politics

Gender equality chief makes light of sexist jeering in Tokyo assembly

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By Kyoko Hasegawa

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“I would say ‘Why don’t you get married?’ in private when I’m talking with women,” Nojima, a 65-year-old member of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling party, told reporters after the conference, which had been convened for the first time in five years.

I'm not sure which is worse -- the fact that a neanderthal like this is actually heading the commission on gender equality, or that the conference has not met in 5 years. Somebody please wake me when Japan gets its head out of its butt.

28 ( +31 / -3 )

Sigh.......

20 ( +20 / -0 )

Nojima, a 65-year-old member of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling party

and herein lay the problem.

20 ( +21 / -1 )

Countdown to his resignation in 3-2-1! What a moron, so it is ok to bully someone in private about their marital choices, just don't do it where everyone can hear you and really know what an insensitive jerk you really are!

18 ( +19 / -1 )

I don't think anyone thinks Abe's appointment of women in his cabinet exemplifies a true desire for gender equality. He's more interested in limiting flak from international media and reduce any negative spotlight on his party. Ask any cabinet member what Abe's real stance on women is and you'll get little more than a pregnant pause.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

You couldn't make this up.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

At age 65 I figure that this is a payoff position for him for doing the "party work" for so many years. To an outsider looking in, I think that is the problem with Japan politics. Not enough positions to go around for the "political elites" in terms of the children of long time politicians and their family members. As a result, you get people whose only thing they know how to do is to graft to politics as usual because it is expected of them to go into that field and if they hold on long enough, something will come up to reward them.

Probably why it is hard for an outsider (not foreigner but outsider Japanese to the political families) to get ahead and that is why Japan keeps getting stuck with these boobs who really shouldn't be in a position and people who may have real solutions will not get the chance to rise up and make a difference.

Just my opinion.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

When asked, you say, "The comments were unacceptable." And then you stop talking. Is that really so hard????

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Not ready for prime time.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Perhaps he thought he was the Gender Inequality chief.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

65 y.o. perfect age to retire. Thats why the Japanese government needs more fresh blood instead of these oyaji.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Barbarian

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Aaaand we're back to square one.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Male, 65 years old, and in charge of the Gender Equality Conference. What could POSSIBLY be wrong with someone from the "women should be barefoot and in the kitchen" generation chairing a conference that seeks to get women OUT of the kitchen? (rolls eyes)

5 ( +6 / -1 )

LDP should expel this kind of members if it want more oterx support LDP. After all more than half of voters are female. Maybe women politiczns may join LDP. Those women hater politicians should be expel;ed so women will belilieve what Abe preaching/

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Foot In Mouth Disease - more prevalent than dengue fever - especially in Japan's political circles, it seems.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

“I feel slightly worried about the prospects for this conference,” Minoru Morozumi told AFP

the understatement of the year!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Another black mark for "pro-woman power" Prime Minister Abe!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Open mouth - speak - uproar - misunderstanding - withdraw comments - apologise - regrettable - resign - vacation - new position - open mouth - speak - uproar...

The cycle of Japanese politicians...

4 ( +5 / -1 )

So after the conference to the hostess bar? :P

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Wow. Unbelievable. Why can't they follow Abe's vision? Somebody, kick their balls hard! They need to know how it feels to give birth.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Why am I funding these morons?

Honestly the best thing the vast majority of these guys could do is to sit quietly and never open their mouths, I don't really expect them to achieve anything positive but they can at least restrict their damage to a minimum.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Well, at least now we know where he stands and what we are getting.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

GTFO

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Who is voting for these politicians?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Didn't your mama tell you to consider what to say?

Reduce the politicians (or the personnel expenses on them), especially old brats like him.

Most of them sleep in the Diet anyway.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

September 18,2014 11:00P.M JST< I would sense the "hone versus "tatemae" syndrome at work in his mind; the honest feeling he would not fight shy of revealing to his friends versus what he is willing to say to play an inter-personal/inter-office game. What he meant to say would translate into this, that he ended up playing an inter-office game the wrong way by blurting out his "honne" that it is ok to put a sexist question before a woman in private. Being a stickler for the double standard game-player would simply give away his true colorings s a politician; male chauvinist. To think that such a man wears the hat as being ni charge of promoting gender equality!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Jkanda

I vote for making Ms Ayaka Shiomura Gender Equality Chief. methinks it makes more sense to have a 30-something woman represent gender equality in Japan than a 65 year old right-wing oyaji who wants to know why we don't get married. [maybe cos we don't want a father-in-law like you?].

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I wish I could an opportunity to talk to Mr. Shiomura. I would like to tell him that you don't have to be married and bear children to understand what difficulties married people go through.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Foot in mouth Neanderthal.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

/facepalm

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This news reminds me of the cops who are caught groping or taking upskirt photos.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

And the 2014 award for "Most Ridiculously Awful Choice for the Job" goes to.....

