Nov 29, 2017

Lawmaker who brought baby to assembly in Japan receives written warning

KUMAMOTO, Japan - A Japanese city assembly on Wednesday decided to issue a written warning for breaching rules to a lawmaker who caused a stir last week by bringing her 7-month-old baby to the assembly hall.

The Kumamoto city assembly found 42-year-old Yuka Ogata responsible of obstructing the flow of a session as she took a seat while holding her son on Nov. 22.

Ogata apologized for causing a delay to the assembly session. She had earlier claimed that she brought the baby in the hope that the assembly would become friendlier for women who are juggling a career and children.

Following a quarrel, the session began about 40 minutes late. Ogata was eventually persuaded to change her mind and left the baby with her friend before attending the session.

Ogata said she has been asking the assembly office whether she can bring her baby since she became pregnant last year. But having been unable to receive a positive reply, she decided to take her son in with her.

The assembly's rules state that anyone who is not an assembly member is deemed an observer who cannot enter the assembly floor during a session.

At the assembly's steering committee session on Wednesday, a participant said a lawmaker who is in a position to create rules should not violate assembly rules.

Keiko Ota, a lawyer who initiated a group where women talk about politics, said it is still difficult for women to have both a career and children in Japan, adding, "Assemblies bear responsibilities to actively present the environment in which women can manage both."

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government has been trying to improve conditions for working women, especially after childbirth. But Japan still ranks 114th out of 144 countries, one of the worst among industrialized nations, according to a report on global gender gaps released this month by the World Economic Forum.




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