Photo: Twitter/@nakatsu_shizuru

Kanazawa department store designates female drivers priority parking spots in parking structure

By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

For many years, Japan has had women-only train cars, which came into being as a countermeasure against men using the crowded condition inside the carriages as cover to grope female passengers. In general, rail operators that have women-only train cars do so during the morning and evening rush hours, with those carriages reverting back to being open to both genders at other times.

But while the concept of special spaces for women on trains isn’t anything new, Japanese Twitter user @nakatsu_shizuru recently shared a snapshot of the concept making an inroad into car travel, something that’s not at all the norm in Japan.

The photo was taken in the parking structure of a department store in Kanazawa, the capital of Ishikawa Prefecture. The text written on the sign attached to the support pillar reads “Ladies floor. Priority parking spaces for women.”

“Isn’t this discriminatory??” tweeted @nakatsu_shizuru, eliciting responses such as:

“This is a little excessive.”

“Gotta say, that’s messed up.”

“I understand having special parking spaces for disabled or elderly people, but this is just pointless.”

“What’s next? Preferred roads for female drivers?”

Multiple commenters pointed out, however, that the word used in the notice is yusen/”priority,” and not senyo/”exclusive use,” the word used to designate women-only trains.

Yusen does show up in trains too, where it indicates the “priorty seats” for injured, disabled, pregnant, or elderly passengers. These seats can be used by anyone, with the understanding that someone not in one of those four demographics will vacate the seat if someone who is from one of them enters the carriage.

So technically, the department store @nakatsu_shizuru visited isn’t barring male drivers from parking in spaces on the ladies floor, but asking them to give preference to female drivers who want those spaces. However, there’s a big difference in trying to dictate behavior of this sort in a parking lot and a train, which is that once people park their cars, they leave them and go somewhere else, so how would they know if a female driver just pulled in and wants their spot?

There’s also the fact that cars hold multiple people, and sometimes their roles can switch on the drive home. If, for example, a family goes to the department store with Dad behind the wheel, but Mom is going to be driving on the way back since Dad is planning to have a couple of beers while they’re out, does that qualify the car as “female-driven” in the eyes of the parking structure?

There aren’t any clear answers for these vagaries, and with Japanese society’s penchant for avoiding direct confrontation when it can, the implied message seems to be that the store would like male drivers to park on the women’s floor only if every other space in the structure is full.

Source: Hachima Kiko

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Are Women-Only train cars illegal in Japan?

-- To sit or not to sit? Linguistic and societal debate on Japanese train seats for the elderly

-- Petition gathers support for men-only train carriages in Japan

© SoraNews24

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7 ( +7 / -0 )

According to insurance companies, females are better, more careful drivers than males. (Fewer accidents etc). Maybe this is the stores way of rewarding them - no longer have to park next to idiots.

I feel, however, the store believes in the stereotype of the female driver.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

In this age of stupidity, rights activists have outdone themselves. Priority parking for women is not a problem because the same people who would complain if I parked there wouldn't dare assume my gender, so it's really a nonissue.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Why are they doing this? It's stupid.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Have (well the cynic in me) a 'slightly' different take on this: reckon this store's basically telling women that as their car parking skills are well below par, they should therefore 'park on level 3. thank you'. Sneaky hehe.

Are those car-parking spaces bigger/wider & more accessible than regular ones?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Dan LewisToday  09:48 am JST

In this age of stupidity, rights activists have outdone themselves. 

Where do you get the idea this story has anything to do with "rights activists"? There are no rights activists mentioned in the article and since we know nothing about the store's motivation for creating these priority lots, we have no reason to think it has anything to do with rights activists. I suspect a far more plausible explanation is that it is a poorly-thought through marketing stunt.

But I can see how if you don't like this move, and you also don't like "rights activists", how it might be tempting to just assume they're automatically related. Kind of like how I don't like North Korean nuclear weapons tests and I don't like the American football season, so naturally I just conclude that American football players are part of the radioactive fallout of a North Korean nuclear weapon test. Totally logical!

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

“What’s next? Preferred roads for female drivers?”

Lol, lotsa Sunday drivers

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The floor is even goddamn pink... seriously whichever oyaji dreamed this up is an idiot. STOP the stereotyping. Everyone is a PERSON before a gender.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Poorly thought out marketing stunt to lure more female shoppers to their department store, will it lead to a lose of their male shoppers especially older ones because they cant find a close car park so they shop else where.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I thought women wanted equal rights. I'm all for it but are they really getting "EQUAL" rights. Some day soon men will wake up and start protesting for "Equal" Rights. Women only train cars, Ladies Day at the Theater, Clubs, even Pachinko! Even at after work going out for drinks, women pay less than men. A women can punch a guy in the face and expect no hit back ......... because "a guy shouldn't hit a girl," Times are changing ladies. With 3 sisters, 2 daughters and many nieces, equal rights is a definite yes in my book but lets keep it EQUAL.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Why hasn't the reporter done their job properly and asked the store why they have done this?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Can I suggest that we have "lady only" lifts?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This is great news for predators. It's like shooting fish in a barrel. I know I wouldn't park there.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

In my nearby shopping mall, the H&M has "ladies' floor" and "gentlemen' and kid's floor" written on on direction boards and on doors. Normal, no ? I would have understood that was the same in this store. This parking floor is at the same level as the lady's clothing and apparel shops ? If not, I don't see the point.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

"...the H&M has "ladies' floor" and "gentlemen' and kid's floor" 

That's because those demographics wear distinct categories of clothes, and separating them out makes it easy for customers to find them. If automobiles were designed in sizes and other specifications that differed according to the gender and age of their drivers, you'd have a point.

"is this discrimination?"

Of course it is.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

This is getting a bit silly now, what about those people that are waiting a sex change, so now do we have a gender reassignment parking bay? Gay parking bay?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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