Female lawmakers in the Lower House will have exclusive use of this newly opened lounge in Tokyo’s Nagata-cho.

The first women-only lounge has opened in the House of Representatives building, allowing female Diet members, secretaries and employees to rest without men being present.

The lounge, which includes a changing room and cots, was established at the request of the Lower House’s female members, whose number increased from 25 to 35 in the 400-member chamber in the June general election.

The ruling and opposition parties agreed to set up the lounge following a request by House of Representatives Speaker Tamisuke Watanuki, who heard opinions from female members.

Also in the Lower House on March 15, childbirth was added to the list of permissible reasons for absence from the Diet during plenary sessions.

Hiroko Mizushima, a Lower House member of the Democratic Party of Japan who is five months pregnant, said the chamber’s facilities “have finally reached the level of private companies.”

“It was not normal that there were no women-only rooms, but we have made progress (by establishing the lounge),” she said.

“As a next step, we hope a nursery will be created for women, including (Diet) spectators, as well.”

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