• Kyodo


The Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly has voted down a resolution calling for identifying the assembly members who heckled an assemblywoman last week with sexist remarks, effectively forcing closure on an issue that drew sharp criticism at home and abroad.

The assembly failed to pass the resolution on Wednesday, its last full session for the month, due to resistance from the Liberal Democratic Party, the biggest force in the assembly. The assembly will not hold another plenary session until September.

Among the suspected hecklers, only 51-year-old Akihiro Suzuki, who quit the LDP after admitting to playing a role in the heckling, was identified. Suzuki admitting yelling, “You should get married first,” while the female lawmaker was addressing the assembly.

The Japanese Communist Party submitted another resolution urging Suzuki to resign, but the assembly voted it down as well.

The assembly passed another resolution submitted by five assembly groups that calls for members to try to restore voter confidence in the body and prevent sexist incidents.

At the opening of the session, the chairman of the 127-seat assembly, Toshiaki Yoshino, urged all members to maintain order and dignity.

Last week, Ayaka Shiomura, an assemblywoman from Your Party, was heckled during the session while asking questions on maternity support measures.

Her attackers yelled, “You should get married first,” and, “Can’t you have babies?”

On Monday, Suzuki admitted to having made the first remark and apologized to Shiomura but denied making the second remark.