Forty-three members of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly support their colleague Ayaka Shiomura’s call for those who heckled her during a recent session to come forward.
A survey released Wednesday received responses from 44 of the assembly’s 127 members. All 58 members from the Liberal Democratic Party refused to respond.
Akihiro Suzuki, an assembly member who left the LDP group after the incident, has already admitted to shouting, “You should get married first” while Shiomura, a 35-year-old Your Party member, was asking questions about maternity support measures during the plenary session on June 18.
No other assembly members have come forward regarding the other jeers, which included, “Can’t you have babies?”
U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy has sent a letter of support to Shiomura, Your Party policy chief Kenichi Mizuno said Wednesday, following criticism in Japan and abroad regarding the way she was treated.
The 58 LDP members contacted for the survey said it would be inappropriate to comment, since Shiomura’s claims regarding other hecklers have not been confirmed.
The 44 assembly members who did respond included 12 members of New Komeito, the LDP’s coalition partner which joined it in voting down an assembly resolution last week calling for all of the hecklers to be identified.
Among the New Komeito members, one called the remarks an “abuse of human rights” while another said those who were seated next to the hecklers should name them publicly.