TOKYO, Feb. 4 (Xinhua) -- Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Saturday that he has fired Masayoshi Arai as secretary to him over discriminatory remarks against sexual minorities.
Kishida, who has recently expressed caution over legalizing same-sex marriage, told reporters that he took the issue "very seriously" and that Arai's successor has already been decided.
"Executive secretary Arai's remarks totally contradict the government's policy and are inexcusable," said the prime minister.
Arai, an elite bureaucrat from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) who serves as an executive secretary to the prime minister, said during an off-the-record conversation with reporters the previous day that he would "not want to live next door" to an LGBT couple and that he would "hate even to see them."
Arai also said that if same-sex marriage is introduced in Japan, it would "change the way society is" and that "there are quite a few people who would abandon this country."
Arai quickly retracted the comments on Friday after they were made public by the media and apologized, adding that the remarks did not reflect Kishida's own thinking.
Arai, 55-year-old, was appointed an executive secretary to the prime minister in October 2021, when the Kishida administration took office, from his post as director-general of the commerce and information policy bureau at the METI.