politics

Japan minister says women 'underestimated'

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By MARI YAMAGUCHI and FOSTER KLUG

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She said she is frequently “bashed” by conservatives in the party, but also by women's rights activists, who don't see her as an authentic feminist.

Still, without the help of powerful male lawmakers in the party she could not have come this far, Chiyako Sato, a Mainichi newspaper editorial writer, said in her recent article.

Comparing Noda and her ultra-conservative and hawkish female rival Sanae Takaichi who both ran unsuccessfully in the September party leadership race, Sato said despite their different political views, they are similar "perhaps they had no other way but win powerful male lawmakers' backing to advance in the Liberal Democratic Party at a time women are not considered full fledged humans."

I guess anybody can read this his / her way, but the words "token female" or also "飾り物 (ornament)" does pop up in my head when it comes to female lawmakers in the LDP...

Noda may argue that she wants to "change the party from within" while I would argue this to be impossible (at least without help as Noda acknowledges herself). Everybody his / her own, I guess...

-10 ( +10 / -20 )

The more equality a culture has, the lower its birthrate (see Europe, for example). Women won't have children until men earn enough to pay for their wife to look after the family so she doesn't haven't to work. That's how it worked before and everyone was happier...

-15 ( +17 / -32 )

To try to address the problems, she has created a new government agency dedicated to children set to be launched next year

come on another agency next year? So, that’s a none starter. I support her talk but nah.

succeeding her grandfather, who was a parliamentarian in Gifu prefecture.

‘well that’s not good. Again.

Japan's Self Defense Force, she said, has had trouble getting enough troops because of the shrinking younger population. She said there’s also not enough attention paid to what the dwindling numbers will mean for police and firefighters, who rely on young recruits.

‘The biggest takeaway is the shrinking younger population. To be honest she is being honest. But why is this happening? My guess Couples don’t earn enough to have children. It’s pretty obvious unless you disregard the cost of fresh food and fuel prices in your decision making.

this cycle of families in power might have something to do with the poverty. Maybe not I’m sure they are suffering too, just one house cleaner, just one car washer?

-2 ( +11 / -13 )

The more equality a culture has, the lower its birthrate

This is literally an article about a culture that has extremely low equality and an extremely low birthrate, if you'd care to actually read it.

24 ( +32 / -8 )

Understatement of the century

-6 ( +6 / -12 )

Japan about 50 years behind on the equality scale! The LDP basically sums up everything that is wrong with Japanese culture. Thankfully the Japanese people are moving forward without them!

-9 ( +11 / -20 )

the nation won’t have enough troops, police or firefighters in coming decades

interesting priorities.....

5 ( +15 / -10 )

The gender inequality in Japanese society is based on fear. Japanese men are afraid of the success of women. Japanese women walk all over the men academically. Japanese women excel in international sports. Japanese women run household finances. Japanese women are mature and focused. Japanese women excel in politics (when given the chance)

Japanese men live on pocket money like a child. They lie and cheat to gain their freedom from married life. They frequent girly bars to satisfy their inadequacies as a man.

-6 ( +21 / -27 )

Well she does earn in 3 months more than a couple do in a year, so her view even at 61 is slightly screwed.

6 ( +16 / -10 )

People say that children are a national treasure. ... They say that women are important for gender equality. But they are just talking,” Noda, 61, told the AP. She said there are a variety of reasons for the low birthrate, persistent gender bias and population decline in Japan, "but being in the parliament, I especially feel that there is indifference and ignorance.”

Noda calling it as it is...as much as i despise the corrupt LDP, she is one of the handful I like.

The more powerful lower house of Japan's two-chamber parliament is more than 90% “people who do not menstruate, do not get pregnant and cannot breastfeed,” Noda said.

Well put.

