Take our user survey and make your voice heard.

Baby in assembly raises controversy in Japan


The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.


©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

In reference to the first paragraph, why just women? What happen to equality in the workplace? I'm all for equal rights. Parenting is the responsibility of both mother and father.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

If the assembly can't accomodate the needs of its own female assembly members, how can they even be considered capable of handling the same issue women throughout Japanese society are struggling with?

7 ( +9 / -2 )

They should provide daycare facilities as standard.

Having young children in a meeting will no doubt disrupt the proceedings. But mothers (and fathers) of young children should also be catered for by providing adequate facilities.

Seems like a simple problem to solve.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Of course women should have the 'right' to bring babies into such sessions, but the problem (and reality) is whether the mother can truly concentrate on what she's getting paid to do (with our tax money) with a baby on her lap.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

Women have to concentrate; women can’t concentrate with a baby in tow....

These arguments ring a bit hollow when you see men “concentrating” in the National Diet with their heads on their chests, drool running down their mouths, and jerking awake only to nod off again.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Wasn't she just making a point by bringing a baby? I doubt she wanted to bring a baby every day, nor does anyone else. Japan needs more daycare centers STAT. Or at least more support for new parents.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

so we want more children, but you can't have them?

7 ( +9 / -2 )

So we want more children, but you can't have them? Excellent. She was making a point and has done so. Well done. The picture says it all, bullying 101.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Ogata's action has visualized the challenge facing politicians who are mothers.

Why just focus on politicians? This "challenge" effects every woman in Japan.

Goodlucktoyou - so we want more children, but you can't have them?

Why do you think nearly half of all Japanese women in their 30's remain unmarried? It's not because of their career choice. It is because of a lack of men that are worthy of marrying. I speak to a lot of women in this age group through my job and social activities and they all have horror stories from their Japanese ex-boyfriends. Everything from violence to theft and multiple girlfriends. If Japan wants to get women having more children they'll have to change the men. It should be no surprise that foreign men are very popular in Japan coz most of the local men are complete jerks!

1 ( +4 / -3 )

This story has been going on for too long - she shouldn't have brought the kid into the assembly, she can afford to pay for her own babysitter, No the taxpayer doesn't need to fund a child care facility, Yes Japan needs to have more babies and No a publicity stunt by an Assembly Woman wont make it happen.

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

she can afford to pay for her own babysitter,

she couldn't get into daycare until her child was 6months, majority of woman cant afford private daycare, shes a politician making a stand for women rights, this is how democracy works and things change.

No the taxpayer doesn't need to fund a child care facility,

then Japans birthrate will continue to decline as women wont have children they cant afford.

Yes Japan needs to have more babies

then the J gov needs to supply the support for families and stop wasting money on things that don support Japans future.

No a publicity stunt by an Assembly Woman wont make it happen.

actually protest and freedom of speech is the basis of a modern democracy, without it nothing changes. the publicity it created is bringing about change and far more than if she did nothing

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Yuka Ogata is being defined by this single incident and a very simple, media-driven interpretation of it.

An opinion piece by her was placed in the Guardian newspaper a couple of weeks ago. In it, she describes her position, which is too long to recount here but goes way beyond simple places at childcare. She is critical of the way childcares are run and how they make parents to irrelevant tasks.

More importantly though, she states that the session where this incident occurred was a fifteen-minute session. I have never seen this mentioned in the Japanese media. So the kerfuffle delayed a fifteen-minute session by forty minutes. If you want to argue that a baby might affect "the debate", I would response by asking what kind of debate can be conducted in fifteen minutes minus the time taken by the usual formalities.

fwiw, I don't think politicians' kids should be present during politics, but Trump leaving the unelected Ivanka to talk to Angela Merkel at a high level meeting is far far worse than having a baby present during what sounds like a relatively meaningless (fifteen minutes?) gathering.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

I think there are definitely jobs like judges or surgeons where we would all agree that bringing your child to work would be completely inappropriate. The conceptual problem here is that being a politician is supposed to be an even more important and consequential job (even if they end up doing very little in reality). It's still theoretically the pinnacle of our democratic society and being distracted could have wide ranging consequences.

