Photo/IllutrationLiberal Democratic Party lawmaker Mio Sugita, center, attends a Lower House plenary session on Oct. 24. (Shinichi Iizuka)

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Lawmaker Mio Sugita admitted that her essay that infuriated sexual minorities and their supporters was “inappropriate,” but she would not retract her words nor resign from the Lower House.

At the Diet on Oct. 24, Sugita, a member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, responded to reporters’ questions about the article she contributed to the August edition of monthly magazine Shincho 45.

Referring to gay people, she wrote: “Those men and women do not reproduce. In other words, they are ‘unproductive.’ I wonder if it is appropriate to spend taxpayer money on them.”

Outrage spread across Japan, and demands intensified for her resignation.

Sugita had declined to discuss the offending essay with reporters until Oct. 24.

“I have taken seriously the fact that my comments triggered misunderstanding and controversy, and had offended or hurt some people,” Sugita said. “I had no intention at all to discriminate against same-sex couples or to deny their human rights.”

But she still refused to retract her “inappropriate” comments.

The backlash intensified when Shincho 45 ran a follow-up special feature package in its October edition under the banner: “Is Sugita’s article that outrageous?”

Shinchosha Publishing Co. has since decided to close the magazine.