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TOKYO (AP) — A Japanese legislator is drawing criticism for his comment that “a nation would collapse” if everyone became LGBT.

Remarks by Katsuei Hirasawa, a veteran lawmaker of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, were carried on Nippon News Network’s national broadcast Friday. Outrage has been popping up on social media.

Hirasawa told a crowd in Yamanashi Prefecture in central Japan on Thursday: “Criticizing LGBT would create problems, but if everyone became like them then a nation would collapse.”

He also said he didn’t understand moves in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward and other local areas to recognize same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriages are not recognized in Japan nationally.

Hirasawa, like many Japanese politicians, was lamenting the country’s low birth rate, which has been blamed on a lack of child care and help for working women, as well as sentiments that tend to shift the burden of raising children on women.

Last year, another ruling party lawmaker, Mio Sugita, came under fire after she said in a magazine that the government shouldn’t use tax money for LGBT rights because same-sex couples weren’t “productive.” Tens of thousands of people took part in protests outside the ruling party headquarters.

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Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter at https://twitter.com/yurikageyama

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