Ja­panese politi­cians give preg­nancy a try

The Myanmar Times - - The Pulse -

ATRIO of male Ja­panese politi­cians has gamely strapped on “preg­nancy vests” that sim­u­late swollen bel­lies in a light-hearted 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 Or­gan­i­sa­tion for Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion and De­vel­op­ment.

The three-minute spot, which started run­ning last week, shows the hap­less law­mak­ers be­ing out­fit­ted with 7-kilo­gram (16-pound) vests that mimic the belly of a woman who is about seven 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-year-old Shunji Kono, the gover­nor of Miyazaki 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 top pri­or­ity to fix the econ­omy, heed­ing calls to make bet­ter use of a highly ed­u­cated but un­der­em­ployed labour pool.

Photo: AFP

The “preg­nancy vests” are sup­posed to en­cour­age men to help out more around the house.

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