politics

Kumamoto assemblywoman causes stir by bringing 7-month-old son into chamber

133 Comments

The start of a Kumamoto City municipal assembly session was delayed by over 40 minutes on Wednesday after an assemblywoman brought her infant son into the chamber, causing a major stir among male politicians.

Kumamoto assemblywoman Yuka Ogata, 42, arrived at around 10 a.m. for the start of the session and took her seat, carrying her 7-month-old son in her arms, local media reported. After she sat down, male assembly members, including Chairman Yoshitomo Sawada, surrounded her and asked why she had brought her son with her. The discussion went on for several minutes.

According to the assembly regulations, visitors are not permitted to enter the chamber during a session. They have to either sit in the gallery or wait in another room. However, the rules do not say whether babies are visitors.

Sawada requested that the baby be removed from the chamber. Ogata, however, did not comply and was then asked to further discuss the matter in a separate room.

Ogata returned to the assembly chamber alone, after asking a friend to take care of her son and the session got under way 40 minutes late. Sawada began by apologizing for the delay, but an unidentified assemblyman was heard to say he was not the one who should be apologizing.

Following the session, Ogata said: "I want the assembly to be a place where women can actively participate."

This was Ogata’s first appearance at the assembly after giving birth to her child in April. After she learned about her pregnancy, she had requested the assembly secretariat to allow members to bring their children to sessions or open a daycare facility in the building in support of parents raising children. Her request, however, was not addressed.

Ogata is a graduate of George Mason University in the U.S. and worked for the United Nations in Yemen. She also has a four-year-old daughter.

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

133 Comments
Login to comment

Hm. I wonder who the real babies are here...

27 ( +35 / -8 )

Disgraceful. Bringing an infant into contact with politicians is unhygienic.

39 ( +46 / -7 )

She probably did get the child in there to create a stir (her request wasn’t addressed) However, the way the gents evidently handled it, her son wasn’t the only baby in there. Surrounding the lady in what I’m guessing an intimidating manner is poor show.

33 ( +38 / -5 )

Why? because they can't act like babies and get away with it if a REAL child is present? Because the kid might have better personal skills and intelligence, as well as common knowledge?

17 ( +22 / -5 )

I don't see what the problem is: The baby's wearing a diaper and half the men in the photo are probably wearing adult diapers. The baby babbles nonsense, and so do the old cronies in the assembly. The baby will nod off and fart during the session, and so will these old geezers. The baby's probably more qualified than the dinosaurs simply on account of youth and fresh blood. But seriously, what happen to "womenomics"?

27 ( +35 / -8 )

Not much of a welcome back to work for Ms Ogata. If the baby is being quiet, then I don't see a problem.

20 ( +24 / -4 )

Ah, the sweet, innocent kid. Too naive to know slipping them a backhander would have stopped all the complaints.

8 ( +13 / -5 )

If it had been me, the conversation would have gone like this:

"You must remove the child."

"No."

"But the rules say-"

"No."

"But..."

"I said no. Either start the session, or have me removed. But my child is staying with me, you ignorant, conceited, stuffed suited fool."

22 ( +28 / -6 )

It’s infuriating to see these men surrounding and forcing a woman with a baby to leave the room. She should have stayed!

21 ( +28 / -7 )

Abe's wishes to have more women active is a taking a punch.

open a daycare facility in the building in support of parents raising children. 

Her request, however, was not addressed.

Who would have thought...

16 ( +20 / -4 )

She's a brave woman. Good for her.

28 ( +33 / -5 )

No day-care facilities?  This is the realities of 'womenomics'.  Any wonder there is a gender employment gap? Or surprise at the scale of depopulation?

In all honesty what Mother in there right mind would want to be subjected to parochial intolerance of four grumpy old men?

9 ( +15 / -6 )

The story and the photo define Japan perfectly.

21 ( +29 / -8 )

Is she trying to get that innocent baby infected by/with political corruption by the baby being in there?

Why is the baby not allowed in there? The baby cannot sign in as a visitor. You just gotta love these backward and pointlessly outdated rules!

7 ( +12 / -5 )

and this is precisely why Japans future is doomed, majority of men in power here have no tolerance of women or children. This assembly women should use this example against these old fools in the next election, what these old fools fail to realize is voting women in Japan outnumber men!

15 ( +21 / -6 )

Ogata is a graduate of George Mason University in the U.S.

Which is more than likely the place she learned that if she wants to get her point across as a woman, she has to do it herself and not wait for some old-fart Japanese politician to do it for her!

Good for her, I wish she would have stayed!

19 ( +24 / -5 )

It’s infuriating to see these men surrounding and forcing a woman with a baby to leave the room.  exactly why does it take 4 big tough men to gang up on one women and her baby!? why is it that a man cant do the unpleasant jobs by themselves without their buddies holding their hands. Its even more pathetic that no other man came to her defense, bunch of pathetic mice

25 ( +29 / -4 )

And the standard of debate went up markedly when the infant started wailing........

9 ( +13 / -4 )

Good on her for shining a light on the disgraceful state of what “men” are in much of Japan.

I hope this makes the international news as its the only outlets that Japan Inc. cares about. Name and shame them all.

Also ineresting that she went to George Mason and received an actual education whereas the SOBs bullying her in the photo no doubt graduated from the 4 year kindergarten that are Japanese universities.

15 ( +20 / -5 )

I'm going to play the devil's advocate here.

If the baby is being quiet, then I don't see a problem.

One problem is that even if the baby is being quiet, the mother's attention is naturally going to be more on the child than on the proceedings. Indeed, the child deserves her attention. And at some point of course, the child is going to stop being quiet. I don't know how long one of these assembly sessions lasts, but I imagine it's much longer than the length of time a 7-month-old is able (or should be expected) to stay quiet. The people who voted Ms Ogata into the assembly presumably did so on the expectation that she would attend assembly meetings to serve their interests; she can't do that whole-heartedly if her mind is on her baby.

