A Japanese department store that says it was trying to help out its female employees is now facing backlash over a uniform accessory. The BBC reports the hubbub is centered on a badge that Daimaru introduced in October to hundreds of workers in its women's wardrobe department. One side of the badge featured the opening date of a new store section dedicated to "women's well-being." The other side caused the controversy: It featured a manga character called Seiri Chan, or "Miss Period," per the Japan Times (check out a pic of the double-sided badge here). Store spokeswoman Yoko Higuchi said the voluntary badge was a suggestion from workers themselves to "improve the working environment" by clueing in others that an employee had her period, meaning she might need some extra help or a longer break during her shift.
Once word got out to local media, however, some customers and other members of the public were incensed at what they thought was the store's way of revealing a worker's menstrual status to anyone and everyone, leading to "complaints" and "harassment," per Higuchi. She adds that some staffers also weren't too keen on the concept. CNBC notes this latest outcry comes amid a slew of workplace-related controversies in Japan, including onerous dress codes and excessive working hours. Daimaru now says it isn't exactly nixing the idea of a menstruation alert, but simply rethinking it to perhaps come up with a more discreet way to convey a woman's status to her co-workers only. (Read more menstruation stories.)