6 ( +13 / -7 )

Whatever wishful total equality might be, but it obviously turns out that @Wobot made quite a strong point in this discussion thread. If it was better decades ago with one sufficient income for the whole big family and now it is not even with two incomes but still difficult to raise children, then by all logic the current way is completely wrong and dangerously misleading. Also, what many call those negative gender inequalities might as well been considered as gender-tailored chance distribution with a positive intonation on specific chance and capabilities. It just won’t work, if now all few remaining men become type of a soft tempered kindergarten nurse with a cute pink apron and all few remaining young women type of musculous and brutal pro wrestlers or hard-boiled business leaders or politicians. That might match in a very few cases, but in general it’s not at all attractive when matchmaking or founding a new young love or family with children.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

Sadly, this debacle may not change for at least a generation due to the differences between what was being taught and what the norm was for each generation in Japan. I tried convincing my company (fairly large accounting/ tax firm) that our website's group leaders page has only men on the page and we need to fix that. I let them know that in order to attract foreign clients, our English page will need to be modified to show that there isn't only men working here (about a 50/50 ratio) and we may need to include at least one manager and above to make it seem as if we are evaluating fairly.

In the company's defense, this was unintentional and they did not realize this was happening. They immediately began searching for prospects to fill in the leader roles which took countless months. We later discovered that the senior level members whom are very well qualified to take on these roles refused the offers given. They are fine with where they are, and that is because they did not want work to take over their lives (understandable). We also found that accounting had a higher population of men, hence why the leaders of our company are only men. Eventually we were able to hire a director from elsewhere, but this whole situation made it clear that we will probably need to educate the younger generation on future leadership and start a program at our firm.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

“People say that children are a national treasure. ... They say that women are important for gender equality. But they are just talking,”

It's not just about having more children and about women and gender equality that they are "just talking" about; when it comes to acting in this nation, NOTHING is ever done until it is too late. I could give a million examples of that from all facets of society, but let's keep it on this for now.

-6 ( +13 / -19 )

What Japan needs is more LOVE, more Romance, which in turn produces marriages then more children.

When women are treated unequally it causes stress, anger, and a feeling of retaliation and revenge.

As women get more and more access to freedom being able to choose the life style they wish, they turn away from Marriage and decide to go it alone instead of getting locked by a husband that just don't understand what it means to be married.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

@girl in Tokyo.

Agree up to a point. But women are not a homogenous group with a single group opinion. They are more diverse than that. It is true that, given the option to have a career that pays the bills and offers independence, some women are more likely to have a fur baby and stay single. Especially when so many of the available men have traditional mindsets. And LDP Man is determined to retain the status quo, preferably in the Showa era: women staying home and breeding, fewer foreigners and no tourists. And Japanese women are not all pushing for change. Many have been conditioned since childhood to hold traditional views and cheerfully vote LDP.

Governments can make it easier to have kids, but the changes required are cultural and generational, and a change in the law is only a start. Traditional countries around the world are decades or centuries behind on these issues (and in the US, the Republicans are intent on throwing things into reverse). Whatever governments do, change will not happen overnight. At best it is just an initial enabler. Some Japanese women are already benefiting in some areas of their lives, but it is patchy, and they will hit many obstacles. This is a long road. There are rarely short cuts. You cannot change mentality by government edict. It is just a first step.

Tourism injected a lot of foreign women into Japan, including independent travellers, with an expectation of equal treatment. That helped, but now that has gone too. Things may actually go into reverse in Japan, for women, due to the pandemic response and Kishida's regime.

-7 ( +7 / -14 )

Hang on does her Son, Daughter are they members of the JSDF? Police? Firefighters? The story doesn’t say if she even has children. So what experience does she actually have at being a mum with children in dangerous jobs?

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

The more equality a culture has, the lower its birthrate (see Europe, for example). Women won't have children until men earn enough to pay for their wife to look after the family so she doesn't haven't to work. That's how it worked before and everyone was happier...