If you decide to make a baby, then your first obligation is to that baby. Most other working women do not have access to a daycare facility at their place of work, and have to make other arrangements. Mr. (coz it's half his problem, too) and Ms. Ogata couldn't make other arrangements?

Presumably they made the choice to have the baby; they have the obligation to either care for it themselves, or to arrange appropriate childcare while they earn a living. Like other people have to do. Neither the citizens that voted Ms Ogata into the assembly, nor the baby, deserve to have their interests attended to half-heartedly.

OK, downvoteme.

-1 ( +23 / -24 )

After she learned about her pregnancy, she had requested the assembly secretariat to allow members to bring their children to sessions or open a daycare facility in the building in support of parents raising children. Her request, however, was not addressed.

Poor form Japan, I hope more mothers do this!

13 ( +18 / -5 )

YUKA OGATA was fully justified in demanding opening of the day care facility to look after the children of the Assembly members .Her demand should have been conceded by the Assembly secretariat as small children need special motherly care in the early infant stage.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Neither the citizens that voted Ms Ogata into the assembly, nor the baby, deserve to have their interests attended to half-heartedly. and many of those citizens are most probably mothers also, if society cant be at least a little tolerant of mothers and their infants then Im sorry Japans future is looking increasing grim. You work to live, not live to work and family should always be a priority in you life. She probably did have arrangements for the baby but just wanted to prove a point at the intolerance of men in power in J society, and I must say she played these fools like a pro.

18 ( +21 / -3 )

Ogata is a graduate of George Mason University in the U.S. and worked for the United Nations in Yemen.

Ahh, that'll be where she learned such SJW confrontational tactics. Good on Japan for not rolling over to these emotionally manipulative lefty stunts.

-27 ( +7 / -34 )

Oh and Cleo, well said. Great points.

-20 ( +6 / -26 )

Sorry folks but the rules in most parliaments are extremely strict about who can and cannot be on the floor. Show me any other parliament in the world where the children of politicians are allowed to sit while it's in session. It's quite understandable that the rules are so strict considering this is theoretically supposed to be the most important and sacrosanct location in our democratic society. The rules say only elected representatives and staff. She actually asked for permission ahead of time and the house clerk double checked the rules. He told her the rules did not allow it but a few days later she deliberately broke the rules anyway.

Is Japan sexist and not accommodating enough for mothers? Yes, I think so. But is this the story that definitely proves that? No it's not. I have no problem with publicity stunts to gain attention for a worthy political cause, but do it on your own time and not in the people's assembly.

0 ( +12 / -12 )

I think I get her point but not all places are proper for such a young child. Babies can get fussy and start crying, etc. I am sure she can afford and can find proper daycare. Anyone not a part of the assembly is a visitor. Let the thumbs down rain down on me.

0 ( +9 / -9 )

Good on Japan for not rolling over to these emotionally manipulative lefty stunts. LOL you make it sound like the women on the right dont have children or stand up for women's rights!?

16 ( +21 / -5 )

Let the thumbs down rain down on me. done, your welcome

3 ( +10 / -7 )

but do it on your own time and not in the people's assembly. ok then Japan and the US should ban crowds marching and protesting outside the Diet/Capital Hill. we cant have those pesky chants annoying those assemblymen who were elected by the people in a democratic country.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

I have to say, for the first time in my life, Barbera Streisand's "send in the clowns" popped in my head.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Show me any other parliament in the world where the children of politicians are allowed to sit while it's in session. just this year https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/05/10/this-australian-politician-made-history-by-breastfeeding-in-parliament/

13 ( +18 / -5 )

ok then Japan and the US should ban crowds marching and protesting outside the Diet/Capital Hill

No, they shouldn't.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

Show me any other parliament in the world where the children of politicians are allowed to sit while it's in session.

Canada's Parliament allows MPs to bring babies with them. So does Australia's, Iceland's, the EU parliament, etc etc. Seems pretty uncontroversial in many other countries (though I think the US House and Senate do not allow it).

The rules say only elected representatives and staff.

The rules described in the article do not state that. According to the article the rule only stipulates that "visitors" are supposed to stay in the gallery when the assembly is in session, without specifying whether this includes babies. Most of the parliaments I listed above have similar rules, but interpret them as allowing mother's to bring their babies with them (so long as they do not disrupt proceedings), so I don't think her testing the waters on a vaguely worded rule was inappropriate in this instance.

>

11 ( +17 / -6 )

Hi Cleo, M3, Of course, this I assume was Yuka Ogata point.

And the reason why Yuka Ogata, after a forty minute delay, relented. Did it really need four cantankerous old crusties to form a posse? A quiet word in the 'shell like' is all that was needed.

9 ( +14 / -5 )

it's funny how easily people's emotions are manipulated. imagine if you had a meeting at work, and then some woman decides to bring her baby into the meeting. would you all be so happy when the kid cries or when the mother changes a dirty diaper in front of you? or if the mother decides to start breast feeding?  i'm sure many of you would have the same feelings as these "old dinosaurs" in the pic and not be so "understanding" of her day care issues.

-13 ( +7 / -20 )

Good on Japan for not rolling over to these emotionally manipulative lefty stunts.

A lefty stunt? Hardly. So an educated mother is asking for daycare with a little protest and you decide that she being minipulation? What, are you some kind of white wizard?

10 ( +16 / -6 )

Did it really need four cantankerous old crusties to form a posse? its called power harassment, one man of equal standing to quietly talk to her was all that was needed, shes not stupid and knew that the assemblymen weren't going to start while her baby was there. She proved her point and played them like a pro in so many ways.

8 ( +14 / -6 )

Seriously multi tasking has no limits I kid you not ...........Australian senator breastfeeds baby while moving a motion in parliament........

