An HIV-positive lawmaker has blasted plans to let former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori address a special U.N. session on AIDS later this month, citing previous discriminatory remarks made by Mori regarding the disease. On Tuesday, 41-year-old Satoru Ienishi of the Democratic Party of Japan slammed the government for its decision to send Mori, saying, “I will never forgive it.”
DPJ leader Yukio Hatoyama backed Ienishi, describing Mori as “the last person who should be picked (for the mission).”
Mori is scheduled to attend the U.N. Special Session on HIV/AIDS at the U.N. headquarters in New York from Monday through Wednesday.
Hatoyama told reporters he intends to pressure the government and the Cabinet into reconsidering this assignment. Mori was criticized for a lecture he gave in January 2000 in which he recalled his experience of addressing a paltry crowd during his first-ever election campaign.
“People seemed to think AIDS had arrived (instead of me),” he said.
Mori made the remark while serving as secretary general of the Liberal Democratic Party.
Ienishi also criticized the Cabinet of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi over the decision.
“I cannot forgive the Cabinet. Japan will make a fool of itself as it lets the world know that this country’s sense of human rights is going in the wrong direction,” he said.
In 1987, Ienishi was found to have been infected with HIV after being treated for hemophilia with unheated blood products. He was first elected to the Lower House in 1996.
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