When a 22-year-old Japanese university student launched an online campaign against the powerful President of the Tokyo Olympics for her sexist statements, she was unsure of the scope of her protest. In less than two weeks, Momoko Nojo’s #DonBeSilent campaign, which extended to other activists, garnered more than 150,000 signatures, fueling global outrage over Yoshiro Mori, the 2020 president of Tokyo, and his resignation and replacement by Seiko Hashimoto led woman who has participated in seven Olympic Games.
The hashtag was created in response to comments by Mori, a former 80-year-old prime minister, that women talk too much. Momoko Nojo used it on Twitter and other platforms to gather support for a petition calling for action against the perpetrator. “Few petitions had 150,000 signatures. It went really well. People also looked at the personal side and not just viewed this as a Mori problem, ”justifies the young woman.
Her activism, the result of a year of study in Denmark, is the latest example of Japanese women who are not in politics and using their keyboards to press for social change in the world’s third largest economy, gender discrimination, wage differentials and Stereotypes persist. “It made me realize that this was a great opportunity to promote gender equality in Japan,” continues the fourth-year economics student at Keio University in Tokyo.
His civic participation is motivated by questions he has always heard from his male colleagues, such as: “You’re a girl, so you have to go to a school where the uniforms are cute” or “even if you don’t If you have a job after completing the course, you can become a housewife, right? “.
Example from Denmark
Momoko Nojo founded a non-profit organization called No Youth in Japan in 2019 while in Denmark saw the country select Mette Frederiksen, a woman in her forties, as Prime Minister. The time she spent in Denmark made it clear to her how much Japanese politics were dominated by older men.
Keiko Ikeda, professor of education at the University of Hokkaido, argues that it is important for young people around the world to speak out in Japan, where decisions are usually made by a unified group of like-minded people. But the change will be very slow, he complains. “When there is a homogeneous group, it is impossible to move the compass because people do not see when their decision is off-center,” he says.
This week Momoko Nojo turned down a proposed Japanese Liberal Democratic Party to allow more women to attend meetings, but only as silent observers. “I’m not sure they want to improve the gender problem,” he says, adding that the party should have more women in key positions instead of just having them as observers.
In reality, the young activist’s victory is only a small step in a long struggle. Japan ranks 121st out of 153 countries in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Differences Index 2020 – the worst rank among advanced countries – with a low score for economic participation and political empowerment of women.
Activists and many ordinary women say that drastic changes are needed in the workplace and in politics. “When there is a gender equality issue in Japan, not many voices are heard, and even if there are some voices that improve the situation, they lose their breath and nothing changes,” he complains. “I don’t want the next generation to waste their time on this problem,” he concludes.
Naomi Osaka was happy with leaving
The three-time Grand Slam winner, Naomi Osaka (23), said on Thursday that former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori’s resignation as chairman of the organizing committee for games was “very good” and rated the comments as “ignorant”.
“I think it’s very good because it is a sign that we are moving forward, that there are obstacles that are being dismantled, especially in favor of women,” Osaka said in a press conference after beating Serena Williams in the semi-finals of the Australian Open . “We had to fight for so many things to be the same. We’re still not the same in many things, ”he adds.
Osaka was born in Japan. She is the daughter of a Haitian father and a Japanese mother and grew up in the United States. She is one of the official faces of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which has been delayed for a year due to the -19 pandemic. The tennis player, who is the first Asian to take first place in the world rankings, plans to represent Japan.