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/06/22/australian-senator-breastfeeds-baby-moving-motion-parliament/

8 ( +10 / -2 )

@wtfjapan

The Australian parliament now allows mothers to breastfeed while parliament is in session, but children are still not allowed to just sit in on the session if they are not being fed.

@itsonlyrocknroll

Did it really need four cantankerous old crusties to form a posse? A quiet word in the 'shell like' is all that was needed.

I agree, the photo certainly looks horrible. However, I watched the video of the incident and to be honest it didn't strike me as being hostile or intimidating at all. I think the photo above is one of those unfortunate snapshots in time which photo editors love to pick.

-1 ( +10 / -11 )

Ahh @wtfjapan kudos, your credit, you beat me to it........M3 point taken

8 ( +10 / -2 )

but children are still not allowed to just sit in on the session if they are not being fed. apples and oranges, point is children are allowed on the floor in numerous parliaments around the world, (yes with conditions, children cant disrupt sittings of course) its about being tolerant of mothers in modern democracies. Point is Mrs Ogata child could have been sleeping/breastfeeding and her son still wouldn't have been allowed in the Parliament, just the sight of the child was enough to upset people.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Point is Mrs Ogata child could have been sleeping/breastfeeding and her son still wouldn't have been allowed in the Parliament,

The point is Ms Ogata is being paid to do her job in the assembly. If her attention is being distracted elsewhere (as it should be if she has an infant with her) then she is not able to do her assembly job to the best of her ability. And if the baby cries/creates a stink etc., then other assembly members are being distracted from their job, and if she leaves the chamber to change a nappy or whatever, again, she is not doing the job she is being paid to do.

The child deserves to have his carer's full attention.

The voting public deserves to have their elected representatives concentrate on the business of the day.

-5 ( +12 / -17 )

would you all be so happy when the kid cries or when the mother changes a dirty diaper in front of you? no not at all, any responsible mother would take their child to a change room for feeding sleeping, if the same mother loses time for caring for her child then she can make up for it with overtime. If I was a boss I wouldn't object as long as the mother keeps up with her work then fine. If her child is a high maintenance one then a responsible mother would put them in daycare or care for them herself. It about giving the woman the option that best suits her while continuing to let them work if they wish. Children shouldn't be a disadvantage or hindrance in a womans life, actually the opposite.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

Canada's Parliament allows MPs to bring babies with them. So does Australia's, Iceland's, the EU parliament, etc etc. Seems pretty uncontroversial in many other countries

you've named a handful of liberal countries/gov'ts that allow women to bring a child into a gov't session. that is a fraction of the over 200 countries in the world. it is NOT commonly accepted practice in a super majority of countries. so spare me the "this is uncontroversial" line. it's controversial, plain and simple.

-2 ( +9 / -11 )

In the UK, I believe an MP has to request the speaker permission.

Having said that, with MP's recent behaviour, would any Mother or Father want to inflict the pandemonium associated with the house of commons on their newborn. Such mental trauma could cause nightmares or worse.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

An assembly hall is no place for a baby. Sometimes these meetings result in shouting and screaming matches. This will startle the baby. They did the right thing in asking this attention-seeker to leave.

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

She requested a daycare be added to the building and they ignored her. Maybe they'll listen now?

10 ( +13 / -3 )

if the same mother loses time for caring for her child then she can make up for it with overtime.

How does she do that in the assembly? The time she is out of the hall changing nappies is time she is not working. She cannot 'make up for it' once the session has finished.

If her child is a high maintenance one then a responsible mother would put them in daycare or care for them herself.

All infants are high-maintenance. Any infant that spends all its time quietly sitting doing nothing, not crying for attention, not getting into mischief, not wanting to talk/interact with others .... needs to see a paediatrician.

A responsible person does not attempt to do two jobs at once, to the detriment of both jobs.

-5 ( +6 / -11 )

She earns enough to hire a baby sitter when she is in the office. No need to make a circus at the municipal assembly and gather additional attention to prove nothing.

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

An assembly hall is no place for a baby. Sometimes these meetings result in shouting and screaming matches. This will startle the baby. They did the right thing in asking this attention-seeker to leave.

By these kinds of standards, I can think of countless places not suitable for a baby. A house with other young kids screaming and shouting could be startling. I'm know my baby sister started bawling when my brother and I had fight.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

you've named a handful of liberal countries/gov'ts that allow women to bring a child into a gov't session. that is a fraction of the over 200 countries in the world. it is NOT commonly accepted practice in a super majority of countries. so spare me the "this is uncontroversial" line. it's controversial, plain and simple.

The statement I was responding to said this is not allowed anywhere, so I offered those examples in rebuttal to that specific point and not for the purpose of saying that this is the case everywhere else, I acknowledged that the US (and presumably many other countries) doesn't allow it in my statement, so I'm not sure what your point is. Clearly it is controversial in many countries, including Japan.

My personal opinion, based on the merits rather than comparison with other countries, is that this should be allowed. All of the concerns I have seen raised with this in the comments here (distracting to both the mother and others, etc) seem easily resolvable so long as the rules are crafted accordingly (ie allowing them in but giving discretion to Speaker to request their removal if they become a distraction, etc). Given the need of Japan to increase both female workforce participation and the birth rate I think greater accommodation of the interests of mothers in situations like this (by no means limited to assembly members but rather in the workplace in general) is going to be imperative to the future of the country.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Ogata is a graduate of George Mason University in the U.S. and worked for the United Nations in Yemen. She also has a four-year-old daughter.

So she has been educated in SJW practices in America the fact she has a four year old daughter goes to show she is doing it for the dramatics - Work is not a place for kids

-6 ( +7 / -13 )

I know Mrs. Ogata personally. It’s sad that they gave her no choice in the matter.

