Press "Enter" to skip to content

Tokyo lawmaker resigns over sexist remark

Yoichi Ishizuka
Yoichi Ishizuka
//”>Liberal Democratic Party, stepped down to take responsibility for a remark made to Sumiko Tanaka, who had submitted a petition earlier in the month that sought to remove a nationwide requirement for designating whether a child was born out of wedlock or not.

In her case, Tanaka, 68, opted for a de facto marriage, whereby she had a ceremony but did not register the union with the city hall. In Japan, where partners in wedlock must take on either the matrimonial or patrimonial name, such marriages are not considered official.

“I decided that my name was too important to give up, and I have been married for 40 years,” Tanaka said, according to the Tokyo Shimbun (Dec. 22). But she was berated: “My coworkers poured scorn on me, asking why I had not brought my marriage certificate into the office and calling me a bad mother.”

On December 10, Tanaka presented her petition before the municipal assembly. Ishizuka, who was present, said to hear such remarks was “natural,” according to NHK (Dec. 22).

“I deeply regret the wounds I have created by discriminating against this person,” the lawmaker said regarding his treatment of Tanaka.

Ishizuka’s resignation comes a week after Japan’s Supreme Court ruled that it is constitutional to force married couples in Japan to take on the same name. Five women had appealed to be able to keep their names after marriage, according to the The Guardian (Dec. 16).