‘Preg­nant’ male politi­cians lead house­work drive

China Daily (USA) - - WORLD - By AGENCE FRANCEPRESSE in Tokyo

Atrio of­maleJa­panese politi­cians has gamely strapped on “preg­nancy vests” that sim­u­late swollen bel­lies in a light­hearted cam­paign for men to pick up the slack in a na­tion where women do most of the house­work.

The three gov­er­nors of south­west­ern pre­fec­tures are tak­ing to the air­waves with the pub­lic aware­ness cam­paign that loosely trans­lates as: “The gov­er­nor is a preg­nant woman.”

Ja­panese men are not very help­ful hus­bands when it comes to house­work: they do just one hour of un­paid work daily com­pared to five hours for their wives, ac­cord­ing to a 2014 study by the 35-na­tion Or­ga­ni­za­tion for Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion and Devel­op­ment.

The which three-minute spot, started run­ning last week, shows the hap­less law­mak­ers be­ing out­fit­ted with 7 kilo­gram vests that mimic the belly of a woman who is about 7 months preg­nant.

Then it is time to clum­sily nav­i­gate stairs, carry gro­ceries, or wait for some­one to give up their seat on the bus.

One politi­cian strug­gles to put on socks, while another wipes sweat from his brow af­ter hang­ing a load of laun­dry, as an up­beat tune plays in the back­ground.

“I can see how hard it is to be car­ry­ing a child and do house chores,” says 52-yearold Shunji Kono, the gov­er­nor ofMiyazaki pre­fec­ture.

“I think I have to be much kinder,” the fa­ther of three adds in the video.

Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe has made draw­ing more women into the work­force a top­pri­or­i­tytofix theecon­omy, heed­ing calls to make bet­ter use of a highly ed­u­cated but un­der­em­ployed la­bor pool.


Tsug­u­masa Mu­raoka (left) and Yoshi­nori Ya­m­aguchi, the gov­er­nors of Ya­m­aguchi and Saga pre­fec­tures, wear vests that recre­ate a woman’s breasts and belly at 7 months of preg­nancy, in a video called “The Gov­er­nor is a Preg­nant Woman”.

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