Japan’s Health and Labour Minister Takumi Nemoto on Wednesday defended the dress code that forces women to wear high heels at work, reported The Guardian. “It is socially accepted as something that falls within the realm of being occupationally necessary and appropriate,” Nemoto told a parliamentary committee.

Nemoto made the remark when he was asked to comment on a campaign started by actor and writer Yumi Ishikawa. A petition submitted by her to the Labour Ministry on Tuesday against the dress code had got over 18,000 signatures, reported Kyodo News.

Ishikawa had called out the discriminatory workplace dress code after she was made to wear high heels while working at a funeral parlour. “I hope this campaign will change the social norm so that it won’t be considered to be bad manners when women wear flat shoes like men,” Ishikawa said, according to BBC. Supporters tweeted the petition along with the hashtag #KuToo, which is in reference to the #MeToo movement against sexual abuse.

There have been similar petitions against high heels elsewhere also. A former receptionist, Nicola Thorp, had started a petition calling for UK dress code laws to be changed after she was asked to wear high heels at a finance company. In 2017, a Canadian province scrapped similar dress code for women employees.