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The Japan Federation of Bar Associations plans to change the way lawyers’ badges are fastened to make them easier to wear on women’s suits.

The change is expected to be completed by December 2023 at the earliest, after a request from the Sapporo Bar Association in March this year.

The current badges, which are lapel pins distributed to lawyers nationwide, use a screw and nut to fasten.

The screw-on style is designed for buttonholes on the left lapel of men’s suits. Many female lawyers have had to personally change the back of their badges to be able to pin them on their suits.

The new badges can be pinned onto clothes without button holes and are fastened from behind by a clip.

According to the federation, there were 43,030 lawyers in Japan as of Dec. 1, with women accounting for 8,350, or 19.4%, of them.

Some had been calling for the change for the badges from the perspective of gender equality.

A survey conducted by the Sapporo Bar Association of its members prior to its request to the federation found that 96% of female respondents felt inconvenienced by the screw-on badges.

“It is possible to ask for your badge to be changed to a pin-on type under the current system, but the change takes over a month,” said Kae Yoshikawa, a member of the association who led the request. “Since you let go of your badge during that time, this leads to disadvantages in cases such as when you have to identify yourself.”

Tadahiko Sakaguchi, chairman of the association, noted that the screw-on badges were made with male lawyers in mind.

“We must show consideration for men, women and sexual minorities, and we will change what needs to be changed,” he said.

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