She really had no other options. She’s an elected official and can’t just skip work. She also applied to numerous daycares within the municipality. They were all full and her son got put on a six month waiting list.

13 ( +19 / -6 )

Well done to her, this is a good start and hopefully we see more of it

9 ( +14 / -5 )

Japan, if you don’t want a population below 100 million in 50 years. Deal with it!!

This woman is only doing a great service for Japan, to combine work and child raising! All this to improve Japan’s negative birth rate!

Japan, it’s nothing wrong to be equally engaged in work and child raising at the same time. Look toward Iceland, where a woman actually bresttfed her child in the parliament!! Calm down Japan!

11 ( +16 / -5 )

 it is NOT commonly accepted practice in a super majority of countries. so spare me the "this is uncontroversial" line. it's controversial, plain and simple. they said that about gay marrage only 10~15yrs ago, its about bringing about change, it doesnt happen overnight but it will happen, a few more Ms Ogata in J politics and thing will change eventually.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

You don’t bring your baby to work and sit them on your lap. Nope, in no case. You can’t pay attention and it annoys and distracts others.

I’m sure she learned this method of confrontation at college in the USA. It’s right from the liberal playbook of “but muh rights” without considering the rights of others to not be inconvenienced by your actions.

The “friend” who watched her kid should have watched her kid from 40 mins earlier and this dramatic scene could have been avoided.

-10 ( +4 / -14 )

All infants are high-maintenance. Any infant that spends all its time quietly sitting doing nothing, not crying for attention, not getting into mischief, not wanting to talk/interact with others I certainly was when I was a baby, my younger sister completely the opposite played quietly hardly ever cried unless she wanted food, slept much of the time, according to my mother she was a breeze to bring up. Now 31yrs later she manages a company , runs a second company with her husband as the boss, and probably makes more than most posters here on JT. No drugs or pediatrician needed. Oh and shes a determined fighter for woman's rights.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

you can't do that lady

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

And in other news...

IMF blog urges Japan to make more use of women workers

Somebody needs to let the IMF know about this! LOL

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Why on Earth would you bring a seven months infant into an assembly room? This is not a matter of males vs females. It's a matter of common sense. You don't see teachers bringing their infants into the classroom, or judges into the court, right?

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

my younger sister completely the opposite played quietly hardly ever cried unless she wanted food, slept much of the time, according to my mother she was a breeze to bring up

Compared to you. :-)

Hardly ever cried is not the same as never cried: sleeping much of the time is not sleeping all of the time; and no doubt little sister did require feeding and cleaning at regular (or as is often the case, irregular, as in, the middle of the night) intervals? I'm sure your mother also spent time playing with her and talking to her, that's how kiddies learn their first language. Sounds like little sister was normal-level high-maintenance. You were the little monster! (only joking)

Both my kids were a breeze to bring up, but that doesn't mean they didn't take up my time and attention.

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

This is not a matter of males vs females. It's a matter of common sense. actually a matter of womens rights, she couldn't get into daycare and is on a 6 month waiting list, she requested a daycare be setup in the assembly building but was ignored, the end result being what happened on Wednesday. Her point has been shown and she played them all. Good on her for having the nads to do it, certainly got more than most of the assemblymen present that day.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Yes! Japan needs more women taking a stand like this. Japanese women would not be among the lowest ranked in terms of empowerment in the world if more stood up for themselves like this.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

It really is amazing that more than a few posters here don’t have the guile to see it’s a one off political stunt to show that politicians are dragging their heels on daycare waiting lists in Japan.

Do you honestly think she’s doing this on a daily basis ??

5 ( +7 / -2 )

The point is Ms Ogata is being paid to do her job in the assembly.

I would argue her job is to represent the people, and they elected her with all of her supposed faults, e.g., graduate of George Mason University, pregnant, now a woman without daycare.

It will be interesting to know what comes from this.

Probably nothing. The problem of non-conformity seems to be solved.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

it looks like she proved her point and now the assemble is addressing her issue of no childcare availability

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20171123/p2a/00m/0na/009000c

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Both my kids were a breeze to bring up, but that doesn't mean they didn't take up my time and attention.

so why wouldnt a woman in a similar situation not continue working if she wants, if the support systems are in place then a woman should be allowed to do the same job as a man. Whats not acceptable is discriminating against women because governments refuse or wont provide support for mothers, well not in a modern free democratic country anyways.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Another reason is that it never stops. First it’s a baby. Then it’s changing the baby. Feeding the baby with bottle. Breastfeeding. Then baby older brother. Then 3 kids.

Then it’s a pet, “my dog is quieter then your baby”. A small dog, a big dog.

Laugh if you want but that’s exactly what happened to America’s entitlement systems. Once something becomes a “right” you can never take it away and it only increases over time.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

I’m glad she did what she did. I also hope she continues to speak out about the horrific BS working moms face here at the hands of men - and obviously, some women.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

it looks like she proved her point and now the assemble is addressing her issue of no childcare availability

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20171123/p2a/00m/0na/009000c

If this was her goal, good for her. Mission accomplished. I was kind of torn on this story due to the excellent points made by cleo, because you can't allow everyone to care for their babies while they work after all...

But I guess sometimes it takes breaking even sensible rules to make a point and effect change.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

An assembly hall is no place for a baby. Sometimes these meetings result in shouting and screaming matches. This will startle the baby. They did the right thing in asking this attention-seeker to leave.

Ah, so those men trying to kick the mother out were not doing it because they are elderly sexist dinosaurs, but rather they are thinking of the baby's best interests, which they clearly know better than the mother, as, apparently, do you.

Funnily though, babies tend not to startle easily, and will sleep through WW3 if they feel like it.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Why on Earth would you bring a seven months infant into an assembly room? This is not a matter of males vs females. It's a matter of common sense. You don't see teachers bringing their infants into the classroom, or judges into the court, right?

