Resolution to ID hecklers voted down


The Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly has voted down a resolution calling for identifying the assembly members who heckled an assemblywoman last week with sexist remarks, effectively forcing closure on an issue that drew sharp criticism at home and abroad.

The assembly failed to pass the resolution on Wednesday, its last full session for the month, due to resistance from the Liberal Democratic Party, the biggest force in the assembly. The assembly will not hold another plenary session until September.

Among the suspected hecklers, only 51-year-old Akihiro Suzuki, who quit the LDP after admitting to playing a role in the heckling, was identified. Suzuki admitting yelling, “You should get married first,” while the female lawmaker was addressing the assembly.

The Japanese Communist Party submitted another resolution urging Suzuki to resign, but the assembly voted it down as well.

The assembly passed another resolution submitted by five assembly groups that calls for members to try to restore voter confidence in the body and prevent sexist incidents.

At the opening of the session, the chairman of the 127-seat assembly, Toshiaki Yoshino, urged all members to maintain order and dignity.

Last week, Ayaka Shiomura, an assemblywoman from Your Party, was heckled during the session while asking questions on maternity support measures.

Her attackers yelled, “You should get married first,” and, “Can’t you have babies?”

On Monday, Suzuki admitted to having made the first remark and apologized to Shiomura but denied making the second remark.

  • Frank C

    Pathetic and weak cowards. Shiomura-san has shown much bravery and dignity juxtaposition the little men who try to mock her.

  • otisdelevator

    Harmony has once more been restored to the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly. The trouble is, the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly does not seem to be in harmony with public opinion in Tokyo, Japan and the rest of the world.

    They were elected to represent the people of Tokyo. They are public servants. They are failing on both counts. With this vote against identifying the perpetrators they are neither representing, nor serving the People of Tokyo. They are simply representing their own (propagation of sexism, bullying) positions and acting in a self-serving manner.

    This vote demonstrates that the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly supports both sexism and (other types of) bullying.


    • Steve Jackman

      I’ll have to diagree with you on this, since the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly is a microcosm of Tokyo and its members represent the conservative and traditional views of the citizens of Tokyo. Japanese society is rife with sexist and racist sentiments. After all, this is the same electorate which voted more than once for ultra-conservative and nationalist former governor Ishihara, whose sexist and racist views are well known to all.

    • lasolitaria

      “Perpetrators”? Really?

  • otisdelevator

    I can’t resist a second post, and it might leave you with a rather horrific picture, but try to look beyond (shudders).

    “At the opening of the session, the chairman of the 127-seat assembly, Toshiaki Yoshino, urged all members to maintain order and dignity.”

    *maintain* order and dignity?

    Child: But. But. But the King has no clothes! Can’t you see?

  • GBR48

    Obscuring one shameful disgrace with another is an interesting tactic by Japan’s old boys club. Appalling international PR for Japan at a time when global TV coverage of recent events has reminded the world that South Korea, by contrast, has a female President.

    The women of Japan hold half the votes in Japanese elections. They now know what the LDP think of them: second class citizens who belong in the kitchen, nursery and bedroom. If they are happy to be treated like that and enjoy the retro feel of living in the nineteenth century, then fair enough-that is their democratic choice. If not, they can get their revenge at the ballot box.