WORLD / ASIA-PACIFIC
Japan's ruling party wants more women at meetings, but stay quiet
Published: Feb 17, 2021 08:33 PM
After a sexism row sparked by Tokyo Olympics chief's saying women talked too much at meetings, Japan's ruling party wants women at key meetings - but only if they don't talk.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party has proposed a new plan that allows five female lawmakers to join the party's key meetings as observers.

Travellers wearing facemasks as a preventive measure against the spread of COVID-19 line up at a check-in point at Narita Airport on February 7, 2021. Photo: VCG

Toshihiro Nikai, the party's 82-year-old secretary general, said on Tuesday that he heard criticism that the party's board is male-dominated, but added that the board members are elected. But it is important for the party's female members to "look" at the party's decision-making process, he said.

"It is important to fully understand what kind of discussions are happening. Take a look, is what it is about," Nikai said at a news conference late on Tuesday.

Those female observers can't speak during the meetings, but can submit opinions separately to the secretariat office, the daily newspaper Nikkei reported.

Yoshiro Mori, head of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic organizing committee, resigned on Friday after derogatory comments about women speaking too much at meetings and making them too long triggered backlash at home and abroad.

The 83-year-old former prime minister's remarks are one of the examples that show how deep rooted sexism is in Japanese society.

Japan is ranked 121st out of 153 countries on the World Economic Forum's 2020 Global Gender Gap Index - the worst ranking gap among advanced countries - scoring poorly on women's economic participation and political empowerment.
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