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High Heels at Work are ‘Socially Accepted’, Japan Labour Minister’s Response to #KuToo Petition

Japan’s health and labour minister Takumi Nemoto opposed workplaces that force female employees to wear high heels to work, arguing the regulation is “socially accepted” after the #KuToo petition was submitted against the tradition.

An online petition #KuToo with more than 18,800 signs, which advocating to legislate for stopping enterprises from being able to request women to wear high heels at work, has been submitted on June 3 to the Health, Labour and Welfare Ministry.

The #KuToo petition’s number of signatures raised to around 30,000 now.

Female of Japan Reinforce #KuToo to Ban High Heels at Work

Fierce controversy over workplace dress code is caused by artist and writer Yumi Ishikawa’s tweet on January expressed, ‘I’m hoping to get rid of the custom that women have to wear heels and pumps at work’ when she worked part-time in funeral parlour before and was asked to wear high heels even though her job duty is standing for several hours a day.

Many females of Japan echoed with her peep by posing pictures of their injured feet since wearing high heels; her original tweets were retweeted around 30,000 times and liked over 67,000 times.

“As I realized that so many people face the same problem, I decided to launch the campaign,” she told reporters, ‘this movement aims to allow females to choose their own footwear at work, but not banning all high heels.’

High heels at work are ‘necessary’ and ‘appropriate’, labour minister says

Takumi Nemoto, Japan’s health and labour minister rebuffed their petition at a parliamentary committee on June 5. ‘It is socially accepted as something that falls within the realm of being occupationally necessary and appropriate,’ Nemoto said.

Kanako Otsuji, a member of the opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, refuted Nemoto’s claim by arguing forcing females to wear high heels at work is ‘outdated’ and amounts to harassment. However, Nemoto continued to say it is only ‘abuse of power’ if a worker with a hurt foot is forced (to wear high heels).

However, his belief has never reached a consensus inside the office of health, labour and welfare ministry. Emiko Takagai, a senior vice minister for Nemoto, thinks high heels ‘are not something that should be forced on’.

Not Only in Japan, High Heels Controversy Spread Worldwide

Japan is not the first country where women spoke out against the gender-based dress code.

Nicola Thorp, a London-born girl worked at PwC before, was sent home from work over her refusal to wear high heels. Hence, around 152,000 people signed the petition calling for a ban on dress codes which request women to wear high heels.

British Columbia in Canada passed a law in April 2017 banning workplace from forcing women to wear heels, by saying the practice is danger and gender discrimination.

The Philippines, moreover, where is the first Asian country officially ban mandatory heels at work by enacting the law.

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