Diet rocked by dispute over justice minister's red scarf


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Maybe New clothing rules will be needed. No gender discrimination. All Diet members will be required to use bra, skirt, blouse, , high heels. That will satisfy opposition party members. Anything women do, they get criticized in Japan.

9 ( +14 / -5 )

To anyone witness to a Japanese organization's punctiliousness about appearance with accompanying massive inefficiency and lack of organization this is no surprise

16 ( +19 / -3 )

Wow, the country is falling apart and the diet members spend all that time debating accessories. What a wonderful world.

21 ( +25 / -4 )

Bunch of incompetent, feckless and selfish people. They show they do not deserve the trust of the people. A very sad display of a lack of ability and seriousness.

19 ( +21 / -2 )

Matsushima, a feisty former journalist known for her outspoken traditionalist views,

"Traditionalist." Who breaks the rules....

8 ( +8 / -0 )

She had erunaki. Not scarf like we see in Moslem ladies/ Scarf go pn neck? Just harrassing her instead of discussing important agendas. Even opposition party members hate women politicians.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Exactly how is a piece of clothing accessory can cause such a debate and divert from the real issues at hand is beyond me.

11 ( +13 / -2 )


10 ( +12 / -2 )

Love the govt! Any excuse to go home early!

...Red scarf? A scarf? I cant work like this! I refuse! Lets go home and decide what to do about this scarf, then come back and vote on the scarf, and then if we have time, decide what to do about nuclear power, North Korea, etc etc etc

8 ( +9 / -1 )


A red scarf IS the real issue. You just don't get it.


5 ( +5 / -0 )

If the rules say she can't wear a scarf, then she should lose the scarf until the rule can be changed. The job is not about fashion. It's about rules, laws, and justice, and she is setting a poor example if she is is unaware of the rule, unwilling to observe the proper procedure to change it, or that focused on superficial nonsense that she is willing to waste time in order to make a fashion statement.

5 ( +9 / -5 )

A rule is a rule. She admits it's just an adornment, then she should've taken it off right away without arguing.

2 ( +9 / -8 )

The woman must have changed the parliament rule at first. Furthermore, she is a lawmaker. Why wasn't she able to do it?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

For once I agree with tinawatanabe. If she doesn't like the rule, then she should put forward a motion to have the rule changed. Coming in blatantly flaunting her breaking of the rules is not the proper way to deal with the situation. She should have just taken off the scarf and brought the issue up in an appropriate manner.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Can't they tell the difference between a fashion accessory and a scarf that keeps you warm?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I think the colo(u)r compounds the problem. Some years ago I was warned not to wear red clothing or red ties to faculty meetings. (I did on occasion, anyway.)

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The words 'storm', 'teacup', 'waste' and 'time' come to mind.

16 ( +18 / -2 )

She can put a rope around someones neck but can't put a piece of cloth around her own?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

A ruckus over the alleged sartorial miss-step even helped prevent the house from sitting for 20 minutes on Thursday morning, while committee members debated the definition of “scarf”.

Please, say it isn't so! Talk about navel gazing. The debt is at 250% of GDP, the economy is at a stand still, the population is aging, and no one wants to have children -- and they are wasting time debating what constitutes a scarf. MacArthur's quote about 12 year-olds comes to mind.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

when rulebook overtakes common sense.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Having spent countless hours in Japanese meetings, this dress code brouhaha in Japan's upper house doesn't surprise me one bit. Par for the course.

It is endemic of the obsessive focus on trivial matters and petty tyranny that regularly takes place at meetings of companies and institutions across Japan — all as weighty issues take a back seat. Severe case of can't see the forest for the trees.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

I can't stand it.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The woman seated next to Matsushima in the photo above appears to be wearing a blue scarf. Apparently that fashion accessory didn't raise concerns.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Japan' s upper house of Diet often called " a chamber of wisdom " - LOL...thats the real joke of the day.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Well at least this time it was only a red scarf - last time she was in the news it was for being photographed with Japanese neo-Nazis.

