Japanese magazine to close after Abe ally’s ‘homophobic’ article

Controversy began in July with article in which MP Mio Sugita described LGBT people as unproductive

A prominent magazine in Japan is to close after an outcry over an allegedly homophobic article written by a rightwing MP from the ruling Liberal Democratic party.

The Shincho 45 said it would halt publication amid the continuing controversy over the views expressed by Mio Sugita. In the article the MP described LGBT people as unproductive and questioned the use of tax money to support them.

Sugita wrote that same-sex couples did not produce children. In other words, they lack productivity and, therefore, do not contribute to the prosperity of the nation.

The monthly magazine was plunged deeper into crisis after it ran a series of pieces in its latest edition under the headline: Is Sugitas article that outrageous?

Its publisher, Shinchosha, apologised for the articles. We cant deny that we failed to scrutinise the feature package and check the articles fully because we are under-resourced for the editing process due to decreased magazine sales. We are so sorry for allowing this to happen, it said a statement reported by the Asahi Shimbun.

The magazines demise follows an unusual intervention from the publishers president, Takanobu Sato, who said the latest edition contained expressions that were full of prejudice and lacked understanding.

Sugitas article, which appeared in July, led to condemnation from politicians and LGBT rights campaigners, who demanded that she apologise. Her party initially refused to reprimand Sugita, but later said she had been reminded that her views contradicted its support for the rights of sexual minorities.

Sugita, an ally of the prime minister, Shinzo Abe, has not publicly apologised for the article. Abe said last week he had not pressured her to resign because she is still young. Sugita is 51.

Shincho 45, which first appeared in 1982, describes itself as a bit dangerous and has reportedly attempted to attract new readers by providing a forum for rightwing views and criticism of what it deems to be political correctness.

As campaigners for LGBT rights demanded that Sugita apologise, the magazine sought to defend the MP, who has claimed that the use of sex slaves by Japanese soldiers before and during the second world war was a Korean fabrication.

One of the articles in its latest edition, by the literary critic Eitaro Ogawa, said guaranteeing rights for sexual minorities led him to wonder whether society should also recognise the rights of men who grope women on trains.

Shinchoshas director of public relations, Yukihito Ito, said the magazines editorial team apparently failed to conduct strict checks on its articles, going overboard in a bid to increase circulation, according to the Mainichi Shimbun.

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/us

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