International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day, an occasion which seeks to promote anti-discrimination, anti-sexism, and women’s rights, with roots in the history of women’s suffrage. In many countries it is a national holiday. While this is not the case in the UK or Japan, many people still mark the day. On SISJAC’s Twitter feed we have posted about one very significant woman in our history, Lady Lisa Sainsbury. Find out more by reading the thread.

In Japan, it has been reported that an Italian tradition of giving mimosa flowers on International Women’s Day has caught on. Of course, Japan has its own festival, Hinamatsuri, known in English as Girls’ Day, on 3rd March, although this is to celebrate the health and happiness of children. Nonetheless, on 3rd March, last week, Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee announced 12 new female members for its executive board. As you will remember, there was a controversy last month when Tokyo Olympics chief Mori Yoshiro said that women talked too much during meetings. He has now been replaced by Hashimoto Seiko, who is also the minister for women’s empowerment. She immediately set a target of 40% for female participation in the board, which has already been exceeded by these 12 new members. A definite step in the right direction and something to celebrate on International Women’s Day.

Keeping with the Olympics theme, at the end of this month, the Olympic torch relay will begin in Fukushima prefecture. Some residents feel that the coronavirus pandemic has taken attention away from the prefecture, which was ravaged by the Great East Japan Disaster on 11 March 2011. Others feel that the reconstruction of the area does not reflect the needs of the people, with paddy fields being replaced by solar farms, and many people still displaced by the disaster. This Thursday is the 10 year anniversary of the disaster and on Wednesday we will be discussing it in our Researching Japan session.

On the 11th, the Fukushima Prefectural Association in UK will be livestreaming an event to commemorate the disaster. Let us know if you know of any other events or lectures that would be of interest to everyone.

Image: Seiko Hashimoto, President of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, speaks during a media briefing after a council meeting in Tokyo, Japan March 3, 2021. | POOL / VIA REUTERS

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