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Protests against sexual discrimination held in Japan on International Women's Day

Participants march on International Women's Day in Tokyo's Shibuya Ward on March 8, 2021. (Mainichi/Natsuki Nishi)

TOKYO -- Demonstrations calling for an end to sexual discrimination were held throughout Japan on March 8, International Women's Day, which aims to improve women's standing in society.

    About 100 people marched in Tokyo's Shibuya Ward with placards while shouting protest chants like "We refuse to know our place!" and "We don't tolerate discrimination against women."

    Gender equality issues gained attention anew this year, as the pandemic has driven many women out of work and placed a greater burden on them from housework and childcare, while huge protest also erupted over sexist remarks by former Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games president Yoshiro Mori.

    Mami Hirasawa, 35, a Tokyo resident who was on the march, said, "There are too many cases where women's rights are violated, but young people are gradually taking an interest in the issue. I joined the march because I don't want to stay silent against what's unreasonable."

    Outside the Ministry of Justice, a "flower demo" was held in support of revisions to the law concering sex crimes. Regarding the Penal Code, an expert advisory committee to the ministry is working out its arguments over possible punishments for sexual intercourse without consent and other matters, which will be discussed at the legislative council in the next fiscal year starting April.

    Yuri Gu, who organizes flower demos in Nagoya, came from the central Japan city to join the protest outside the ministry. "I used to feel like giving up, but now I think society can be changed. Society should change so that sexual violence victims do not have to speak out in the street," she said.

    (Japanese original by Aya Shiota, Integrated Digital News Center, and Shihoko Abe, News Layout Center)

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