In Japan, Women’s Constitutional Rights in Peril

In an effort to reinforce national family values in Japan, the
ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is pushing to rewrite Article
24 of the island nation’s constitution — the legal crux of women’s
rights in post-World War II Japan.

The LDP says the move is necessary to stem a tide of
individualism that’s corrupting family and community values. As
Masahiro Morioka, an LDP member in the House of Representatives,
said in a report on Article 24, ‘The constitution must ensure that
protecting family is the foundation of securing the nation.’

Women’s rights advocates say protecting family translates to
pushing women to stay at home, increase the birth rate, and care
for an increasingly elderly population. ‘The government is
borrowing family values — which attack women — from the US. It’s
the same thing, but the only difference is that we don’t use
religious language, we use nationalistic language,’ Hisako
Motoyama, an Osaka activist, told
Women’s eNews.

If the revision passes both houses of Japan’s National Diet, a
national referendum likely would be the next step. And while almost
100 groups have banded together to protest changing Article 24,
there’s a growing fear that the seductive power of nationalism and
the illustrious draw of family values will win out.
Marca Bradt

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In Japan, Women’s Constitutional Rights in Peril

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