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Forcing women to wear high heels at work could be power harassment: labor minister

A woman is seen wearing high heels as she heads for a job interview in Tokyo's Shinjuku Ward on June 1, 2019. (Mainichi/Kaho Kitayama)

TOKYO -- The labor minister has told the Diet that dress codes forcing women to wear high heels at work could constitute power harassment depending on the situation.

"The point is whether such instructions go beyond the scope of business necessity and reasonability in light of social norms. For example, forcing workers who have injured legs to wear such shoes when there is no such need could constitute power harassment," Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Takumi Nemoto told a House of Representatives committee session on June 5.

Senior vice labor minister Emiko Takagai also said in the session that she thinks high heels "are not something that should be forced on" female workers.

They were responding to questions from Kanako Otsuji of the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, who said, "What do you make of the situation in which women are being forced to wear pumps at work?"

There are growing calls among members of the public to ban companies from forcing female employees to wear such shoes at work.

(Japanese original by Satoko Nakagawa, Integrated Digital News Center)

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