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Japanese lawmaker ranks first in poll for most sexist comment

A Japanese ruling party lawmaker, Mio Sugita, made the most sexist remark among political figures in the country, according to a poll published Tuesday. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI
A Japanese ruling party lawmaker, Mio Sugita, made the most sexist remark among political figures in the country, according to a poll published Tuesday. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

March 9 (UPI) -- A Japanese lawmaker known for her incendiary comments took the top spot in a survey that ranked the most sexist remarks made by political figures in the country.

Mio Sugita, 53, beat former Tokyo Olympic Chief Yoshiro Mori in the online poll from No To All Sexist Public Speeches, a group of academics that published the results after International Women's Day on Monday.

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Sugita, who said last September that women "can lie as much as they want" about rape or sexual assault, received 33.1% of all votes from 3,044 survey respondents, the Asahi Shimbun reported.

Mori, who resigned from the Tokyo Olympic Committee in February, received 20.2% of all votes. The former Japanese prime minister came under fire after he complained women prolonged meetings with their chatter and were too competitive with each other.

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Sugita's comments about sexual assault were made during a briefing about the Japanese government's support program for victims of sexual violence.

Two years earlier, in a BBC documentary, Sugita said women are to blame for "drinking too much" and "losing their memory" in reference to a rape case involving Japanese journalist Shiori Ito and an acquaintance of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The Japanese lawmaker also has been linked to movements in the country toward historical revisionism.

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In 2013, Sugita requested the removal of a "comfort woman" statue in the United States. She has claimed the women volunteered to enter wartime brothels. Victims have said they were subject to daily sexual assaults and witnessed their peers succumb to death, starvation and disease.

Civic groups in Japan have called for Sugita's resignation from parliament after the comment.

Japanese government statistics show that more than 95% of sexual violence incidents are not reported to police, Human Rights Watch said in February. Women in Japan also are "severely stigmatized" if they complain of discrimination.

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