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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 January 9 - 15  > Online protest campaign against magazine’s sexist article collects 50,000 signatures
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2019 January 9 - 15 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Online protest campaign against magazine’s sexist article collects 50,000 signatures

January, 12, 2019

Nearly 50,000 people have endorsed an online petition denouncing a weekly magazine’s article insulting female university students. The petition also urges the publisher to offer an apology and retract the article.

The article appeared on the December 25, 2018 issue of Fusosha Publishing Inc.’s “Shukan SPA!”. The article was about a ranking of universities whose female students it claims are most likely to indulge in sexual liaisons.

The number of people who signed the online petition exceeded 46,300 as of January 11, only a few days after the campaign’s launch. Yamamoto Kazuna, a senior student at International Christian University in Tokyo, initiated the signature drive and criticized the article for discriminating against women and making light of their human rights. She stated that the article could play a role as a trigger for sexual crimes and that such an article should not be published.

Lawyer Ito Kazuko, the international NGO Human Rights Now secretary general, stressed that the article is totally unacceptable as in addition to the list of the five universities, the article gives tips for men on how to convince female students to have sex with them, which could lead to a higher risk of sexual crimes. She said that the article went through the entire editorial process and that this fact indicates that the publisher lacks respect for human rights. Ito demanded that the publisher withdraw the article and thoroughly look into the matter in order to prevent a recurrence.

Writer Tsurushi Kazuhiko, who worked as the chief editor of “Shukan SPA!” in the early 90s, said that despite the fact that the magazine is sold also at station kiosks, the article in question favorably dealt with something akin to sexual crimes and that the publisher’s social responsibility should be called into question. He said that amid the global influence of the MeToo movement, it is a matter of course that the weekly magazine is receiving severe criticism.

Each of the five universities cited on the list expressed protest by such means as sending a letter to the publisher or issuing a comment.

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