Long post, but bear with me:

This is demonstrably wrong, and I will point you to the work of people like Peter McDonald, Gøsta Esping-Andersen and, for someone who has studied and written much about Japan, Mary C. Brinton, who have extensively argued the case of gender equity theory in demographics. The evidence shows that across countries there is a u-curve relationship between gender equality and fertility. In the most traditional societies, gender equality is low and fertility is high, but as societies move into a transition period, where women start to work in "jobs" but norms haven't catched up to actually recognize them as equals to men in the workplace and in the home, you can observe lower fertility rates on average. You see this in Southern European countries, for example, which have the lowest fertility rates in Europe, whereas the Northern, most equal ones actually do better overall (!). Of course, the same applies to East Asia and its notoriously patriarchal culture. There is also an excellent article by Leonard J. Schoppa: "The Policy Response to Declining Fertility Rates in Japan: Relying on Logic and Hope Over Evidence" posted in the Social Science Japan Journal, Vol 1 (3) that gives a good overview of the current situation and the failure of policymakers to properly address the issue.

But sure, let's instead listen to the views of ignorant paternalists. It's not like they've been in power in Japan since time immemorial! Just look at how well the birth rate and families are doing, oh wait... It's almost like this confirms exactly what I am talking about.

Snark aside, if you think about it from the perspective of working parents it makes sense - you would expect fewer women wanting to marry and start a family in a society where they are expected to work yet also expected to do most of the family chores and child raising and perhaps also to take care of the grandparents, too. At the same time this also negatively impacts men who want to be more than just absentee fathers, since society expects that they keep working and don't take too much time off for what is a "woman's job". This is why, despite the nice paternity leave options, many men are hesitant to take them. The culture is a hindrance.

You do not solve the problem by going back to the old ways; that is no longer possible and it would be foolish to think families would do better if supported by just a single income - those days are gone. Women are out to work, and businesses are no doubt unwilling to just be rid of their new labor force.

The real solution is, for anyone who knows anything, more gender equality; respect for women, respect for men doing "women's jobs", balancing of family life and so on. Sexism is a disease, a tumor on Japan, and it is destroying its very future in the form of shrinking and burdened future generations. Good on Noda for at least recognizing this. It's a start.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

She resembles Doi Takako

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

I think the biggest cause of Japan’s shrinking population is its long stagnant policies.

Changing laws about surnames etc is fine but sorry that sort of fiddling won’t fix the shrinking population.

Back in the Tokugawa era, Japanese people were free to go ahead and make fortunes for themselves, even under the rule of the bakufu. Free market capitalism flourished. That people then could more easily grow rich than Japanese people today under central government rule by the LDP says much about how wrong Japan’s current policy settings are.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

The problem is related to culture and education. Japanese women are “molded” from childhood by Japanese society, Japanese media, and the Japanese education system to be a perfect “Japanese woman”. Japanese men want to marry the abovementioned type of woman, a remissive perfect Japanese woman. Many women act childish and silly for this reason.

The consequence is that most Japanese women are too much accustomed to this model of woman and there are not interested to change it. They like to be at home, they like to spend their days doing 女子会, because this is the way they were educated.

Most Japanese women do not know the world outside Japan. It is not a mystery that many women that had work or study experiences abroad never come back to Japan or do their best to leave Japan.

Search on the net "The Devil you know: Gender inequality in Japan" and download the report. According to it, when asking "ACHIEVING EQUALITY BETWEEN MEN AND WOMEN IS IMPORTANT TO ME PERSONALLY" only 41% of japanese women are in agreement (and only 31% of japanese men). As a comparison, Italy/Germany/Sweden/Canada/Australia about 70% of women are in agreement.

13 ( +23 / -10 )

She’s right…. But after spending half my life here it’s my opinion that women in Japan are just as much to blame as men. I dated a Japanese criminal law degree graduate. She did nothing with her degree and qualifications and only wanted to be a housewife. They have absolutely no ambition. At least the foreign trainees are trying to provide their families back home with a better life.

11 ( +16 / -5 )

She IS raising her child. Women can do more than one thing at once, you know.

Walk and chew gum at the same time, yes.

Knit and read at the same time, yes.

But no one, man or woman, can do two things in two separate places at the same time.

If she is spending her days working as minister for gender equality and children's issues, holding interviews, making policy, persuading other politicians, while she is doing that she is not raising her child. She is paying someone else to do it for her.

If she is spending her days caring for her child's daily needs - more than the average child, since he is disabled and needs round-the-clock care - then she is not earning her salary as a minister.

It's fine for a woman to have a job, a career. But let's not pretend that it's possible to be out of the house working and at home caring for children, at the same time. There has to be give somewhere. For most women, that means having someone else take care of the child for the part of the day she isn't at home.

5 ( +11 / -6 )

CrickyToday  05:00 pm JST

Well she does earn in 3 months more than a couple do in a year, so her view even at 61 is slightly screwed.

How can anyone's view be screwed?

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

It's not like men in Europe (or anywhere else, really) are any better at sharing housework.

See, this is false too, actually.

If you look up the data posted by OECD on this, you will for example see that Danish men contribute about 40% of all housework and Swedish men 45%. In general, men in other developed countries contribute more to housework than do men in Japan and East Asia at large, so there are differences.

I'm not sure were you got the idea that men were all the same.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

It's somewhat amusing to me how I'm getting downvoted. The things I write in these comment sections aren't just pulled out of thin air, and I even refer you guys to where you can find the information. What can you possibly say to that beyond some knee-jerk reaction where you downvote something you don't like? Some people really just can't take being wrong, can they, even if the facts are shoved in their face.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

KokegawaToday  06:43 pm JST

It's not like men in Europe (or anywhere else, really) are any better at sharing housework.

See, this is false too, actually.

If you look up the data posted by OECD on this, you will for example see that Danish men contribute about 40% of all housework and Swedish men 45%. In general, men in other developed countries contribute more to housework than do men in Japan and East Asia at large, so there are differences.

I'm not sure were you got the idea that men were all the same.

As a northern westerner European I totally agree with you.

And the fault of this situation is mainly to japanese ojisan but also to a vast majority of apathetic women that are content or just don’t do anything to change things.

For Japan to change things it takes at least four decades more than a full western democracy due to their stubbornness and narrow mind,and most of us won’t even live enough to see such radical changes.

As someone before posted that the younger generation are more liberal which I agree but the majority of them is so apathetic that doesn’t care.

I am so sure that many expats regret to have made Japan their own home.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

Japan is the world’s third biggest economy, a powerful democracy and a major U.S. ally

A country ruled by the same party composed by the same cast of people basically continuously for the last 77 years is not a democracy.

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

You have just have to look at the Western nations to see how "equality" has fared.

There is a reason why societies like Japan are respected and admired; the system they have WORKS.

I really don't care about gender equality in Japan; all I know is that majority of Japanese men & women must be doing something right if Japan is still one of the safest, cleanest, low-crime rate countries in the world.

I think both Japanese men & women must have instilled good values in their children. Just look at how kids in Japan pick up after themselves or offer their seats to elders or bow politely if you give way to them at zebra crossings. How many Westerners ( or even Asians) say "Thank you for the food" after every meal the way the Japanese do?

Having a polite, responsible society is FAR more important than any Western notion of "equality". Maybe the West (or Westernized Asians) can take notes from Japan.

It's not just Japanese women who are underestimated.

It's Japan as a society that's being underestimated.

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

A country ruled by the same party composed by the same cast of people basically continuously for the last 77 years is not a democracy.

And yet they are the envy of many Asian & Western nations.

So "the same party composed by the same cast of people" must be doing something right for these 77 years.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

WesleyToday  07:28 pm JST

You have just have to look at the Western nations to see how "equality" has fared. 

There is a reason why societies like Japan are respected and admired; the system they have WORKS. 

I really don't care about gender equality in Japan; all I know is that majority of Japanese men & women must be doing something right if Japan is still one of the safest, cleanest, low-crime rate countries in the world. 

I think both Japanese men & women must have instilled good values in their children. Just look at how kids in Japan pick up after themselves or offer their seats to elders or bow politely if you give way to them at zebra crossings. How many Westerners ( or even Asians) say "Thank you for the food" after every meal the way the Japanese do? 

Having a polite, responsible society is FAR more important than any Western notion of "equality". Maybe the West (or Westernized Asians) can take notes from Japan. 

It's not just Japanese women who are underestimated. 

It's Japan as a society that's being underestimated.

And by which western country Japan is respected for his laws and sexism?

By Germany? (My country) Sweden? Denmark?

Back home we all know how Japan is ultra conservative and backwarded with gender gap.

The ultra majority of women of my country have absolutely no interest in either marry a Japanese man or even dating due to their backwards mind.

And yes you can tell me that some do,but it’s like one in a milions.

It is because of people like you that can’t take criticism that Japan will never change.

-1 ( +10 / -11 )

Birthrate is not a problem in Okinawa. I mean hell what else is there to do here!! But I guess women like her, dont see Okinawan's as "real" Japanese, so we dont count!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

WesleyToday 07:28 pm JST

You have just have to look at the Western nations to see how "equality" has fared

There is a reason why societies like Japan are respected and admired; the system they have WORKS.

I really don't care about gender equality in Japan; all I know is that majority of Japanese men & women must be doing something right if Japan is still one of the safest, cleanest, low-crime rate countries in the world.

I wonder if you have ever thought that positives and negatives can exist in every culture.

As an example, Japan is safe for men; but sex crimes against women are though the roof because of gender inequality.

Children obey; but the way in which that is achieved is that they are pressured so hard to be exactly like everyone else that a kid who has a different kind of lunchbox can get bullied to the brink of suicide.

Think harder.

-1 ( +10 / -11 )

Japan isn't the world's third biggest economy that's incorrect !

Kyo, and what country do you think has the third largest economy? lol

2 ( +2 / -0 )

*Japan is the world’s third biggest economy, a powerful democracy and a major U.S. ally, but the government has struggled to make society more inclusive for children, women and minorities. There are deep concerns, both within Japan and abroad, about how Japan will reverse what critics call a deep-seated history of male chauvinism that has contributed to the low birthrate. The gap between men and women in Japan is one of the world’s worst. It ranked 116th in a 146-nation survey*

This small text sums it up; speaking from a western perspective, Japanese society looks “normal”, but it’s not. We’re here playing the “blaming” game; some people wanna blame Japanese men, other people wanna blame Japanese women for wanting to be housewives, spend time with their friends and go shopping ( – it’s a fact that they don’t care if they’re underestimated or not.) No. First we need to blame history. First, Japanese culture needs to be changed. First, Japanese girls need to stop being brainwashed. Then, we can start talking. Japan has a long way to go, we all know that.

But many male lawmakers, she said, think that issues around families, gender and population don’t concern them, and are reluctant to get involved.

Such a long article, filled with encouraging words, but in the end, “we’re back to square one”. We’ll, that’s Japan, folks.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

Noda had her first child, who is disabled, at age 50 after fertility treatments. 

50! Doesn’t that seem like something that only an irresponsible and headstrong person would do?

At what age did she have her second child, one wonders?

TT

1 ( +4 / -3 )

cleoToday 06:36 pm JST

But let's not pretend that it's possible to be out of the house working and at home caring for children, at the same time. There has to be give somewhere. For most women, that means having someone else take care of the child for the part of the day she isn't at home.

Yes, like the father, the grandmother, the school, or a nanny ...

Explain to me why having daycare or a family member care for the child for part of the day somehow means the mother isn't taking care of her child? Just because the mother has arranged care doesn't mean her child isn't cared for or is being neglected. Arranged care is still care. No parent is with their child 24/7.

Why aren't you accusing male politicians of not taking care of their children and for neglecting them by having their mother care for them?

Are you also accusing the moms you know of neglect for not going to school with their children and caring for them themselves, instead of letting the school do it?

Are you complaining about moms who dare go out shopping alone, leaving their child with their grandmother?

Come on.

-11 ( +4 / -15 )

@girl in tokyo

Women can do more than one thing at once, you know. 

We are capable like that.

You’re always banging on here about how women are so strong and independent and men so hopeless, and simultaneously whining about how hard done by women are. Make your mind up!

And as for your comprehensively negative and resoundingly hateful view of men… it’s like you think all men are evil: genuinely, with the greatest respect, just how did you arrive at that dogmatic conclusion, one wonders? I feel sorry for you.

There are good and bad persons everywhere, regardless of their sex/gender (whatever we’re supposed to call it nowadays). Give the good ones a chance. You’ll find they are not a minority.

TT

13 ( +14 / -1 )

KokegawaToday  06:43 pm JST

It's not like men in Europe (or anywhere else, really) are any better at sharing housework.

See, this is false too, actually.

If you look up the data posted by OECD on this, you will for example see that Danish men contribute about 40% of all housework and Swedish men 45%. In general, men in other developed countries contribute more to housework than do men in Japan and East Asia at large, so there are differences.

40% and 45% still isn't 50%.

So yes, better than Japan, but come on - look at the metric you're measuring by.

I'm curious to know if there is a country that can really say men and women do equal amounts of housework, childcare, family care, and emotional labor - AND without the males all bragging about it as if they deserve a cookie for doing their part. Then I'll be impressed.

-14 ( +2 / -16 )

Japanese Gender Equality Minister Seiko Noda has a political career stretching back to 1987

“People say that children are a national treasure. ... They say that women are important for gender equality. But they are just talking,” Noda, 61, told the AP in a Cabinet office in downtown Tokyo’s government complex. “The politics of Japan will not move unless (the problems of children and women) are made visible.”

She said there are a variety of reasons for the low birthrate, persistent gender bias and population decline in Japan, "but being in the parliament, I especially feel that there is indifference and ignorance.”

After decades in office, Seiko Noda is still struggling to come up with a solution?

Other than weasel words!!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

It may take 20 years or it make take 200 years, but one day Japanese women will rule Japan, with its culture intact. No tattooed, nose ringed or blue haired need apply.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Loveless Japanese mens the problem

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Back in the Tokugawa era, Japanese people were free to go ahead and make fortunes for themselves, even under the rule of the bakufu.

You don’t seem to fully grasp how a feudal social order in which 90% of the population was bound to the land they were born on worked if you think this is how Japanese society was back then.

Free market capitalism flourished.

No it did not. Mercantilism flourished, which is not the same thing. Want to be a merchant or artisan? No problem so long as you are born into a family which is a member of the kabunakama (guild) which holds a monopoly on that trade. Otherwise you are out of luck. That is not how free market capitalism works.

That people then could more easily grow rich than Japanese people today under central government rule by the LDP says much about how wrong Japan’s current policy settings are.

No they could not. Life in the Tokugawa era was certainly better than it was in the ages which preceded it, but people could not grow richer than they can today by any reasonable measure of wealth.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Not excusing any other beneficiary of a political dynasty but I don't want to hear this from a person who is relevant at all because of grandpa.

Women have the power to organize and drive change but they choose not to use it. Expecting the gerontocrats at the helm to change their minds is a fool's errand, when the patriarchy has served them and their families so well.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

> girl_in_tokyoToday 08:10 pm JST

KokegawaToday 06:43 pm JST

> It's not like men in Europe (or anywhere else, really) are any better at sharing housework.

> See, this is false too, actually.

> If you look up the data posted by OECD on this, you will for example see that Danish men contribute about 40% of all housework and Swedish men 45%. In general, men in other developed countries contribute more to housework than do men in Japan and East Asia at large, so there are differences.

> 40% and 45% still isn't 50%.

> So yes, better than Japan, but come on - look at the metric you're measuring by.

> I'm curious to know if there is a country that can really say men and women do equal amounts of housework, childcare, family care, and emotional labor - AND without the males all bragging about it as if they deserve a cookie for doing their part. Then I'll be impressed.

When men have to earn the lion's share of the income, it would be nearly impossible for men to be equal in your subjective categories. You'll never be satisfied with, nor like men, so just come out and say that.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Women undervalued in Japan? Yes. Japan has always been a machista country. But low birth blamed on ignorance and indifference on a in the male-dominated Japanese parliament; she's barking at the wrong tree.

There's a lot involved, probably most noticable the fact you need both partners working to stay afloat.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Japanese women who have gaikoku on the mind (world travelers, typically English enthusiasts) seem to be concerned about gender equality in Japan, I have noticed that women who are firmly rooted in Japan without much interest about what lays beyond are much more accepting of it. Their pride in Japanese culture seems to outweigh the desire for aspects of that culture to change. There seems to be an attitude of "well, that's just how our men are and we need to support them". Forced to be the official beer pourers at after-hours events and subject themselves to sexual harassment from drunken 'men just being men' is just part of the culture, -OUR culture- and we fully embrace it. We're Japanese, after all. That's just how it is.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Wasn't Japan on par with Burkino Faso on a recent list of gender equality? I think all other East Asian countries were above Japan.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Yes, women are woefully under represented in many occupations. And not just in Japan, it’s a global problem.

From the article:

“The lack of female representation is often referred to as “democracy without women.

A quota system could help increase the number of female candidates for political office, Noda said, but male lawmakers have criticized her proposal, saying women should be judged by their abilities.”

Being judged by ability is now wrong? Quotas?

Having the nice cushy job as a member of parliament by fiat is good, but what about quotas for women in other occupations, such as the dirty, difficult and dangerous jobs as laborers, in fishing, steelworks or even in the military?

As girl_in_tokyo might say, maybe it’s time for women to get their lazy butts off the couch and go to work in those male dominated road construction and other hard jobs. Pick up a shovel, girl.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

The more equality a culture has, the lower its birthrate (see Europe, for example). Women won't have children until men earn enough to pay for their wife to look after the family so she doesn't haven't to work. That's how it worked before and everyone was happier...

This is such a deeply stupid and laughable… er….”statement” as to question the wisdom of opening oneself to the derision that it so obviously deserves.

With an attitude like that, I bet you’re beating them off with a stick, eh?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Japan has fallen behind because other countries have been changing faster...

Ah. The C-word again. Always the C-word.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Just the other day, a study was published that Japan ranks #1 in gender equality for education, but bottom in politics and economics. This tells you that Japanese women are educated for the purpose to educate their sons.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

*Cleo: **But let's not pretend that it's possible to be out of the house working and at home caring for children, at the same time. There has to be give somewhere. For most women, that means having someone else take care of the child for the part of the day she isn't at home.*

Girl_in_Tokyo: Explain to me why having daycare or a family member care for the child for part of the day somehow means the mother isn't taking care of her child? Just because the mother has arranged care doesn't mean her child isn't cared for or is being neglected. Arranged care is still care. No parent is with their child 24/7.

Are you also accusing the moms you know of neglect for not going to school with their children and caring for them themselves, instead of letting the school do it?

Exactly. Cleo, fathers never have to bear this bad rap for "neglecting" to do their job or "failing to mind" their children. Let's be clear. Men put long hours in at soul-sucking jobs and delegate their children's' care all the time--to their wives, parents and in-laws and the school system. Without reproach. With the blessing of the patriarchal system.

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but being in the parliament, I especially feel that there is indifference and ignorance.” 

There is a peculiar cultural tendency over here, one that has been the source of much contemplation and wonder over the years, one that I just can’t get my head around. Indifference to broken patterns of behavior and norms that could easily be fixed if there was the will and the hunger to actually change. The falling birthrate and old mindset regarding gender roles is one of them, what’s really frustrating is that it’s a cliff that everyone knows we are walking straight towards, but for some bizarre reason the course just can’t be changed. As for the old guard, I just think it’s a simple as they see savvy capable women as a threat. Have heard some comments from old gee as over the years that was just plain bigotry. “Choshi notteru onna” toka…. The mindset is real, at all levels.

I think it’s a top down problem. People in leadership positions fall into expediency and mental laziness, get drunk on their own positions of comfort then waste their time in some sort of delusional nostalgia, much to the detriment of everyone around them. The lack of fight back from the underlings is ultra weak too, a two prongue problem. It’s like everyone is asleep on the Titanic.

The tragedy is, it’s plain as day what needs to be done most of the time but this slumber and groupthink mentality just keeps progress a far off land. Ahhh mendokusai……Always hoping there’ll be a new ambitious generation gunna magically appear, but the conditions have to be set by those before them for it to happen and I just don’t see it. Not in the education system, not from the buchos nor nor the kachos. Maybe they’ve seen the divisions of the west and just refuse to budge because of them, who knows. Try and rally my own students not to be too aggressive, but to at least imagine change is possible, cause it really is.