So while I actually agree that women should be allowed to bring their kids to work in 99% of cases, this is actually one of the very few cases where I think people can reasonably refuse. For that reason, I think this stunt has has fallen flat.

Btw, merry Christmas everyone.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Thank you, @kohakuebisu. I did not know it was all about a 15-minute 'session', and I'm really disgusted with the media for having ignored that. I'm a retired media professional, and that omission is gross and takes the story away from the meaning of the gesture in question.

Really poor reporting!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

For that reason, I think this stunt has has fallen flat. firstly its a stand for women rights not a stunt, they're going to address her concerns and the media coverage of the situation can hardly say its fallen flat. Id say the 40minutes delay on a 15minute session has said more about the issue than if she did nothing at all. She a J woman thats prepared to stand up to the male dominated establishment, in a democratic landscape where women voters outnumber men. shes got more nads the the majority of the men there.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Would she do that work at an ENEOS gas station? Doubtful.

1 ( +3 / -2 )


What if the issue being debated at the 15 minute session had been whether or not to approve zoning permission for a waste to energy incinerator in light of new medical evidence that concerned citizens had presented? What if you and your neighbours had spent years campaigning against the plant because it could adversely affect the health of your family and this was the day of the decision? Don't you think citizens deserve nothing less that 100% of their elected representatives attention, in much the same way as a judge in a trial? It's easy to dismiss the work of politicians in the abstract or when they are debating things we hardly care about or which seem insignificant, but they have the power to impact individual people's lives.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The point is a baby (i.e. bringing another person into the chamber) is a distraction when you are in a meeting with other people. If you are sitting at a desk all day, fair enough but there are some occupations where you do not bring babies or toddlers to work, namely, pilots, politicians, doctors, dentists, fire fighters, security guards, formula 1 drivers....etc.

2 ( +3 / -1 )


Did you read article? We are talking about her, not mothers with other jobs.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Observation of the photo above. Only one man is watching what's going. Others do not look like they are disturbed by no other with her baby.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I meant other assemblymen were not disturbed by the mother with baby. Four busy body men were harassing.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Good for her.

If the baby becomes uncomfortable and cries, is she going to hold it next to an open microphone? I think not.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Toshiko could well be right here. If you read the story carefully, it sounds like it was the assembly staff, not the other councillors who kicked off first. The other councillors mightn't have liked it either, but it was unelected komuin, in what will be cushy for an inaka city like Kumamoto jobs at taxpayer (i.e., 50% women) expense, who placed the rules above all other concerns. We all know the type. I would bet the vast majority of Kumamoto residents are embarrassed about their local government making international news in this way. These officials have done their city a disservice.

If important to anyone business that has been years coming is scheduled for a 15 minute session, then that is not democracy and a much bigger problem than a baby in the chamber.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

this is the article kohakuebisu mentions above:


0 ( +0 / -0 )

there was also this a couple of weeks previous...


0 ( +0 / -0 )

unable to receive a positive reply, she decided to take her son in with her.

She not only didn’t get a positive reply, she didn’t get Any reply.

That the assembly chairman figured it was better to argue for 40 minutes than finish a 15 minute meeting is understandable; why work when you can inconvenience a whole bunch of other people?

0 ( +0 / -0 )


Yes, I read it. She is a politician and she is on my list of occupations that basically shouldn't allow babies at work.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japanese custom change rapidly. Several years ago, in Tokyo, a lower house member got in trouble because he yelled to a female counciler, "baby making machine" and another one said "stay home and make baby."

Kumamoto is not a small city. Notice many council members in photo. It is a Capitol city of Kumamoto Prefecture.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

But this article may pen mind. She is not young but Japanese cities should encourage young people to. participate. In lo call politics.

One warning to people who work for other people. Keep mouth shut if your boss bring his or her baby to work if you don't approve such action. You don't want too lose your job.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@sere: Good you read. Let's concentrate on mother politician issue in Kumamoto. Never mind of other female jobs.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Half of population is female. Recommend her to be candidate of mayor at next municipal election. Not because she had baby at her age but her education and work experience. She might be able to help Nitthitsu pollution problems down by negotiating in Tokyo. Kumamoto city is wasting rare. talent.

0 ( +0 / -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