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Diet member Kiyomi Tsujimoto of the Social Democratic Party has demanded that major publishing house Shogakukan Co. and cartoonist Yoshinori Kobayashi apologize to her for a cartoon in the magazine SAPIO that she claims libeled her. Tsujimoto told a news conference Wednesday that she made the demand in a letter addressed to the president of Shogakukan, which publishes the magazine, and Kobayashi, who drew the cartoon. According to the lawmaker, the cartoon run in the Dec. 8 issue portrays Tsujimoto as taking issue with Liberal Party lawmaker Shingo Nishimura’s likening of laws against rape to the deterrence value of nuclear arms. “If there were no punishment for rape, we would all be rapists,” Nishimura was quoted as saying in an interview with the Japanese magazine Playboy. “We do not become (rapists) because there is the deterrent of punishment.” Tsujimoto said she had only branded as inappropriate a remark Nishimura made while he was vice parliamentary minister of defense to the effect that people opposing collective defense should be excluded from defense if attacked. “I said to a female parliamentary member of the Social Democratic Party, ‘I would never rescue you even if you were being raped,'” Nishimura reportedly said. Tsujimoto said she had neither taken issue with the rape reference nor denied the wisdom of the Diet discussing whether Japan should join the nuclear arms club. Kobayashi described her demand as “nonsense,” while Shogakukan refused to comment Wednesday.Nishimura was forced to resign from the post in September because of his contentious proposal that the Diet discuss the nuclear option and other inflammatory remarks.

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