Japan lawmakers accused of violating Olympic spirit by LGBTQ campaigners
Published: May 23, 2021 07:23 PM
Rights activists have accused ruling lawmakers in Japan of violating the Olympic spirit with homophobic remarks that included saying same-sex relationships "resist the preservation of the species."

Display in front of Shinbashi station in Tokyo, Japan on May 20, 2021 Photo: VCG

Display in front of Shinbashi station in Tokyo, Japan on May 20, 2021 Photo: VCG

The comments - made during discussions on a new anti-discrimination bill - have sparked a backlash as Japan prepares to host the virus-postponed Games in two months' time. Kazuo Yana from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) said during a meeting on Thursday that LGBTQ relationships "resist the preservation of the species, which should happen biologically," the Asahi Shimbun daily reported.

Fellow LDP member Eriko Yamatani also hit out at transgender athletes at the closed-door meeting, according to Jiji Press. "Some people have stated an opinion that they have a male body but they are women. Therefore, they should be allowed to use the women's restroom. Or they participate in women's sports and win medals. A number of ridiculous things are happening," she reportedly said.

Broadcaster TBS and other Japanese media also quoted an unnamed lawmaker as saying that LGBTQ sexualities "can't be accepted in a moral way."

Pride House Tokyo - a community hub officially recognized as part of the Olympic program - criticized the remarks in a joint statement Saturday with US-based campaign group Athlete Ally.

"These comments, if true, are in violation of the spirit of the Olympics and Paralympics which Tokyo is hoping to host," they said.

Another Japanese rights group that is supporting the new bill has called the reported remarks "extremely regrettable."

The Olympic charter states that "every individual must have the possibility of practising sport, without discrimination of any kind."