The fact that she is de-escalating the level of outrage caused by her scandals is I guess a good sign.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Viewer ratings rocket on word of tropical fish at reef shown.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

It's an attack on personal liberties. How about a code of conduct for the Japanese Parliamentarians.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This traditionalist is part of the nationalistic movement that is causing problems in Japan with its neighbors. It is one thing to wear the color red as part of dressware but to a high official gov meeting, she only did it to prove that she is a nationalist and nothing to do with being part of women's wear. She wanted others to see her position as a hard core Japanese pure and simple much like the Japan of old and slowly creeping back.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

@SensatoOCT. 04, 2014 - 09:42AM JST The woman seated next to Matsushima in the photo above appears to be wearing a blue scarf.


You are right !

Come to think Red signifies old communism.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Have these tired old men got more important things to worry about. Honestly they should just fire everyone over 60 and set a reserved number of seats for women for the next twenty years till this virulent conservative cancer has been removed from Japanese politics.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

"Japan' s upper house of Diet often called " a chamber of wisdom " - LOL...thats the real joke of the day."

Well said. It is common knowledge that the Upper House is bereft of knoweldge; it is a freakshow being a collection of former pro wrestlers, actors, "talents" and strange single-issue people. It is a complete and total waste of time, energy and money. One of the reasons Toru Hashimoto became so popular was his promise to eradicate it if he was elected. I would call it a circus but that would be an insult to clowns and bearded ladies who actually do some real work.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Bwahahaha! Yeah, equality? Who gives a poop what she wears? One would think these stoned-headed old jijis would have better things to do than complain about someone wearing a red scarf. This is as maddening as it is ridiculous! Japan's obsession with dress codes is utterly ridiculous. People should be judged on what they do and not on what they wear.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Small things occupy small minds.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Women want equality, but when it comes to clothes, they want special exemptions. Men are expected to dress in work attire, while women can dress in everyday clothes.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

The rule must exist to prevent Diet members from strangling each other over exactly such pettiness.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The rule is rule. She must follow the dress code until it was amended.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

This no scarf policy obviously reflects the Orwellian seikatsu shido practices of Japanese schools (euphemistically referred to as "life guidance," 生活指導). On element of seikatsu shido involves frequent and obsessive uniform/hair color/skirt length/appearance checks performed by teachers, with one of the somewhat more common infractions being the wearing of a scarf or other unsanctioned item of apparel.

This seikatsu shido mentality starts early in life in the classroom, and extends on into the Japanese workplace.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

And this worked perfectly as the LDP hoped it would. The Saturday morning politics shows were nothing but the LDP crying how she was subjected to discrimination by the opposition parties. Saturday Wide on CBC allows audience members to comment and all the oldies agreed that she was a victim of callous male DPJ, CPJ, and SPJ meanies.

The focus is on a scarf and not the real issues. Just like for two weeks it has been about Japanese athletes being ridiculed and treated poorly in South Korea during the Asian Games. The government is deflecting and so far it is working.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

She is a self centered arrogant person with more interest in her looks and wining her point than in the Japan and its interests. Politicians own right is second to the obligation to adhere to the duties in a right way.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

I don´t know why they have this silly scarf rule, but if she wants to wear a scarf, she should first work to have that change. Government officials should not simply assume that they can ignore rules if they feel like.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

perhaps it is time to question the validity of the rule - only decades old though- wonder why it was put in place

3 ( +3 / -0 )

If people are going to insist on outdated rules and what not then let them do so, but for the love of god let them do so ON THEIR OWN WATCH! It's absolutely unbelievable that with things completely falling apart in Japan and with so many problems they have to have an extra session that the issue on the table, and that causes the house to empty because they are so upset, is A SCARF! You know what else is tradition in terms of attire in this old, old institution (and by old I mean outdated)? bras and panties, not to mention the body parts they cover and protect.

