A junior Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker is under fire for suggesting that same-sex relations are a kind of "hobby" and that legal measures to allow same-sex marriage are unnecessary.

"It's not that I don't approve of diversity and it's fine if women like women and men like men. But it's not necessary to legalize same-sex marriage. It's like a hobby," LDP Lower House member Tom Tanigawa, 42, said on an internet television program on July 29.

Tanigawa, a two-term member based in Osaka Prefecture, could not be reached for comment Thursday by The Japan Times. The Asahi Shimbun reported Wednesday evening that, in a written reply to the paper earlier that day, Tanigawa said he did not intend to discriminate against the LGBT community, and that recognizing same-sex marriages under Article 24 of the Constitution was difficult.