A red scarf has rocked Japan's parliament

2014-10-03 15:44

(Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Tokyo - Japan's upper house of parliament, often called the chamber of wisdom, has been rocked by a dress code row after a minister appeared sporting a red scarf.

Justice minister Midori Matsushima wore the stole when she attended a plenary session on Wednesday, prompting complaints from opposition lawmakers.

Decades-old rules ban the wearing of hats, coats or scarves in deliberation chambers and committee rooms.

A ruckus over the alleged sartorial miss-step even helped prevent the house from sitting for 20 minutes on Thursday morning, while committee members debated the definition of "scarf".

Viewers who tuned in to NHK coverage expecting to watch lawmakers at work were shown the empty chamber before the broadcaster switched to filler footage of tropical fish swimming around a reef.

Matsushima, a feisty former journalist known for her outspoken traditionalist views, said she had not broken any rules, and was "surprised" that her clothing choice had been called into question.

"A scarf is simply part of my outfit", she told reporters. "It's an ordinary fashion item for an ordinary woman."

The row had particular piquancy for fellow upper house member Antonio Inoki, a strapping former wrestler known for his outsized chin and his trademark red scarf.

Inoki has apparently refrained from wearing his scarf in the chamber in deference to the rules.

Matsushima said there was a distinction between a scarf that might be worn to keep warm -- known as "erimaki" or "muffler" in Japanese, and one worn as an adornment.

"They are different from scarves for women's fashion", she said on Thursday.

Matsushima is one of five women promoted to the cabinet last month, an apparent beneficiary of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's push for a "society in which women shine".

A spokesman for the upper house said the debate on Matsushima's clothing at an executive committee was "one of the reasons" for a 20-minute delay in the start of Thursday's session.

"The committee could not reach a conclusion and agreed to continue discussions", he said, adding the next executive committee meeting was set for Tuesday.

There are 242 parliamentarians in Japan's upper house, all drawing a minimum salary of $194 000 a year.

Read more on:    japan

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.