On the whole you do not see people bringing babies into the workplace, but perhaps you should ask why not.

I believe that it is because the workplace is effectively a male0defined domain and women need to play by standards set by men many years ago.

If the workplace is just an extension of society, why shouldn't a mother bring her baby to work? I believe that mother's should bring babies to work.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Once something becomes a “right” you can never take it away and it only increases over time.

Wow, you mean we actually get more rights as time goes by? What a horrible, horrible phenomena. It was way better back in the old days when we had no rights and members of the landed gentry could do with us as they pleased.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

She knows the rules and should abide. An assembly is not the place to bring a baby,. Next time it will be kids, then relatives....

Then the elderlies we have to take car of.

She should pay a babysitter if she has absolutely to go to the assembly and can not find any other way, otherwise take a day off

she wanted to make a fuss

in my knowledge no countries accept babies in an assembly like that

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

Create baby/child care facility in the building. Photo looks like gang attacking her.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

zizou - yes, a baby is the straw that breaks the camel's back - take a baby it (at an age when it should not be separated from its mother), then eventually the whole world will want to come in, pets included. Or perhaps you are simply overreacting and making a silly argument to maintain the status quo.

You present the "elderlies" who will need to be cared for - but what you are doing is presenting a straw man argument - suggesting that someone has argued something that they have not.

An assembly is not the place to bring a baby,

According to who? You?

otherwise take a day off

Do babies only need taking care of once in a while? "May I take a day's leave on December 15? I think that my baby will need feeding that day - normally he can look after himself, but not day".

she wanted to make a fuss

She wanted to take up her seat in parliament while caring for her baby - the functions are not mutually exclusive.

in my knowledge no countries accept babies in an assembly like that

If you read the posts above, you will see that your knowledge is wrong. And where the rest of the world leads, Japan will eventually follow.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

America’s entitlement systems. Once something becomes a “right” you can never take it away and it only increases over time. yeah bit like gun ownership and self defense. why is it so bad when a woman demands equal opportunities and rights as her male counterparts!? funny how people labeled it "entitlement" when they dont agree with it, when they do its called a "right"

5 ( +5 / -0 )

@rainyday

I will definitely have to take your word for it when it comes to the rules of the Icelandic and Canadian parliaments. I obviously don't know enough about them, but I would be very curious to know whether children are explicitly allowed, if it's left ambiguous, or just tolerated in spite of rules saying the opposite. You're right about the EU parliament but that is a bit of a special case because they didn't agree to it themselves. However, the rules in Kumamoto were pretty unambiguous. From what I heard on the news, anyone without an official role at the assembly is deemed to be a visitor. Whether these rules are appropriate or should be changed is obviously debatable.

Personally, I don't have a problem with babies in the chamber, but I think it's reasonable to place restrictions on young children. Not because they might be disruptive, but because many of the topics being debated are often not child friendly (ie. terror, domestic violence, drugs, yakuza, prostitution etc). If I were an elected representative, I would be a bit uncomfortable to debate these issues vigorously with children around. I think this is the logic for requiring parental supervision in the Diet visitors gallery

Also, everything in the assembly is a matter of public record and televised live on TV. With that in mind, I think the assembly has some duty to protect children who might unwittingly be used as props in a political demonstration (which this appeared to be). They obviously aren't able to give informed consent to being thrust into the public eye like this. Having a ban on visitors but leaving it to the discretion of the speaker (as itsonlyrocknroll says is the position in the UK) sounds most reasonable to me.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

she wanted to make a fuss she wanted to prove a point of the limited support systems in place for mothers with infants, the assembly is now taking notice. She made a statement , point proven , just wish those assemblymen had the same nads that she has. She's got my vote! (if i could vote)

4 ( +4 / -0 )

She is intimidated. She is only. using bottle.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Well then set up childcare. That photo looks disturbing, as if a group of men are ganging up on a woman with a child, about to bully her into submission. Carry on, Japan, sink further down the gender equality rankings.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

In the UK, I believe an MP has to request the speaker permission.

An example of when the Speaker gave permission.

http://metro.co.uk/2017/02/02/there-was-a-baby-in-parliament-for-the-brexit-vote-last-night-6421969/

Why can't people see that Ms Ogata was just demonstrating how difficult it is for those with caring responsibilities (mostly, but not exclusively, women) to participate in the workforce. They stay at home to care and they get slated, they want to work and get slated, they are told to participate more yet get no help to do so. The way these men reacted just shows how many just don't care about the difficulties of others, it's sad that in this case those who don't give a fig are elected representatives.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I think it's a bit weird that Kumamoto does not give an elected official priority when allocating what childcare there is, but there you go.

I say it every time, but childcare for seven month old babies will cost over 200,000 yen a month to provide. There is no way the government can provide places for everyone at current taxation levels.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Im being totally serious do woman really want to add another “excuse” for people who don’t want to hire women anyway?

“She might bring her baby (or future baby) to work and we don’t want that so let’s hire a man.” Just giving discrimination more excuses as most people simply won’t support a baby being in the workplace.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

This was a brilliant move by her.

They played right into her hands.

Slow clap.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

A 42 year old woman having a child is something Japan needs to see a lot more.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

can a guy bring his kid or is this just women’s rights? For my “rights” I’m bringing my dog now. He doesn’t poop as much as your baby and won’t bark (much) so it’s cool. firstly its about infants, that need constant supervision, dogs can look after themselves until their owners get back, they wont die without supervision, a dog can feed itself. I suppose if a man is primary caregiver in the family then I dont see why not. People still dont get it its all about equality, because the man in most cases isnt the primary caregiver in the family he has the clear advantage in the workplace. supporting women with childcare brings woman closer to workplace equality. Woman in almost all jobs have proven to do the job as well as a man. Ms Ogata made a statement to show why women are disadvantaged in the workplace, if support isnt forthcoming then she should do it again.

