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2014 June 18 - 24 [CIVIL RIGHTS]

Cross-party Tokyo assemblywomen protest against sexist jeering

June 20 and 21, 2014
In protest against sexist jeering at a female member of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly, 15 assemblywomen representing a number of parties on June 19 called on the speaker to take action to prevent a recurrence.

On the previous day, while a Your Party assemblywoman was making comments about support measures for pregnant women in a plenary session of the assembly, some assemblymen heckled her, “You should get married before making such a comment,” and, “Are you infertile?”

The 15 protesting legislators include eight who belong to the Japanese Communist Party and seven members of five political parties. They demanded that the assembly chair order the hecklers not to make such rude remarks again.

After the representation, JCP lawmaker Oyama Tomoko said, “A remark forcing women to get married or to have a child is blatant sexual discrimination and an act of sexual harassment. Heckling an assemblywoman about her private life is a personal insult as well as a violation of human rights.”

* * *

The Japanese Communist Party Tokyo Metropolitan Assemblymembers’ Group on June 19 submitted to the assembly chair a petition which condemns the act of sexist jeering and calls for measures to prevent assemblymembers from repeating such behavior.

The petition criticizes the rude remarks for diminishing the authority of the local assembly. It stresses that some legislators often resort to heckling which sometimes prevents speakers from being heard. The document demands that the metropolitan assembly take actions to correct the situation.
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