The ruling Liberal Democratic Party is urging the Tokyo metropolitan assembly members who taunted a female colleague with sexist jeers to come forward and apologize.
During a TV program aired June 21, Shigeru Ishiba, the party's secretary-general, made clear the LDP regarded their behavior as shameful.
He said it is “important” for the assemblymen to promptly apologize. “If they are the members of our party, the party must issue an apology,” he said.
Ayaka Shiomura of Your Party was reduced to tears by the heckling on June 18. She has requested the assembly president to identify the men who shouted taunts during her presentation on support measures to raise the birthrate.
The assemblymen, apparently in the section reserved for LDP members, yelled, “You are the one who must get married as soon as possible” and “Can’t you even bear a child?”
But the assembly president, Toshiaki Yoshino of the LDP, refused Shiomura’s request, saying it is technically difficult to determine who was responsible.
Osamu Yoshiwara, secretary-general of the LDP members’ group in the assembly, said it had started questioning members on June 19 to find out who was behind the incident. But no one has yet come forward, he said.
“As I didn't actually hear the taunts myself, it is difficult for our group to decide how to deal with the situation,” he said.
But a senior member of LDP’s assembly group said, “If our secretary-general has called on the perpetrators to come forward, they must do so and apologize if they are really the members of our group.”
Shiomura said during an interview with The Asahi Shimbun on June 21 that she, along with members of her party, will continue their efforts to identify the perpetrators.
“Tokyo aspires to develop into the world’s best city before the 2020 Olympic Games,” she said. “I hope the incident will serve as a good wake-up call for the entire assembly to change for the better.”
(Atsuko Kawaguchi contributed to this article.)
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