toshiko: "She had erunaki. Not scarf like we see in Moslem ladies/"

At least the 'scarf' that Muslim ladies where has deep and significant meaning, and it is an insult to ask them to take it off -- the scarf this woman was wearing has no meaning beyond personal apparel choice. I'm not saying either is good or bad and I don't think a scarf is a big deal in the slightest, but if you want to point out significance and meaning of certain types of clothing, the scarves Muslim women wear are much more important to who they are and are not just decoration.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Well, if we consider some of the more violent "debates" on the lawmaking floor that we've seen, a scarf could lead to a strangling because someone doesn't agree with them. But then again the men do wear ties (clip ons?) and nobody has been choked with that yet.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Well next session lets make it red scarf day. Just to emphasize how stupid it was to waste time on it.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I'm shocked that she wore that! It totally clashes with the rest of her outfit. Tasteless.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Why is red especially bad for scarves?

Because Young Pioneers (Communist countries' Boy/Girl Scouts) wear them?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

If Inoki isn't allowed to wear his scarf, some nobody politician should definitely not be allowed.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

From now on, let the Chamber of Wisdom always be printed with the word "wisdom" in quotation marks^^.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )


" At least the 'scarf' that Muslim ladies where has deep and significant meaning, and it is an insult to ask them to take it off "

How do you know? Maybe it has a deep and significant meaning to her. That does not matter. She should ask to change the rules.

By the way as a side note, Turkey bans headscarfs in public institutions.... I guess that 99% muslim country insists on insulting its ladies, according to your theory.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

No big deal! Concentrate on the deliberation! Usob diet!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sigh. While she should follow the rules, I think anyone with real issues to solve would have noticed under normal circumstances. She must of been trying to prove something else.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Interesting - some of the younger Japanese teachers at my school got told off for coming into the teachers room wearing scarves and gloves last winter - it is 'rude' apparently.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The scarf must had some meaning everyone was aware if, I'm guessing nationalist as some have hinted. Perhaps in their minds it was equivalent to wearing a sandwich board saying "Japan is #1!" which is not appropriate so she was asked to remove it, she responds along the lines of, "it is my personal and inherently female garb, you are attacking my femaleness and all women by asking me to take it off" and though to everyone it has a meaning beyond personal adornment, the only thing the others can come back with is the dress code, which of course makes them look petty and her look righteous. I'm sure there's more to the incident though and the color of the scarf, or the particular occasion she had it on, had some political meaning.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

this is so kudaranai (Y_Y)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Most countries including Japan and even the USA has rules and regulations which may appear to be useless or even meaningless. However, in a legislative situation, as with what is happening in the USA with the President ignoring the US Constitution and the Congress that actually creates laws, having proper respect and following protocol often makes sense. Until such time rules and regulations are changed, one should (in a position of power and authority as in this case) representing the authority granted by the people, abide by them. Ignorance is no excuse for those with power and authority, as with any laws he/she is to protect and enforce.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

She could wear her erimaki under her suit jacket to warm up. Maybe she wanted clothing rules on Diet to be in topics? Maybe she wants all Diet members wear a skirt? She succeeded on getting on news. Japanese wore scarf on heads like moslem women or wrap on necks like cold place in USA. SmithInJapan Note I wrote "like" Not "same as" You are good in creating not written words but don;t try on me. I am not going to skip to read your comment from now on.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Putting rules and regulations aside, this incident also seem to show her need for attention and possibly a show of power to her constituents that she exists and deserves some kind of respect. That kind of attention getting is something a celebrity keeps on doing to keep themselves in the limelight, giving them the self confidence that they lack.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )


" the 'scarf' that Muslim ladies where has deep and significant meaning, and it is an insult to ask them to take it off "

How do you know? Maybe it has a deep and significant meaning to her. Maybe she thinks that it is insult to her to ask to take it off.

