Since July 12, when Lower House lawmaker Takako Suzuki announced she was pregnant with her first child, the news media has been full of stories about "maternity harassment."

Suzuki's announcement was met with negative comments posted to her blog. Some people believe she cannot be an effective public servant while she is expecting — her doctor has prescribed bed rest due to the risk of premature birth — and further imply that she will be distracted by the business of motherhood once the baby arrives.

Suzuki, an independent from Hokkaido, has rejected the criticism, saying that although she might limit her activities before the baby is due in September, she was not going to abandon her responsibilities. In an Aug. 2 article, Tokyo Shimbun said that Suzuki's reaction was encouraging, since it showed she wouldn't be intimidated.