Japanese Government mulls over a Petition against the Mandatory Requirement of High Heels in the Workplace

Photo credit to: https://www.theguardian.com

One of the most controversial issues among Japanese firms and establishments this year is the increasing number of people showing resistance against the policy requiring women employees to wear high heals in the workplace. More than eighteen thousand Japanese workers expressed their support to this movement by affixing their signature in a petition calling for a law that would prevent companies from imposing a requirement to wear heels while at work due to health reasons and other concerns. The petition was initiated by Yumi Ishikawa, a Japanese actress who expressed that she had to make a career change after experiencing pains and difficulties standing in high heels for eight hours during a hotel training.


Yumi Ishikawa submitted the above-mentioned petition to the Japanese labor ministry last June 3, 2019. The supporters of this movement are united behind the hashtag #KuToo which is a pun based on the Japanese words, “kutsu” for shoes and “kutsuu” which means pain. This group seeks to abolish workplace discrimination on the basis of one’s gender.


Meanwhile, a member of the opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, Kanako Otsuji also supported the movement by saying that requiring women employees to wear high heels in the workplace is “outdated.” He openly expressed his sentiment that the said dress code which is applicable only to women workers can be considered as a form of harassment.

In order to address these recent issues and to respond to the statement of the opposition, Takumi Nemoto, the Health, Labor and Welfare Minister of Japan released a press statement that he will not support the petition to bar Japanese companies and establishments from imposing dress codes that require the wearing of heels at work. He said that, “It’s generally accepted by society that (wearing high heels) is necessary and reasonable in workplaces.” However, contrary to the stand of the Labor Minister, Emiko Takagai, the senior vice minister for Health, Labor and Welfare said that she does not believe women should be forced to wear high heels.



Labor minister opposes banning female dress codes with high heels

Japanese Women Want a Law Against Mandatory Heels at Work


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