22:54 GMT07 April 2020
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    A female Japanese politician was ejected from a local assembly meeting by her male colleagues for bringing her infant child with her.

    Yuka Ogata, who had taken her seven-month old son to a session of the Kumamoto municipal chamber on Wednesday, was told to leave the public gathering by her male colleagues, who insisted that she could not bring her child onto the assembly floor.

    The female politician arrived shortly before the start of the session, but then was approached by the Chairman of the assembly, Yoshitomo Sawada and the staff of the chamber's secretariat, who asked.

    Ironically, Ogata brought her son in order to highlight the considerable difficulties that working mothers face in Japan, as they have to balance their work and child-rearing in the context of a shrinking number of nursery facilities.

    After several minutes of trying to convince Sawada to let her stay with her son, who was sleeping peacefully the entire  time, Ogata got up and left the assembly.

    The Chairman then started the session, apologizing for a delay, though one assembly member shouted that he is "not the one who needs to be apologizing."

    READ MORE: What's Your Favorite Body Type? Ideal Figure Debates Explode on Twitter in Japan

    Although there is no express rule that assembly members are not allowed to bring their children along, Ogata's colleagues argued that the infant was a visitor, who should sit in the public gallery.

    The recent incident serves to highlight the difference between Japan and other developed countries in terms of the treatment of women in the workplace.

    A similar incident occurred in 2014, when a number of male assembly members in Tokyo shouted sexist remarks at their female colleague for suggesting that more support should be provided to young mothers and pregnant women.

    In contrast, the EU Parliament has been more receptive to female MEPs taking their children with them to the sessions. For instance, Vittoria Ronzulli, daughter of Licia Ronzulli MEP became a regular visitor in the Strasbourg Parliament, where her mother is a fierce advocate for women's rights.

    Similarly, Australian Senator Larissa Waters was praised for having the courage to wet-nurse her child while addressing parliament.


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    child care, women's rights, sexism, Shinzo Abe, Japan
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