Tokyo assemblyman apologizes over sexist heckling

Tokyo city assemblyman Akihiro Suzuki bows to his female counterpart Ayaka Shiomura for an apology at Tokyo Metropolitan City Hall in Tokyo Monday, June 23, 2014. Suzuki from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling party apologized for throwing one of several sexist hecklings at Shiomura Monday, five days after officials scrambled to identify the voices heard during her speech. A voice from the floor said “You are the one who should get married first,” followed by laughter and more hecklings including “She must be single” and “Can’t you have babies?” as Shiomura asked Tokyo’s maternity support measures. (AP Photo/Kyodo News) JAPAN OUT, CREDIT MANDATORY
Tokyo city assemblyman Akihiro Suzuki bows to his female counterpart Ayaka Shiomura for an apology at Tokyo Metropolitan City Hall in Tokyo Monday, June 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Kyodo News)

TOKYO (AP) — A Tokyo city assemblyman from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling party has apologized for shouting out a sexist remark at a female counterpart last week.

Akihiro Suzuki, 51, apologized Monday, five days after officials scrambled to identify the voices heard during Ayaka Shiomura’s speech Wednesday.

A voice from the floor said “You are the one who should get married first,” followed by laughter and more heckling, including “She must be single” and “Can’t you have babies?” as Shiomura asked about Tokyo’s maternity support measures.

Suzuki apologized over the first remark, but denied making the others. He said he never meant to insult her but wishes she could marry soon.

The case could be an embarrassment to Abe’s efforts on women’s advancement and Tokyo’s image as host of the 2020 Olympics.

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