In the current stage of the Great Game – the global geopolitical power struggle in which the contestants are behaving more and more like the inmates of a madhouse – the world is seeing words take on new meanings. And one of the most important words in this Newspeak is “sexism.” This term, or rather a marker – a bit like the code words used by fighter pilots – can be used to discredit anyone who dares to question any of the main tenets of the “new normal” world view. It has continuously been used by people who stand behind certain high-profile public figures.
Today, anyone who suggests that the biological differences between men and women (which are, according to the “new normal” view, insignificant) are in reality evidence that the two sexes have different roles and functions in society, is declared sexist. In fact, it is meaningless to discuss those roles in terms of “good / bad” or “better/ worse.”
But, in a bid to hide the differences between male and female, because they could cause certain persons (generally, girls and women) to experience unwanted stress, pupils in senior classes in Japanese schools can now wear special gender-neutral costumes when going swimming…
Another example of “sexism” in Japan hit the headlines last year. This time the scandal involved comments made by Yoshirō Mori, Prime Minister from 2000-2001. At the time he was (despite his advanced years) serving as the head of Japan’s Olympic Committee, responsible for preparations for the upcoming Summer Olympics.
In Spring 2021, just 3-4 months before the rescheduled Games (they were originally to have been held in 2020) two factors combined to make Yoshiro Mori’s job more difficult. Firstly there was the uncertainty caused by the government’s COVID-19 response: first it imposed, and then canceled, a state of emergency for the Olympics.
And secondly there was the increasingly evident trend for society to force through solutions to perceived “gender-related social injustice.” Gender activists from the global social equality movement who were operating in Japan were (for some reason) allowed to question heads of state bodies and private corporations in a highly aggressive manner. The main question was: “What percent of your management board are women?”
It should be noted that currently, with elections to the House of Councilors (the upper chamber of Japan’s Parliament) due to take place on July 10, perhaps the most pressing issue is the proposed 50% for women in the Japanese legislature. The question is, what impact would such a requirement have on the democratic process? The very democratic process which is currently facing a number of problems relating to both the domestic economy and to foreign policy, and these now represent serious threats to Japan as a whole. These include the deterioration in Japan’s relations with Russia, which Japan, in keeping with its “duty as a loyal ally” risks spoiling on account of its support for Ukraine. Along with other border states, that political sore on the body of Europe now promises to infect the whole continent.
Last year Yoshiro Mori found himself in a similar position, when he was informed, by some unidentified person, that “it was felt” that the proportion of women in the Olympic Committee should be increased to 50%. The former Prime Minister, who appears to have been experiencing considerable strain, answered with an off-hand comment, and the next day a media furor erupted and his words were denounced as “outrageously sexist.” The “gender dissident” was forced to resign.
A year later, Yoshiro Mori still feels that he was treated unfairly, and reiterated his comments – which were, after all, the words of an old man: “I simply said that women talk a lot. I get scolded for telling the truth.” Note that those are his words, not the present author’s. That comment is sole basis for the complaints of “sexism.”
Another incident along the same lines clearly demonstrates a key and highly disturbing feature of the campaign against perceived sexism. Back in 2011 a young (unmarried) high-ranking female civil servant made an address to a committee of the Japanese Parliament on a subject that remains just as relevant as ever and may continue to be so for the next decade or so. And not just in Japan. The subject was a complex issue that arose following the 2011 disaster at the Fukushima Daichi nuclear power plant.
Clearly an Arts graduate with a background in television, the speaker’s tirade was full of technical terms such as “millisieverts.” She was interrupted by shouts of “Why don’t you get married?” and [allegedly] “Can’t you even have children?” from one of the lawmakers in the audience who were still awake. Her heckler’s political career came to an abrupt end, despite assurances from many lawmakers that he had been “misunderstood.”
Nevertheless, his “sexist” outburst was more relevant than he perhaps intended. It could even be argued that it touched on a critical issue for modern Japan. Because the country is experiencing a serious demographic decline. For the last few years in a row Japan’s population has fallen, repeatedly reaching levels described as “lower than at any time in the last few decades.” The results of a recent survey of single people’s attitudes to marriage present a shocking picture. The situation has led to fears of the “imminent disappearance of the Japanese, as a nation.”
That is despite the fact that Japan is perceived globally as a “highly successful country.” Certainly, it is the third largest economy in the world, and one of the most technologically advanced, and accordingly has a high GDP. It is the de facto leader in one of the region’s trading blocs. As a result of these circumstances, Japan’s influence is growing and it is able to adopt a relatively independent stance in the international community.
Clearly, then, a key factor contributing to the problem of falling birth rates in almost all developed countries – and particularly in Japan – is female (after all, the talk here is mostly about women) “emancipation.” This trend has played a major role in the social transformations that have taken place in those same countries over the last 100-200 years.
Once this process is recognized as an objective reality, it is important to consider the potentially disastrous consequences that the “new normal” world view referred to above can lead to – as Japan’s neighbor Taiwan has been doing in recent months.
On that note, the author will conclude this brief review of the issue of “sexism” and the various ways that it can affect social relations between the sexes. Naturally, going into these issues in too much depth can lead to all sorts of problems for any writer.
Vladimir Terekhov, expert on the issues of the Asia-Pacific region, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.