Legislative assemblies as workplaces

―Addressing sexual harassment in Japanese politics―

December 12, 2019 6:00 PM (finished)

Emma Dalton

(RMIT, Melbourne)

Date/Time December 12, 2019 6:00 PM
Location Room 549 5th floor, Akamon Sogo Kenkyuto Institute of Social Science, University of Tokyo  [map]
Abstract In this presentation I examine sexual harassment in Japanese politics. I attempt to answer two questions: a) How and by whom is sexual harassment experienced in Japanese politics? b) How is it dealt with? Sexual harassment has come to be conceptualised as a form of gender-based violence. There is a growing body of evidence around the world that points to violence against women in politics as a serious problem with significant repercussions on democracy and women’s rights. Political institutions such as legislative assemblies and political parties often fall outside the scope of sexual harassment legislation because elected members of assembly are not ‘employed’ by anyone. This has obvious implications for those who are harassed within, or by people within, those institutions. Individual institutions are gradually becoming aware of this grey zone and attempting to address it. the Canadian House of Commons, for example, introduced a Code of Conduct in 2014; in the United Kingdom, the House of Commons established an Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme. The approach in Japan is similarly ad hoc. One city council in Tokyo has created a Code of Political Ethics in order to eradicate harassment; one political party has published an ‘anti-harassment booklet’ and guidelines; yet many legislative councils have no mechanisms in place. I explore these case studies as well as personal testimonies of over 30 members of councils from across Japan to assess the situation of sexual harassment in politics in Japan today.
Bio Emma Dalton is a Japanese lecturer in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies at RMIT University. She has lectured at universities in Australia, New Zealand and Japan for over a decade in the areas of Japanese language and Japanese and Asian Studies. Her research interests include the relationship between women and the Japanese state, and especially the position of women in politics. She publishes widely for academic, student and media audiences. Her most recent journal article, ‘A feminist critical discourse analysis of sexual harassment in the Japanese political and media worlds’ appears in volume 77 of Women’s Studies International Forum. This year she is also a Japan Foundation Fellow and a visiting researcher at Sophia Un