A Japanese politician was asked to leave a session of the local municipal Assembly this week because she had taken her seven-month-old son with her, the Asahi Shimbun reported on Thursday. The politician, Yuka Ogata (pictured above), said she wanted to highlight the difficulties Japanese women face while managing work with raising a child.
Soon after she sat in the session, Chairman Yoshitomo Sawada and other Assembly members asked her why she had brought the infant to the session. After minutes of conversation, Ogata had to leave the chamber and leave the child with a friend, before returning to the session.
The incident happened in the Assembly of southern Kumamoto city.
“Under the rules, only politicians, staff members and city officials can go on to the Assembly floor,” an unidentified official told AFP. “Apparently she told the chairman that she wanted to create a woman-friendly work environment.”
“Visitors are not allowed to enter the chamber during a session under any circumstances,” a secretariat rule says.
Sawada has agreed to hear Ogata’s request to bring the infant to session.
This comes just months after former Australian Senator Larissa Waters created history when she became the first politician to deliver a speech in the Parliament Chamber while breastfeeding her three-month-old daughter Alia.
Waters had been at the forefront in passing legislation in 2016 that made the Australian Parliament more “family-friendly”. The legislation said, “No member, male or female, will ever be prevented from participating fully in the operation of Parliament by reason of having the care of a baby.”