Mizuta Sugita (Mio), Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications, is facing a defamation judgment from the Tokyo High Court in connection with her defamatory tweet postings against a journalist who claimed to be a victim of sexual violence. On November 30, in response to a question from Constitutional Assembly member Ayaka Shiomura at a Budget Committee meeting, Sugita gave an offhanded “answer” that didn’t quite fit the question. On November 16, Parliamentary Secretary Sugita’s “answer” at a special committee meeting of the House of Councilors was also bizarre. On that day, Mr. Hiroyuki Konishi, a member of the Rikken Diet, asked the following question: “About the statement in question.
Regarding the statement in question, he said, “They don’t have children. The answer was “They don’t have children, which means that they are not productive. Do you have any intention of retracting or modifying this statement?
Mr. Sugita has repeatedly stated that “not having children = not being productive,” a statement that has caused controversy. When asked about this, he replied.
He said, “I sincerely regret that I made such a statement that lacked consideration, and I have been making efforts to deepen understanding and realize a society that is easy to live in and free from discrimination. We will continue to respond with such efforts in the future.
He expressed his “feelings” that were not at all compatible with Councilor Konishi’s question about the “idea of withdrawing or revising” the statement. The first board member, Rikken Councilor Taiga Ishikawa, protested against this. When Councilor Konishi asked the same question again, he repeatedly stated that he wanted to “continue to promote a discrimination-free society” and stubbornly refused to “withdraw or revise” his position. The committee meeting was broadcast on social networking sites, and the “strangeness” of Mr. Sugita’s answer became a hot topic of conversation. Mr. Taiga Ishikawa, a member of the committee, expressed his anger, saying, “At the committee meeting, I was the first member of the board of trustees.
At the committee meeting, I repeatedly demanded that he answer questions properly as the first director of the committee. However, Mr. Furukawa (Toshiharu), the chairman of the committee, dismissed the request as if he was defending Mr. Sugita, and in the end, he did not answer the question until the end of the meeting. It was bizarre that he did not answer a simple question at all, not even changing his expression. He never gave such a condescending answer.
He said that those who do not have children are not productive, which is a statement that hurts many people. At a time when the world is trying to recognize the diversity of lifestyles and lifestyles, it is unacceptable to have a person with such a discriminatory attitude as a member of the government.
Who Created “Sugita Mizuna”?
After graduating from the Department of Forestry, Faculty of Agriculture, Tottori University, Mr. Sugita joined Sekisui House, Ltd. After working as an employee of Nishinomiya City Hall, he has bounced around from one political party to the next: Minna-no Party, The Japan Innovation Party, Next Generation Party, and the Party for the Heart of Japan. He was first elected in the December 2012 general election when he ran for the Hyogo 6th Constituency from The Japan Innovation Party. He was unsuccessful in his electoral district and won back in the proportional Kinki block. He then ran in December 2014 as a Next Generation Party candidate and was unsuccessful, coming in last; he ran for the LDP in 2017. An elder member of the LDP said.
“It was former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who scouted Mizuta Sugita, who has been unsuccessfully running for office while changing party affiliations. It seems that they were connected through a network of conservative supporters of the LDP. Sugita had no prominent political ideology when she was a Nishinomiya City official, and was just one of the conservative candidates. It is said that she was a rather modest woman. However, after being discovered by Mr. Abe, she came into contact with conservative lawyers who were reported to be Abe’s brains, and that is when her “right-wing switch” flipped. At some point, she began to make conservative statements with a bias. Sugita on the floor of the Diet looks as if he is obsessed with something, and frankly, it is nothing short of bizarre.”
In 2017, he ran for the LDP’s proportional Chugoku bloc, winning his seat by the votes the LDP won in the Chugoku region. This councilor goes on to say.
“Voters are unlikely to write ‘Mizuta Sugita’ on their ballots. With that kind of argument, she would never win a primary election because she would not win the sympathy of voters. Therefore, she has no choice but to choose the path where seats are allocated according to the LDP’s proportional vote.
A politician who makes extremely right-wing statements. By fulfilling this role, Sugita is guaranteed the badge of a member of the Diet. This is why he does not run in primary elections, but continues to serve as a councilor only on a proportional basis. His repeated discriminatory remarks are frowned upon by the general public, but they are useful to some of his support groups.”
Mizuta Sugita, a representative who has never been elected in an electoral district but has been elected three times on a proportional basis. Needless to say, the face of a support group is “most important” to a politician who is more interested in elections than policies, as seen in the case of the Unification Church.
Diet members are more or less bound by and closely connected to the votes of support groups such as Sugita’s. Not only in the LDP, but also in the New Kōmeitō Party. Not only the LDP, but the Komeito is supported by the Soka Gakkai, and the Democratic Party of Japan and the People’s Democratic Party are backed by labor unions. Even the Communist Party has built up its own organization. If they offend their parent organizations, the life of a Diet member is over.
The elder councilor said with a deep sigh. While Sugita’s background reveals a hazy outline of the organization, his “true identity” is not clear. Or perhaps this is where the taboo of LDP politics lies.
That’s why it’s ‘creepy. It is not a slander against an individual, but rather Sugita’s existence as a politician. At election time, if the so-called independents move as non-LDP voters, the LDP’s organizational votes would be easily blown away. Sugita is a member of the LDP who has been embedded in the LDP in order to firmly protect the LDP’s organizational votes.
The political stance of the Fumio Kishida administration is to advocate “the power to listen” and not to speak when questioned, but is Sugita’s presence a complement to that? The opposition parties have repeatedly called for his resignation. However, on March 30, Prime Minister Kishida again denied that he would be ousted. Daisuke Amabatake, a member of the Reiwa Newly Elected Council, who is severely disabled, concluded his questioning of Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications Sugita on March 16 with the following words.
At the root of his statement that people’s value is evaluated based on their productivity, I sense the same thinking as that of Sei Uematsu, the death-row convict who caused the “Yamayuri-en Incident.”
The Diet members repeatedly discriminated against people with disabilities, sexual minorities, childless people, and women. The LDP relies on support groups that value and use Diet members who repeatedly make discriminatory statements against many citizens. There is no sense that they see each and every one of us as a “human being.
Interview and text by： Shutaro Iwashiro Photo: Kyodo News： Kyodo News Photo by： Takeshi Kinugawa (2nd)