4th February 2023 – (Tokyo) Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Saturday that he intends to dismiss Masayoshi Arai as secretary to him over discriminatory remarks against sexual minorities.
Kishida told reporters at his official residence that the comments made by Arai “cannot but force” the Cabinet to consider his future, calling the remarks totally unacceptable and incompatible with the policies of his administration.
Arai, an elite bureaucrat from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) who serves as an executive secretary to the prime minister, said during an off-the-record conversation with reporters the previous day that he would “not want to live next door” to an LGBT couple and that he would “hate even to see them.”
Arai also said that if same-sex marriage is introduced in Japan, it would “change the way society is” and that “there are quite a few people who would abandon this country.”
Arai quickly retracted the comments on Friday after they were made public by the media and apologized, adding that the remarks did not reflect Kishida’s own thinking.
Arai was appointed an executive secretary to the prime minister in October 2021, when the Kishida administration took office, from his post as director general of the commerce and information policy bureau at METI.