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Japan's Ruling Party Invites Women To Crucial Meetings To 'look, Not Talk'

The secretary-general of Japan's leading Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Toshihiro Nikai has triggered anger by spouting ‘misogynistic’ remarks on Tuesday.


Just a week after Tokyo 2020 Olympics chief stepped down on being under fire for marking sexist remarks, the secretary-general of the country's leading Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Toshihiro Nikai has again triggered ire by spouting ‘misogynistic’ remarks. On Tuesday, Japan's LDP party leader proposed that female lawmakers should be able to take a look’ at the key meetings of the party but not speak in them.

The 82-year-old’s plan to allow at least five women lawmakers to observe the crucial party gatherings was reportedly a response to the widespread criticism over LDP’s board being male-dominated. As per reports, Japan’s second female defence minister Tomomi Inada on February 15 had written to Nikai with suggestions over how to promote female participating within the party. In the 12-member board of LDP, only two are females while there are only three women in its  25-member general council.

Nikai said it was important for the women to "fully understand what kind of political discussions are happening" at the directors' meeting and the general council. "It's about letting them take a look," he reportedly added, at a news conference.

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‘Unacceptable and ‘misogynistic’

Japanese writer Mieko Kawakami, best-known for her feminist novel ‘Breasts and Eggs’ lambasted Nikai’s remarks. While taking to Twitter she termed LDP leader’s comments “unacceptable" and "misogynistic” while also noting that the male ruling party members will never be successful in understanding the grave matter of gender equality. "According to their views, men will take care of women as long as women don't threaten them and stay on their lane. Women are treated as second-class citizens forever here in Japan," Kawakami added.

"How hopeless ... but I bet (Nikai) still thinks he's doing something good here. Thinking, but look, we're letting them (the female lawmakers) attend. But nope, it can't go as far as letting them have a say," tweeted Hiroki Mizoguchi, a prominent author on immigration issues in Japan. "It's like he's saying it's better having women at the meeting than not there at all ... It's really horrific," he added.

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Nikai’s remarks triggered a fresh wave of backlash after last Friday Yoshiro Mori, 83, resigned from his post as Tokyo 2020 Olympics chairman in the wake of sexist remarks he made that were leaked to Japanese media. Reports stated that Mori said at an Olympic board of trustees meeting that “meetings with lots of women take longer" because "women are competitive -- if one member raises their hand to speak, others might think they need to talk too.”

"If you want to increase female membership, you would be in trouble unless you put time limits in place," he is reported to have added.

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