The assembly is the best place to do this , their jobs are dependent on the support of the voting J public the majority of which are women. Im guessing they'll be taking notice and treading very carefully in a response to Ms Ogata. She did more with her statement on Wednesday than many realise

6 ( +6 / -0 )

firstly its about infants, that need constant supervision, dogs can look after themselves until their owners get back, they wont die without supervision, a dog can feed itself. I suppose if a man is primary caregiver in the family then I dont see why not. 

Quite right, but is it even really worth arguing with straw man arguments? The argument is very sensibly about babies, not dogs. Those who argue that giving an inch or making any change will automatically lead to a certain scenario are usually not intellectually very high up the scale. But we also read in comments that gay marriage will inevitably lead to polygamy and incestuous marriages becoming legal and other such nonsense.

Although I am sure that when women were first allowed to stand for elected positions someone probably argued at the time that it was a slippery slope to having infants in the chamber.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Picked up on the BBC:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-42105780

Japan is ranked 114 out of 144 in the World Economic Forum's 2017 Global Gender Gap report.

Also British readers will  be left confused in working out what a "plenary session" as this term in never used in the UK.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Manipulation trick...that's why women are not taken seriously. We mothers can not bring our babies to the office because we are being paid to do our job fully and not attending to our children and yes we earn peanuts compared to what you get. Stop the nonsense. You are hurting our cause than helping out.

-9 ( +0 / -9 )

She didn't disrupt meeting. These men did. These men should concentrate on issues.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

No don’t quit the fight. But don’t pulll SJW stunts like this that discrimination minded people can use to discount your cause and cut off what you are trying to do at the knees.

women in the USA who have adopted pets have asked for pet adoption paid leave as they say it’s unfair that others get paid leave when they adopt babies. People who don’t smoke have asked for 6 more days paid leave than those who don’t to cover the difference in work performed.

So don’t laugh at me the saying dogs will be at work soon after babies are.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

There are more council women than men in each city in Nevada.... Don't know other states but Japan is bossed by men.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

On the whole you do not see people bringing babies into the workplace, but perhaps you should ask why not.

If the workplace is just an extension of society, why shouldn't a mother bring her baby to work? I believe that mother's should bring babies to work.

Would you be ok if a school teacher, with 1 hour class, spend 30 minutes trying to calm down her son instead of teaching? Do you think a surgeon should be allowed to take her kid to work? What about a train driver? And another 1000 examples.

I think it would be just total chaos.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Ogata isn’t attempting to bring about positive change. No, she is playing the part of the victim for political effect. So I congratulate her on her tactics and for playing to her base.

I am going to assume that someone in her position most likely has the resources to pay for her children’s care while she at work. Is she going to force this child to remain in place, still, and quiet for hours and hours? That isn’t in the child’s interests. Is she going to change diapers in the workplace creating unsanitary conditions for everyone she works with. That isn’t in her coworkers interests.

So once she forces this “progressive” change cannot an assembly member reasonably demand they be allowed to bring their depedent elderly parents or in-laws with them into the workplace also? They need caring for also.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

WolfpackNov. 24  11:49 pm JST

So once she forces this “progressive” change cannot an assembly member reasonably demand they be allowed to bring their depedent elderly parents or in-laws with them into the workplace also? They need caring for also.

Why would they? That's the kind of thing the old boys keep their wives at home for while they go out and do "the man's work."

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Canada's Parliament allows MPs to bring babies with them. So does Australia's, Iceland's, the EU parliament, etc etc.

They shouldn't. It's work, they have to be focused on work. Of course unforeseen events can happen, and rules can be flexible, but shouldn't make a habit of it. This just confirm how these politicians live on a different planet compare to regular people.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

women in the USA who have adopted pets have asked for pet adoption paid leave as they say it’s unfair that others get paid leave when they adopt babies. will those pets be future tax payers, 40~50yrs, will those pets be a citizen of said country and have the right to vote for their leaders, will those pet contribute to society and economy as a doctor engineer, scientist etc etc. the costs of childcare / paid leave for children today will be recoup in the future taxes those children pay as adults. Comparing children and pets is laughable and has no logical debate

3 ( +3 / -0 )

which is exactly what I’m saying. It’s laughable and has no logical debate. But once you allow kids in the workplace what is to prevent someone from wanting to bring their dog next? Once you open the door you don’t know what people gonna try to bring in. Every excuse as to how a baby isn’t a distraction in the office (they are!) could also be used for a pet.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Although I tend to side with Cleo's view above, one ugly aspect of the photo is the number of men to the number of women. I wonder how it would have worked out if there were a more even balance. Would the issue have been handled differently? I suspect so.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Central Gov't need to consider adding more baby care facilities all over ion Japanese cities. She just was feeding her babe from bottle.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

 It’s laughable and has no logical debate, yes correct children are a countries future, dog arent, why would any sane person accept dogs into an equation which has very little to do with a countries future well-being!?

your logic states we shouldnt let children into a persons working life as they may want to include dogs as well. WTF!?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Every excuse as to how a baby isn’t a distraction in the office (they are!) could also be used for a pet. they already allow dogs by law into public buildings theyre called "guide dogs". ask any sane family which they value the most and if they had to choose they're children or their pets, dont really need an answer do you!? A dog is for about 15yrs, a child is for life!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

your logic states we shouldnt let children into a persons working life as they may want to include dogs as well. WTF!?

Seems to me that Blacklabel is simply saying that once you begin making exceptions to a rule, the rule will eventually break down. Prohibiting further exceptions becomes more difficult to logically enforce as it is subjective. Arguing that children are the future is a fine emotional argument to make but emotional arguments can be made for any exception - including ones beloved pet dog.

Simon Foston: Why would they? That's the kind of thing the old boys keep their wives at home for while they go out and do "the man's work."

