by liberal japonicus
Something a little closer to home. You may have read about Yuka Ogata, who was elected as a city councillor in Kumamoto, Japan and, after numerous attempts to arrange for child care, brought her infant into a city council meeting.
After I discovered I was pregnant, I asked the assembly to support me so that I could look after my infant son and continue my job as a councillor. I asked for permission to breastfeed him in the chamber, or for daycare to be provided in the assembly building for the children of councillors, assembly staff and visitors.
But my proposals were turned down. Instead, I was told to resolve those issues myself. Once again, I came up against a mindset that supports the status quo and makes bringing up children in Japan very difficult.
People overseas may find it hard to appreciate just how severe the situation is in Japan.
The shortage of childcare facilities forces many women to give up work. Even parents who manage to find a place for their child have to deal with lots of rules and regulations. For example, they have to write their child’s name on every single item of clothing, including nappies, and provide proof from a doctor that they have recovered from a cold or other communicable illness. When our children get sick – as they often do – it is very difficult to take time off work to look after them.
It may or may not surprise you, but a lot of Japanese, including women, accused Ogata of grandstanding, not behaving correctly. While the buzzfeed "5 things you need to know" is often trite, the edition for Ogata is worth linking to
And a nod to those kinds of attitudes is found at the bottom.
There is a Japanese proverb, 出る釘は打たれる/Deru kugi wa utareru, or 'the nail that is sticking up gets hammered down' (fun grammatical fact, note how the passive tense removes any agency. No one is identified as doing the hammering, it just kind of happens)
Well, city councillor Ogata is in the news again. This time, for sucking on a cough lozenge.
(note: I use the Guardian link because the vernacular articles are often much less detailed. Here is the Japan Times reporting on the same thing
https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/09/30/national/kumamoto-municipal-assembly-kicks-female-member-sucking-cough-drop-session/ Papers in Japanese have similar summaries)
The session was suspended while assembly members voted in favour of forming an ad hoc committee to decide how to discipline her. It composed an apology and demanded that she read it out. When Ogata refused, the committee reconvened and the chamber voted to suspend her for the rest of the day. The incident held up council business for eight hours. (emphasis mine)
If you are curious about what the apology said, here is a translation
"On the 28th of September, when I stood to address the chamber, I violated Article 134 (which prohibits undignified behavior) of the council rules. In view of the need for members to behave in a dignified manner, I deeply regret my thoughtless behavior. I am deeply sorry and hereby apologize."
When a colleague recently posted about it on a local community page, he garnered this response from a Japanese woman.
I wish she would improve her communication skills as a local politician and stop bulldozing what she wants to do without consensus. Only spread impression of a trouble maker or smug ...is not gonna change the world. Those ‘old men’ in the city council are not enemies from the beginning. It looks like she’s inviting bully situation by herself and that’s suggesting a quality appropriate to a politician.
Any links to the current shitshow in the US are purely coincidental. Any comments, including "psychoanalytical bs", are permitted, indeed, are actively sought. Knock yerselfs out...