Japan’s former prime minister and vice president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party has been accused of sexism after making insulting comments about his foreign minister and his age.
“She’s not that good-looking,” Taro Aso, a longtime critic of inappropriate remarks, said of Kamikawa Yoko in a recent speech, before embarrassingly praising her abilities as a politician. “But she speaks with dignity, speaks very good English, and meets the people she needs to meet on her own without the help of diplomats.”
Taro Aso, 83, also called Kamikawa, 70, Obasan – A common term for middle-aged women that some consider derogatory.
Aso also twice misspelled her last name — calling her Uemura — and falsely suggested she was Japan’s first female foreign minister. In fact, she is the third female foreign minister after Makiko Tanaka and Junko Kawaguchi, who were appointed during the administration of Junichiro Koizumi. 2000.
Kamikawa, who became one of five women appointed to Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s cabinet last September, dismissed Aso’s comments.
“I know there are many different opinions and I appreciate all the feedback,” she told producers, adding that continuing to serve as Japan’s top diplomat was the most appropriate response to Aso.
Opposition politicians criticized Aso, who has since held a senior position in the Liberal Democratic Party government. serve as prime minister less than a year before the party vote out In 2009, it was the first time in more than half a century.
Akira Koike, secretary-general of the Japanese Communist Party, said the comments were offensive even by Aso’s low standards. “This is the worst,” Koike told the publisher, according to the Asahi Shimbun. Some social media users called for Aso to resign.
Kaku Sechiyama, a professor of gender studies at the University of Tokyo, told the Asahi Shimbun: “I understand [Aso] Kamikawa admires him, but if he is a male foreign minister, he will not mention his appearance. Only women make additional assessments of their own attractiveness.
Taro Aso, a rumored billionaire, is known for his fashion sense and ill-informed views on entire groups of people. In May 2018, when he was finance minister, he stated that “there is no crime of sexual harassment.” After a senior official was accused of sexually harassing a female television reporter, Aso also speculated that the official was “framed” by the victim.
During World War II, the Aso family’s coal mining business was used allied prisoners of war Aso served as president of the company’s successor, Aso Cement Co., for much of the 1970s but has refused to apologize for its past use of forced labor.
Japan Underperforms in international comparisons female political representativesRanked 165 out of 190 countries, women make up only 10.3% of members of the House of Commons, according to statistics inter-parliamentary union.
Aso is not the only senior Japanese politician to make sexist remarks. After appointing Kamikawa and her female colleagues to the cabinet last year, Kishida told them that he hoped they would “show the sensitivity and empathy unique to women.”