What do you mean - that men should not be able to become law-makers? Do you think women that are married to legislators should be denied the choice to stay at home and raise their children?

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

The "men" in this country....sheesh!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

You know good and well I’m not talking about guide dogs. But even that has turned into emotional support dogs and now a guy brings an emotional support squirrel.

good luck with a lady with a baby sitting on your left and another on your right with “my baby” in one of those little dog purses.

That’s the thing about new entitlements, Everyone wants one. So when people who have babies get to bring them people without babies will want have a new entitlement too too so they don’t feel left out.

Thats how paid leave for baby adoption led to a call for paid leave for pet adoption. Smokers allowed to smoke during work led to calls for more time out off of office to compensate non smokers, etc

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Arguing that children are the future is a fine emotional argument to make but emotional arguments can be made for any exception - including ones beloved pet dog. but they are the future, without them a country has no future, very simple to understand, dogs will never contribute to society as taxpaying , voting , economy building citizen every will . I mean HTF can anybody compare the two is beyond belief, whats next dogs having the right to vote , get citizenship and run for public office. LOL

2 ( +2 / -0 )

which is exactly what I’m saying. It’s laughable and has no logical debate. But once you allow kids in the workplace what is to prevent someone from wanting to bring their dog next? Once you open the door you don’t know what people gonna try to bring in. 

Slippery slope arguments, while emotionally attractive to social conservatives, rarely have any basis in reality.

A few months ago an Australian politician breastfed in parliament. Please let me know when this leads to another politician bringing a menagerie to work.

I saw a politician in the UK's parliament blow his nose. This has not led to demands to do all types of bodily excretion in the chamber itself although you might see a blowing of your nose as a slippery slope to politicians dropping their pants in the chamber.

And if they are allowed to blow their noses, why not masturbation too? It is just another bodily function after ask

The selective inability to take a more nuanced position blocks reasonable changes on the grounds that it would lead to some alternative and frankly ludicrous scenario. If you want to block breastfeeding infants block them for valid reasons, not for absurd reasons about animals and the elderly.

If the latter (animals) is what you object to, object to it when someone proposes it, not when something else (babies) has been proposed. But of course it is not animals in parliament that scares you, it is babies that scare you, so instead you come up with absurd arguments about animals.

Just as some object to gay marriage with the argument that it could lead to marriage with animals in the future.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Sorry but you just don't bring your kids to the office.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Sorry but you just don't bring your kids to the office.

Well she did, so there.

We are 112 posts in to this now and this does not add anything to the debate. You haven't even explained why.

Anyway, it's not an office, it is the diet. And the baby was not causing anyone any problems.

As a politician she is there to represent her voters. How can she if she is thrown out of the chamber for daring to look after her baby?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Great photo: a bunch of blokes in suits surrounding ...

Not the baby's fault either.

You'd think it was an old golf club or something.

A few months ago an Australian politician breastfed in parliament.

Yeah but they got rid of her by finding she was Canadian (Larissa Waters - look it up!)

There are other ways to make a point, and the point is that assemblies and parliaments are workplaces too. If people want to have this kind of equal rights and so on as an affirmative change from the past, sort this kind of thing out because the rest of us need and expetc government and good government please.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

How are you supposed to do your job if there's a crying baby in the room? How is she supposed to do her job if she's taking care of a baby? It's not a matter of sexism. It's common sense, which apparently a lot of us don't have anymore. There's a pretty easy solution. Don't bring the baby. She had the baby, so she has to think of how to deal with that. She sounds like a baby herself.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

There's a pretty easy solution. Don't bring the baby. She had the baby, so she has to think of how to deal with that. She sounds like a baby herself. people still dont get it, she couldnt get daycare and is on a 6 month waiting list, she requested the assembly provide onsite daycare service, they ignored her, so she made a stand to prove a point that is happening all over Japan. Mothers that want to work but dont have enough support in place to allow them to do it. Nobody is suggesting that all mother bring their infants everyday into the office turning it into a kindergarten, but to at least have the option to do it should they not find childcare. She made a stand , point proven and now the assembly said they're going to address her concerns. It amazing what a bit of free speech , right to protest , goes a long way in forcing change. Anybody that thinks a women shouldn't have equal rights and equal opportunities as men need to leave their democratic country and move to Afghanistan.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Yeah but they got rid of her by finding she was Canadian (Larissa Waters - look it up!) correction she had to resign because like Japan,Australia doesn't allow dual citizenship for politicians, she wasnt kicked out because she was breastfeeding. Existing and future woman parliamentarians are still allowed to breastfeed in Australia's parliament this right hasn't changed.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

you do not see people bringing babies into the workplace, but perhaps you should ask why not.

I would have thought it was pretty obvious why not. If your time is taken up looking after a baby, you are not free to do your job. If you concentrate on your job, you are neglecting the baby. No one can do two jobs at once, not properly anyways.

she couldnt get daycare and is on a 6 month waiting list, she requested the assembly provide onsite daycare service

According to the Kumamoto City website the assembly meets for a total of around 50 days a year, including all the specialist committee meetings that not all the assembly members attend, and extra days. This is probably why Ms Ogata is not a priority case for daycare; the places will go to parents who need childcare on a regular basis. By the same token, it is hardly reasonable to expect the assembly to provide a daycare service for just 50 days scattered through the year.

Anybody that thinks a women shouldn't have equal rights and equal opportunities as men need to leave their democratic country and move to Afghanistan.

I must have missed the announcement that said men are free to bring their babies into work but women are not.

If women want to demand equal rights and opportunities, they (we) need to accept equal responsibilities and obligations. That includes keeping work life and private life separate.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Good on Japan for not rolling over to these emotionally manipulative lefty stunts. LOL you make it sound like the women on the right dont have children or stand up for women's rights!?

