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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 January 22 - 28  > Shii’s interpellation sheds light on Abe’s reluctance to tackle gender gap issues
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2020 January 22 - 28 TOP3 [POLITICS]

Shii’s interpellation sheds light on Abe’s reluctance to tackle gender gap issues

January 24, 2020

Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo on January 23 in his interpellation at the House of Representatives plenary session referred to the 2019 Global Gender Gap Index in which Japan came 121st among 153 countries and urged Prime Minister Abe to tackle gender gap issues. PM Abe, however, showed his refusal to accept Shii’s call.

Explaining how to correct gender inequalities, Shii first appealed for the need to eliminate the wage gap between male and female workers. Citing the OECD data showing that Japan has the second largest gender pay gap among 35 member nations, Shii demanded that as a measure to narrow the gender wage gap, the government require companies to disclose their data regarding the difference between what men and women are paid for the same work.

Shii also demanded a revision of the Civil Code to realize a selective separate surname system and legalize same-sex marriage, in addition to a revision of the Penal Code regarding sex crimes so that non-consensual acts will be penalized.

In response to Shii, PM Abe turned his back on Shii’s requests but expressed his intent to discuss the revision of the Penal Code. Regarding the issue of same-sex marriage, Abe used Article 24 of the Constitution to justify his rejection of Shii’s demand by stating that the Constitution does not mention marriage between people of the same sex.

Article 24 stipulates that marriage shall be based only on the mutual consent of both sexes. The aim of this clause is to make clear that people can enter marriage based on their free will and mutual agreement in contrast to the prewar constitution under which marriage required consent from the head of a household. Article 24 guarantees the right to marry to all people, including same-sex couples.

Past related articles:
> Japan drops to record-low of 121st place in global gender equality ranking [December 18, 2019]
> Abe rejects dual surname system saying, ‘It will hardly contribute to economic growth’ s [July 3, 2019]
> Koike criticizes LDP as being irresponsible in regard to anti-LGBTQ remarks frequently made by LDP Dietmembers [January 8, 2019]
> LDP lawmaker: Having same-sex relationship is like having a hobby [August 3, 2018]
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