The Japanese minister responds to the #KuToo campaign by saying that high heels are "necessary and appropriate"



June 6, 2019 16:17:20

High heels are "necessary and appropriate" in the workplace, says the Japanese Health Minister, amid growing support for a campaign to combat gender dress codes.

Key points:

  • Health Minister Takumi Nemoto said that requiring injured workers to wear heels could be "power harassment"
  • The founder of #KuToo, Yumi Ishikawa, said she wanted people to seriously discuss the issue
  • His petition has collected more than 20,000 signatures online

A petition dubbed #KuToo – an amalgamation of Japanese words for shoes, kutsu and pain, kutsuu – was presented Monday at the health ministry by Yumi Ishikawa, a 32-year-old funeral director.

The petition, which collected more than 20,000 online signatures, said wearing heels was a condition of its use and had become a "burden".

While many Japanese companies may not explicitly request that female employees wear high heels, many women do so because of the expectations of tradition and society.

"I think it's in the range of what is commonly accepted as necessary and appropriate in the workplace," Health Minister Takumi Nemoto said.

Responding to questions in a parliamentary commission, Nemoto also said that he could be considered "power harassment" if employers demanded that women workers who had been injured wear high heels.

Ms. Ishikawa said that these comments further shifted the issue into the spotlight and she wanted people to seriously discuss the issue.

"It seems that men really don't understand that wearing high heels can be painful and lead to injury," he said.

"But even if women are not injured, I would like such expectations to be considered power harassment."

Ms. Ishikawa said that Nemoto's remarks could push some women to bring the problem with their bosses.

"This could stimulate this kind of action, so I think it's going in the right direction," he said.

The Health Ministry said it was examining the petition and declined to comment further.




gender roles,



of the community and society,

work place,


. (tagToTranslate) kutoo (t) japan (t) high heels (t) workplace (t) health minister (t) petition


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