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This is like a shark feeding frenzy, so I have little hope my voice will be heard.

But it looks to me like Nojima's words are being maliciously misinterpreted for the sheer glee of doing it. If this is where the public places its priorities, then good luck to women's advancement because luck will surely be needed.

Yes, folks, its still okay to ask a person in private if they are married. But no, its not okay to attack them over it in public or private or turn their private matters into a political weapon, and its not okay to try and make their life decisions for them.

I don't think Nojima "made light" of anything here and I cannot see anything here to justify making him the enemy as if he were the one shouting "Why don't you have a baby" in the city assembly. But I see no hope in reasoning with sharks.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Kazuaki, you ask me, why would you need to know?

Why do we need to know anything about anybody? How about want to know? Do you think people have cruel ulterior motives for asking such a question? Sometimes we ask such personal questions to learn about a person because we care about them. For example, we may find out a woman is a lesbian, in which case we learn to stop telling our guy friends, "Well she is single" and we can help her brush men off. Or we may learn she has a boyfriend with the same result. Or we may learn she wants to get married but is having trouble meeting someone. In which case we may be able to introduce her to someone. But if everyone is so very sensitive even in private, then even just asking what color someone likes could lead to trouble. And you know what? If I find out a person is so very sensitive, I consider it a great lesson. From then on, I avoid that person for my own sanity.

Next, you say that "Why don't you get married?" is his question. It wasn't his question. He was given the question and he worked with it. As for its implications, you are just assuming the worst. People often ask "Why don't you?" questions while not implying there is something wrong. Sometimes that same framing of a question is merely suggesting there is an opportunity or benefit. But I know. Shark feeding frenzy. Being negative and assuming the worst is delightful. Who am I to speak against it?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I am not even outraged....you see, Japan is only just realizing that the world is watching, and that their not so wholesome ways are becoming obvious. They haven't mastered tact just yet. He will rephrase next time I am sure. Strike One

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japan was a country for long behind. We cannot laugh at China and Korea. Consciousness of human rights was and still is weak. Comfort women happened under the lack of considerations of women's right.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This lout and the SDF guy hired for teaching awareness of sexual harrassment and who sexually assaults women are proof that there really are no qualifications necessary for a lot of these jobs in Japan.

Boss: "So, says here in the resume for the job of gender equality minister that you hate women and think they belong in ISIS like positions at home. Is that correct?

Applicant: "Ummm.... yes, sir. And might I say I'm glad you're not a woman interviewing me. All bosses should be men."

Boss: "Well, hmmm... I guess if you're into it then you know a lot about the subject. You're hired!"

0 ( +7 / -7 )

cierzo98

Fair representation for a fair contribution, seems completely reasonable doesn't it...sadly I think we are a long way away from that.

My guess is while the current batch of rose tinted glasses backward looking fellows are in there is no chance.

Please any Japanese readers don't get me wrong Im not for a free for all mess where anyone with a passing interest in Japan gets a say, but to not allow duel citizenship or at least long term residents who are and have been contributing and have long term interests, businesses, family, children to have a say in some way does seem out of line with fair and reasonable expectations of representation.

I do believe some new input could help address the fairly obvious issue of lack of consequences and legitimate responses to issues.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Great team in charge! Go team Japan!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Jeeesus! Another day its embarrassing to be living in Japan........wtf!

I really don't see Japan digging itself out of the many holes its dug for itself, if anything clearly its set to get worse, much worse!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I agree with @Kazuaki Shimazaki. Nojima just opens his mouth and says what he thinks, even if what he thinks is pretty stupid. That's better than some slick politician who's smart enough to keep his mouth shut and not let on what he really thinks. It should make it easier to choose on election day.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Why can't they follow Abe's vision?

This IS Abe's vision, he's just as bad as the rest and only views the women in his cabinet as window dressings.

If Abe ACTUALLY had some vision he would have invited the 36 year old Tokyo Assembly women initially heckled to run the department.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Who is voting for these politicians?

65 year-old men who want to know why young women don't get married, probably.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Simona well said. I talk to the Japanese people holding relatively good positions about things that need change here. I wish some responsible people in this society will wake up and do something about it. Frankly, if the PM made this great move, he can get a lot of mileage for his campaign. For the latter part of your campaign, I could not help laughing with my mouth covered with my palm :)

0 ( +1 / -1 )

another in an endless line of buffoons

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Clearly choosing a 65 year old male LDP member for a 'gender equality' role is an attempt to sabotage the effort from the outset. It's not even lip service. Even if they wanted to fool the public into think they'd do something about it they wouldn't have chosen such a person. His very appointment is giving a middle-finger to any sort of progress, and they must have known this.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

That's one small misstep for this man, one giant foot in mouth for mankind.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yes, folks, its still okay to ask a person in private if they are married. But no, its not okay to attack them over it in public or private or turn their private matters into a political weapon, and its not okay to try and make their life decisions for them.

