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Dec 4, 2012

[Mr. Ryusaku Tanaka] Women’s Katte-ren (Volunteer Support Group) Aims at Advancement of Women by ‘Tokyo Governor Utsunomiya”

The upcoming election will be the election where we face a question of whether we have insight into human nature of candidates.

Masatoshi Takeshita
November 29, 2012

English translation of an excerpt from a Japanese article: Ryusaku Tanaka Journal – November 28, 2012 –

Women’s Katte-ren (Volunteer Support Group) Aims at Advancement of Women by ‘Tokyo Governor Utsunomiya”

“Women’s Katte-ren” is all out to open up the women’s 
vote as well as the men’s one.
                = At Utsunomiya’s election campaign office, 
Yotsuya, Tokyo on 28th  Photo by Tanaka =

Women who have been suffered a lot by the Ishihara metropolitan government over 13 years have kicked off revenge.  They have organized a “Women’s Katte-ren” (volunteer support group) which supports Mr. Kenji Utsunomiya, a candidate for Tokyo gubernatorial election to be announced tomorrow on 29th.

Now the women’s poverty problem has being a social problem: “half of women workers are non-regular employees” and “one out of three single women is in poverty.”

It is said that too much unfair customary practice of personnel affairs has been repeated by the metropolitan government since the reign of Governor Ishihara (from 1999).  “Among successive vice-governors, there is only one woman – just one time in the Minobe metropolitan government about 40 years ago.  Although there are 52 posts as bureau chiefs, only one woman takes the post of bureau chief.  There are many women who cannot take administrative positions.”  Ms. Masayo Niwa, a member of the Women’s Katte-ren, who has worked as metropolitan official for more than 10 years, told that every support measures for women has been scaled down since the start of the Ishihara metropolitan government.

“The women’s policy developed by the Minobe metropolitan government was a top-level policy across the country.  Regrettably, there is no trace of it at all.

In 1991 a budget of JPY10 billion was allocated as fund for promotion of gender equality.  Furthermore, the metropolitan government adopted an epoch-making policy – ‘to support women who have to burden the cost of filing litigations against sexual harassment or violence against women.’”

“However, with the start of the Ishihara metropolitan government, litigation support service available for women vanished into air.  The above-mentioned budget of JPY10 billion was absorbed in the general account.  Most precious materials on women’s issues were kept under lock and key in the basement.  He (Ishihara, former Tokyo Governor) couldn’t stand women looking big,” Ms. Niwa said in vexation.

Mr. Kenji Utsunomiya.  “Not a few women who graduated from a 
school for the disabled are reduced to poverty.” 
He listened attentively to on-the-spot plead for help, taking notes.
                = At Tokyo Women’s Plaza on 24th  Photo by Suwa =

Mr. Utsunomiya rushed to Tokyo Women’s Plaza after finishing his address at another Katte-ren.  He started off his speech by pointing out the gender disparity.

“The Japan Federation of Bar Associations has two female vice presidents.  I think that half of the four vice- governors should also be women.  The Tokyo metropolitan government should listen to the citizens of Tokyo.  As half of the citizens are women, the metropolitan government should be the autonomous body reflecting women’s voices.”

“Improvement of the welfare of residents is stipulated in Article 2 of Local Autonomy Act.  It is necessary to have every resident feel happy to live in this town.  The effort of Tokyo governor alone is insufficient.  All residents should also get actively involved.  I think that this will be such a gubernatorial election.”

Lawyer Utsunomiya has devoted his life to saving the weak such as heavily-indebted people.  His speech is very convincing.

The birth of Tokyo Governor Utsunomiya will make it possible for women who have not sufficiently been utilized in the labor market to have a bright future before.

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