But that does not matter. A rule with the disclaimer that you don´t have to obey if something has "deep and significant meaning" to you is not much of a rule.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Where was the Speaker of the Upper House in all this? It's his job to enforce the rules. He should have simply told her to remove it and the matter would have been over with in five minutes.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

She always has been wearing Red suits only, naybe all her red suits were in dry cleaners? Her nick name is passionate red. Ask anybody who attended in any meeting that she presided in past. Red suit only.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

toshiko I read about that can you tell me which blog you are getting those comment , I usually surf ch2 and sankei . .. can you bring me a link to read about that if you don't mind


0 ( +0 / -0 )


Where was the Speaker of the Upper House in all this? It's his job to enforce the rules. He should have simply told her to remove it and the matter would have been over with in five minutes.


Women members have been wearing scarfs like a lady right side of her. So, LDP ignored? Notice opposition Party opposed.

@mikejames: I catch gossips and rumors by children politicians of my old time classmates. More details than gossip news. However, I read Gendai and Shincho monthly magazines. Maybe you read Shinxcho and Gendai to get more info if you want to learn gossips in Japanese politicians life and politics.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"The committee could not reach a conclusion and agreed to continue discussions," he said, adding the next executive committee meeting was set for Tuesday.

And there you have it. Good thing there isn't anything more pressing to discuss.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yep, pretty much red. Google images shows a couple of pink suit photos, the beige with red scarf currently under issue, and one nice satin red number. Otherwise red.

http://tinyurl.com/l6u5os8 : Google images "Midori Matsushima"

0 ( +0 / -0 )

She could claim it's a necktie that isn't done up. But instead of this trivia, why don't the opposition criticise her for her policies, rather than her dress?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

my guess is still she did not have her favorite coler red suits to wear that she wore white cuit and wore her favorite color red on to p. Being from Tokyo U graduate, She does have fashion sense. . She may buy more red suite now Maybe she does not know there are wash and wear suits and new kind of washer and dryer that she does not have to use dry cleaner business, Hope someone in Diet teach her how to wear suits and erimakis.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As long as she's not in her sleep, house or swim wear isn't that ok? Maybe somebody else is dying to wear a scarf like hers. Otherwise, muda na koto na!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Regardless of our opinions, the Diet needs to make sure all members are properly informed of ALL the rules and regulations prior to any person attending and enforce as necessary. Should it prove a problem with enforcement or a problem with the rules and regulations themselves, they must resolve it without making unnecessary public comments that detracts from the true nature of their wordk and responsibilities.

In the course of running a government, such undue attention to protocol and making it such an issue only degrades the level of the members of the Diet. They wasted enough time discussing such a trivial matter when compared to national and international issues at hand.

(Or... they had some important and secretive issue to discuss and needed a "cover" such as this to distract the media and the public.)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

there are more comments on this story than any other on this website. Who is obsessed with trivial matters?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Can't believe people are getting so heated over a scarf... nuts. I suppose if I wore a kilt in Japan the local plod would arrest me for some bizarre fashion crime. Crazy.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think Japan should change from calling :Diet" to something else. I tried to get info on the regulation but any try, I get Sushi and food or instruction to learn Custom and Cooking.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I tried to get info on the regulation but any try, I get Sushi ...


The Rules of the House of Councillors

Chapter XVI. Discipline and Police

Article 209. No one shall enter the Chamber or Committee meeting rooms with a hat, overcoat, scarf, umbrella, stick and the like on or with him. However, anyone attending officially, whether a Member or non-Member, may carry a stick to assist walking if he or she has notified the President of the House. Anyone else may do the same after receiving permission from the President.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Probably just a football fan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@ruebo: Thank you, )n Japan, House of Councilors is more important than Sangi-in Gi-in members so the rule applies to both members, Thank you,

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You're welcome :). I went to the House of Councillors' English site because news articles said she was in Upper House. So maybe I found it by accident.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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