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Women warn of ‘sex strike’ if men pick top Tokyo governor candidate Masuzoe

AFP-JIJI

Women in Tokyo are threatening a sex boycott against any man who votes for the front-runner in Sunday’s gubernatorial election, to protest his 1989 claim that menstruation makes women unfit for government.

A Twitter campaign group based in the capital that bills itself as “The association of women who will not have sex with men who vote for (Yoichi) Masuzoe,” has garnered almost 3,000 followers since it launched last week.

Although the founders have not identified themselves, in their profile they said: “We have stood up to prevent Mr. Masuzoe, who makes such insulting remarks against women. . . . We won’t have sex with men who will vote for Mr. Masuzoe.”

Masuzoe, 65, a former political scientist who became a celebrity through TV talk shows before getting involved in politics in 2001, is widely seen as an establishment figure in a country where gender roles remain very distinct.

In 1989, he told a men’s magazine that it would not be proper to have women at the highest level of government because their menstrual cycle makes them irrational.

“Women are not normal when they are having a period. . . . You can’t possibly let them make critical decisions about the country (during their period) such as whether or not to go to war,” he said.

Masuzoe has the backing of the conservative ruling Liberal Democratic Party of hawkish Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and is seen as likely to pip his nearest rival, former Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa, who is standing on an anti-nuclear platform.

All 16 candidates in the poll are men, with many of them aged in their 60s or older.

But Masuzoe’s comments about women, as well as other controversial remarks on taxing the elderly, have triggered a backlash.

Another website was launched Wednesday by a group of women also seeking to prevent Masuzoe from becoming Tokyo governor. That site has drawn 75,000 hits per day and 2,800 people have signed its petition.

“Masuzoe is an enemy of women. . . . He doesn’t love Japan. He loves only himself,” said one comment on the site, by a woman who identified herself as Etsuko Sato.

On the Twitter campaign feed, a post by manatowar3 said: “I’m an old man. But I cannot tolerate him (Masuzoe) from a man’s point of view.”

Despite high levels of education, many women in Japan leave career jobs when they have children, and social pressures to play the homemaker remain strong.

There are very few women in senior political positions — Abe’s 19-member Cabinet has only two — and company boards are overwhelmingly male.

Speaking in Davos, Switzerland, last month, Abe pledged that by 2020, 30 percent of leading positions would be occupied by women. However, most independent observers suggest this target is unlikely to be met.

  • KaiHarate

    “Women are not normal when they are having a period. . . . You can’t possibly let them make critical decisions about the country (during their period) such as whether or not to go to war,” he said.

    It’s kind of hard to argue with this statement. haha. (Just kidding, ladies…sort of).

    • WillA

      Well, they could argue the same about us when we are aroused.

      • Afshin Nejat

        Which for most men is half of our waking life, to be conservative.

  • Greg

    THEY WOULDN’T! … would they? lol.

    Seriously though, that is a very offensive statement. It’s not very logical though, as it assumes that governmental decisions are made based on the daily whims of just one person, and no one person, male or female, should have that much power. All of us, male or female are susceptible to mood swings and raw emotion and where possible this should be erased from policy-making. Therefore decisions should be made through reasoned debate with many individuals over a reasonable time frame.

    What’s more, I don’t like this sex boycott (well come on, it can’t possibly be a good thing), but the reason is, it targets men “who voted for Masuzoe”. In any democracy worth its salt, voters cast their vote by secret ballot. This is essential as it allows voters the freedom to vote without fear of intimidation or persecution as a result of their choice of candidate. There are worse forms of persecution than withholding sex, but… I just don’t like their approach. If they want to withhold sex, fine, but don’t use it to influence the result of a major election.

  • happyjapan

    In a country where people still enjoy sex with their partners, it might have an effect, but I don’t think it’ll make a difference in Japan, to be honest. And anyway, isn’t playing into chauvinists’ hands, reducing women’s power to the bedroom? Why don’t these women mobilise and put political/social pressure on their partners/co-workers and politicians? God knows, Japan needs it.

  • lasolitaria

    Denial of sex… as opposed to what? In order to cut off the supply of something, you must provide it first! Sorry, ladies but it’s a little late for that to have any effect XD

  • phu

    I disagree. If it were “tongue in cheek” it would’ve been made obvious. If it were “legitimate” it wouldn’t have essentially held sex hostage to coerce (not influence) voters.

    The one reasonable way of influencing the results of any major election are by voting. The fact that this is effected by protests, campaigns, and all manner of other things is ancillary.

    The aim is reasonable, given the position of the women organizing this. The method is reprehensible.