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High heels at work are necessary, Japanese government

High heels at work are necessary, Japanese government

If you aren't a fan of stilettos, then you're probably not going to like this. Japan’s health and labour minister has defended workplaces that require women to wear high heels to work, arguing it is “necessary and appropriate”.

High heels at work are necessary, Japanese government

Japan’s Health and Labour Minister, Takumi Nemoto, has defended the country’s near-compulsory practice of woman being forced to wear high heels at work.

“It is socially accepted as something that falls within the realm of being occupationally necessary and appropriate,” Mr Nemoto said.

He reportedly made the comments at a parliamentary committee on Wednesday.

The remark came when Takumi Nemoto was asked to comment on a petition by a group of women who want the government to ban workplaces from requiring female jobseekers and employees to wear high heels.

Japan's Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Takumi Nemoto attends a news conference in Tokyo

Japan’s Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Takumi Nemoto. Photo Credit: REUTERS/Issei Kato

The campaign started by actor and writer Yumi Ishikawa, calling for discriminatory workplace dress codes to be scrapped.

Ishikawa and a group of fellow Japanese women submitted the petition to the government to protest against what they say is a de facto requirement for many female workers.

The Guardian reports the campaign is called ‘KuToo’ – a play on words from the Japanese kutsu, meaning shoes, and kutsuu, meaning pain. It’s also a reference to the global #MeToo movement against sexual abuse.

Campaigners say wearing high heels in Japan is near-obligatory when job hunting or working in many Japanese companies.

Some campaigners describe high heels as akin to modern-day foot-binding, while others have urged a broader loosening of dress codes in Japan, where business suits for men are ubiquitous in the workplace.

“I hope this campaign will change the social norm so that it won’t be considered to be bad manners when women wear flat shoes like men,” Ishikawa said.

The BBC reports that in 2017, a Canadian province scrapped the dress code which requires female employees to wear high heels.

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