan Times Online. ISSN 0447-5763. Retrieved July 27, 2018.
  18. ^ "LGBT politicians seek explanation from LDP Diet member Mio Sugita after controversial commentary about same-sex couples". The Japan Times Online. September 5, 2018. ISSN 0447-5763. Retrieved September 7, 2018.
  19. ^ 日本放送協会. "「女性はうそをつける」自民 杉田水脈衆院議員 本人は発言否定". NHKニュース. Retrieved September 27, 2020.
  20. ^ "LDP lawmaker makes remark insulting to sexual violence victims: reports". The Japan Times. September 25, 2020. Retrieved September 27, 2020.

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