My question to you is, _Jack. Why would you need to know? Would it affect your judgment in any way? Will you be changing some of your answers to the business at hand based on the information? If yes, aren't you being discriminatory and if not why do you need the information at all?

Further, his question was (at least in the translation), "Why Don't you get Married?", which implies there is something wrong with the target's unmarried state.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"None of your business"

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Gender Equality Chief All-New Action Figure operating instructions: open mouth, insert foot.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Nojima's words are being maliciously misinterpreted for the sheer glee of doing it.

Nailed it. Its a nice try Jack, but as you said in your first post, little chance of being heard while the feeding frenzy is going on.

I think its perfectly OK to ask a person (male or female) with whom you are acquainted why they aren't married. Its obviously not OK to ask the question of someone you have just met or don't know at all.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

why can politician jeer in conference? it is the rule of discussion that participants should listening to others opinion completely afterwards they can make comments on it. its bad habit exist in not only Japan, but they keep those principle rule which even kids can promise. even in private, is the remark on harassment allowed? they could not divide their private and public as well as right wrong.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@yubaru, if she heads that office she'll need a lot of wit instead of loads of tissues. I'm a woman but I've got this romanticized view of the legislative body. I believe the parliament is a stage of wit and wisdom, of mediocre and bright people, of crooks and righteous all aiming to leave a legacy behind, I suppose. Being a man's world, the parliament , that is, she could have retorted back in satire instead of shedding some tears. She seems not ready for a wit to wit duel nor ready to rule an office, yet.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The Diet front door should hang a sign saying,

Politics is men's culture.

Welcome Woman!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Ha ha another interbreed political dufus who has no care and no understanding of the society they deem below themselves.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

If PM wants to right the wrong he has done, he should give a high post to the lady who was offended.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

A sincere and dedicated politician who has been working for a better life for all of Japan, and filling his pockets with tax payer money. May he spend another 40 years doing the same. We obviously need Men like this to represent us.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Abe should realize just nominating women Mimisters are mot helping JDP pkans to get women voting. Of cause politicians are least liked human in the world but c;ean up his own party members or none female voting very soon, DPJ and other parties are not hating women like Abe's party members.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"What? Me worry?"

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Yes, folks, its still okay to ask a person in private if they are married. But no, its not okay to attack them over it in public or private or turn their private matters into a political weapon, and its not okay to try and make their life decisions for them.

Read the article again, "Jack":

Zenji Nojima, the chairman of a gender equality conference, generated fresh controversy Tuesday by saying it was fine to ask a woman why she wasn’t married—although the question should not be posed in public.

There's a WORLD of difference between asking "if" someone is married (your quote) and "why aren't you married". Why someone is not married is no one else's business. Period. It's not OK to ask it in public OR in private.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

"I would say 'Why don't you get married?' in private when I'm talking with women,"

That's very presumptuous of Mr Nojima, but maybe he is thinking of the ladies he meets in hostess bars who at least are being paid to put up with him.

Still, the LDP is full of blundering oafs like him so we shouldn't be surprised at his lack of manners.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The caption of the article should be

Gemderr equaityl .chief Recommend and enclpurage to jeer women like he does "

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I'll say it again - why someone (woman OR man) is not married is none of your business. If they feel comfortable enough with you to tell you, they will do so without an interrogation. Why do you feel you need to be the "traffic cop" for their relationships or the lack of them? Who designated you the matchmaker - deciding who does and who doesn't interact with them? IT'S. NONE. OF. YOUR. BUSINESS.

Next, you say that "Why don't you get married?" is his question. It wasn't his question. He was given the question and he worked with it.

True enough. He took the question he was given and turned it into a statement saying that there's nothing wrong with asking someone why they aren't married - as long as the question is asked in private. He's 100% wrong. IT'S NONE OF HIS (or anyone else's) BUSINESS why someone isn't married. He KNOWS that. He's using the question to put the recipient on the defensive.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I note all the ageism comments on here, what is the difference discrimination on sex or discrimination on age or race ?

Double standards?

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

It shows how men perceive women in japan: commodity. that's very samurai thinking.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Their mentality against women, certainly explains why they're so desperate in reversing the history of the sex slaves in WWII.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

No one has a sense of humour any more.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Nojima, a 65-year-old member of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling party

and herein lay the problem.

Aren't you stereotyping all other older people based on this one close minded fools response?

-8 ( +6 / -14 )

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