Of course they have children. They are against a woman's right to choose to end a pregnancy.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I would liked to have seen several Japanese male policians bring their children into the Diet for a changed rather than reinforcing the stereotype that child rearing is solely women's work.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

According to the Kumamoto City website the assembly meets for a total of around 50 days a year, including all the specialist committee meetings that not all the assembly members attend, and extra days. This is probably why Ms Ogata is not a priority case for daycare;

You're not suggesting elected local officials do nothing the other 315 days are you? In addition to whatever committee work councillors have in Kumamoto, they will have to attend all manner of local events and meetings. In my town, they are at every school/hoikuen/youchien entrance ceremony, sports day, and graduation ceremony, sitting there showing their faces and doing nothing. From what I see on Facebook, they also attend lots of things that lie somewhere on an axis that lies from sincere to virtue signalling. With the recent earthquake in Kumamoto, I would expect the workload of councillors there to be very high. This is much higher priority than some mother who puts her kid into childcare so she can work the till at Aeon.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ah_so; can't believe an explanation is actually necessary. The only time I brought my kids to the office was on Parents Bring Your Kids to the Office Day. It is a place of WORK and a child can not be properly watched and tended to while you are doing your job. Seriously, what is this world coming to?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

It is a place of WORK and a child can not be properly watched and tended to while you are doing your job.

OK, you have provided your reasoning.

But looking at the photo, she does seem to be caring for the child and doing her job. The only thing stopping her doing her job is a gang of oyaji.

150 years ago a Japanese woman would have strapped the baby to her back and carried on "doing her job" in the field or whatever. The two were not mutually exclusive functions.

Yes, there are many work places where it would not be appropriate to have children, but a breastfeeding infant is fine.

I wonder if men had historically taken on the role of childcare whether the modern workplace would be very different and more child friendly.

I know of an investment bank that actually has a creche on the premises to make life easier for employees. That sounds like a forward-thinking way - the children can come to work but are not actually in the way.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

You're not suggesting elected local officials do nothing the other 315 days are you? 

No, of course not. Simply pointing out that on paper (what the people who decide who has priority when it comes to daycare slots look at), she probably does not rank as high in terms of working hours as that lady on the till in Aeon working a full day six days a week on minimum pay.

As for the ceremonial aspect of the job - school/hoikuen/youchien entrance ceremony, sports day, and graduation ceremony - as you say, the job involves simply sitting there showing their faces and doing nothing. No reason Junior can't sit on her lap while she's doing that.

The assembly meeting, though - that is the place where important things (budget, taxes, public services including day care etc.) get discussed and decided on, and one would hope the assembly members would be concentrating on the job in hand, not worrying about whether Junior needs feeding/changing/burping/entertaining/bouncing on the knee.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Ah_so;

But looking at the photo, she does seem to be caring for the child and doing her job. The only thing stopping her doing her job is a gang of oyaji.

The photo is a split second in time.

150 years ago. Japanese woman would have strapped the baby to her back and carried on "doing her job" in the field or whatever. The two were not mutually exclusive functions.

This is NOT 150 years ago. 0 (zero) logic.

Yes, there are many work places where it would not be appropriate to have children, but a breastfeeding infant is fine.

I wonder if men had historically taken on the role of childcare whether the modern workplace would be very different and more child friendly.

And your point is?

I know of an investment bank that actually has a creche on the premises to make life easier for employees. That sounds like a forward-thinking way - the children can come to work but are not actually in the way.

Good for the "1" company

I don't believe this is about politics, women's rights, being sexist, or what ever you may call it in today's long list of 'I want it done my way' terminology. It's about following company rules. If she is looking for my sympathies and support, I'm sorry but I can't give it. Male or female, politician or regular salary worker, what ever, my answer is the same.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

 looking at the photo, she does seem to be caring for the child and doing her job.

If it's possible to look after an infant and take part in a committee meeting at the time, they could solve the current nation-wide childcare shortage by sitting a child on the lap of every committee member/board member/executive/politician in the country.

Two birdies with one stone.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I don't believe this is about politics, women's rights, being sexist, or what ever you may call it in today's long list of 'I want it done my way' terminology. It's about following company rules. actually its a bit of everything, she made a political statement in the assembly since childcare is a political hot topic nowdays with the government stating they'll support working women with children, which she didnt have access too and was ignored prior to her stand. Its also about women rights, the right to be treated equally to men and have equal opportunities in the workplace (very difficult to achieve without access to childcare). Being sexist, is debatable since it took 4 men to stand over/pressure her to take her child away, the speaker of the assembly should have done it on his own. Company rules, well if any company doesnt treat women with respect and as an equal to their male workers then they should be named and shamed, just as companies that overwork their staff have been.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Wonder if Ms Ogata has done the same with her 4 years old daughter before when she was in foreign land ? Frankly, working mothers have been loud at the expense of the "other" working ladies - coverage, taking basic leaves which is considered "meiwaku" ! Is JP assembly obliged to swallow this down too simply because she could do a proper planning arrangement - sexism aside ? A quiet 7 months' old baby ? Is the assembly only on for a few minutes ? lol

1 ( +1 / -0 )

wtfjapan; if a guy did the same thing, the same would have happened. Has nothing to do with the person being a women.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

How naive can you people be? Equal rights??? I am all for equal rights but you can't pick and choose when and when not to be equal. Dress code is not equal between men and women. Why can women go home early to take care of the kids but men can not? Why is there a women's only train to "protect" women from perverts but no Men's only trains to protect men from scammers? Equal rights means EQUAL rights. Let's see some BOTH ways.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I don't think she became pregnant to create issue. Kumamoto had previous names Hazen, Hugo. Hi include meaning of having plenty babies. They have more baby birth than Yamaguchi-Prefecture where many families had to adopt babies.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Whats your favourate football club, toshi, for myself Dortmund is fine.

stating that you cramble aong your infra eleted roads in a car not futireizde

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites