U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy has sent a letter of support to Ayaka Shiomura, the Tokyo assemblywoman who was recently subjected to sexist jeers from male assembly members during a debate.
On June 18, opposition Your Party member Shiomura, 35, was questioning senior figures in the city administration on plans to help current and future mothers when the abuse erupted from seats occupied by members of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal-Democratic Party (LDP).
A few days later, LDP lawmaker Akihiro Suzuki, 51, admitted being one of the hecklers and apologized to Shiomura at a news conference, but the LDP-dominated assembly voted down a resolution to find out who else yelled out at Shiomura.
Once the incident got out, it was picked up by international media as a typical example of how far women still have to go to be considered equals in modern Japan.
Japanese media reported Thursday that the contents of the letter sent by Kennedy were of a personal nature. However, Shiomura stated that Kennedy offered words of encouragement and support during the trying time, Sankei Shimbun reported.© Japan Today