Laziness is a killer, so is cowardly leaders sitting out their term in office. The entire future of the culture in their hands too. What’s it gunna take to take down these stubborn jama monos! Rant owari!

Having said all that, there is a new wave of start ups carving new paths away from the old mob, hopefully they can inspire the next, never want to think anything is a lost cause!

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I hear you, but I think Japanese women in general are highly educated, have access to varied reading materials without censorship, are very widely traveled (at least before this virus mess), and are right where they want to be. The larger challenge for men and women are the archaic company structures in which no one wants to work (man or woman), and the outdated family and marriage laws that punish both sexes. I think in this day and age the Nordic model of equality and civil unions or simply living together is the only way to go forward. Marriage is a dreadful deathtrap to both sexes. Easy to get into and impossible to get out of.

I see where you’re going, I get ya. I still stand by what I said, but you also have a point, you really do. In my post, I focused on women but the problem lies in men too. (generally speaking) Both Japanese men and women are not interested in dating, sex (hard to believe, I know), having kids, a family. The system has to change but the problem is that dinosaurs are still in charge; and in this country we have centuries of “men rule, women obey” mentality behind us – something impossible to ignore and unconsciously present in Japanese people. So we need to address history, then culture, then education, then, yes, gender equality. Would like to engage in a more “expensive” conversation about the subject but english is not my native tongue. But, Japan has a long way to go, I think we can all agree on that.

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The real reason why Japanese men do not want women to experience equality is, once the power is shared, the men in Japan will become useless, they know women will out perform them. Also if this was to happen women still will not marry and have children they will stay single because they won't have to worry about a salary man money they will have their own.

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I hear you, but I think Japanese women in general are highly educated, have access to varied reading materials without censorship, are very widely traveled (at least before this virus mess), and are right where they want to be. The larger challenge for men and women are the archaic company structures in which no one wants to work (man or woman), and the outdated family and marriage laws that punish both sexes. I think in this day and age the Nordic model of equality and civil unions or simply living together is the only way to go forward. Marriage is a dreadful deathtrap to both sexes. Easy to get into and impossible to get out of.

I see where you’re going, I get ya. I still stand by what I said, but you also have a point, you really do. In my post, I focused on women but the problem lies in men too. (generally speaking) Both Japanese men and women are not interested in dating, sex (hard to believe, I know), having kids, a family. The system has to change but the problem is that dinosaurs are still in charge; and in this country we have centuries of “men rule, women obey” mentality behind us – something impossible to ignore and unconsciously present in Japanese people. So we need to address history, then culture, then education, then, yes, gender equality. Would like to engage in a more “expensive” conversation about the subject but english is not my native tongue. But, Japan has a long way to go, I think we can all agree on that.

Just to make it clear; this is not just about work culture. There’s a reason why there’s less babies being born in Japan. Japanese society really has issues coming from all directions.

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Are you complaining about moms who dare go out shopping alone, leaving their child with their grandmother?

I’m not complaining about anyone, just stating facts. No one, male or female, can be in two places at once.

Explain to me why having daycare or a family member care for the child for part of the day somehow means the mother isn't taking care of her child? Just because the mother has arranged care doesn't mean her child isn't cared for or is being neglected. Arranged care is still care. 

Yes, the child is being cared for. Just not by the mother. You claim that women can ‘do two things at the same time’. I’m saying it’s impossible to hold down a full-time job outside the home and be a full-time Mum at the same time. I’m not saying getting someone else to do the child care means the child is being neglected. I’m simply pointing out that it’s not the mother who is providing the childcare.

Why aren't you accusing male politicians of not taking care of their children

I’m not accusing anyone of anything. Those male politicians and other fathers for the most part do not claim to be doing a full-time job while at the same time being their child’s main carer.

I’m not saying that having someone else, be it a day care centre, or granny or Dad on his day off, is a bad thing. I’m saying you can’t do that and at the same time claim that you’re doing ‘two things at the same time’. You aren’t: you’re getting someone else to do one of those things.

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