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Japan's Health Chief on High Heels at Work: 'Necessary'

He's pushing back on artist Yumi Ishikawa's petition against workplace dress requirements
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 6, 2019 8:20 AM CDT
Japan's health minister says high heels are "necessary."   (Getty Images/Halfpoint)

(Newser) – Women across Japan may find workplace dress codes that require high heels to be onerous, but according to the country's chief health official, such mandates are just fine. Reuters reports that Health Minister Takumi Nemoto responded Wednesday to an online campaign started by artist Yumi Ishikawa that pushes back on pumps and uses the hashtag #KuToo—a play on the two Japanese words for "shoe" and "pain." Nemoto doesn't see the big deal. "I think it's within the range of what's commonly accepted as necessary and appropriate in the workplace," Nemoto said regarding such dress codes after Ishikawa sent in to the health ministry a petition that so far has more than 24,000 signatures against rules that make women don high heels.

Nemoto—who AFP says was addressing the petition in front of a legislative panel—did concede, however, that forcing women with injuries to teeter around in too-high shoes would be considered "power harassment." Ishikawa said in response that men have no clue about the pain and injuries that can be wrought from such footwear. "Even if women aren't hurt, I'd like such expectations to be considered power harassment," she says. (Read more Japan stories.)

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