Japanese mayor says men should grocery shop during pandemic

Japanese mayor says men should grocery shop during pandemic
Ichiro Matsui's comment created a backlash. Source: Flipboard
3 Min Read

Daily US Times: The mayor of Japan’s Osaka city, Ichiro Matsui, suggested men are better suited to grocery shopping during the coronavirus pandemic because women take too long and contribute to overcrowding at supermarkets.

He is now facing public backlash for his suggestion.

In recent weeks, the number of confirmed cases of the virus has spiked in Japan. The growing number of confirmed cases crushed hopes that the government’s initial virus response had succeeded in controlling its spread.

Japan had 11,950 confirmed cases as of Thursday, including 299 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The country had 243 cases on March 1.

The recent spike has led a raft of new restrictions put in place nationwide. On Thursday, the mayor of Osaka, the third-largest city of Japan, implied male grocery shoppers would reduce the potential spread of the virus as they would spend less time in stores.

At a coronavirus press conference in Osaka on Thursday, Mr Matsui said: “Women take a longer time grocery shopping because they browse through different products and weigh out which option is best.”

He added: “Men quickly grab what they’re told to buy so they won’t linger at the supermarket — that avoids close contact with others.”

According to World Bank data, women account for 51% of the Japanese population but the country is ranked 110th out of 149 countries in the World Economic Forum’s index measuring the degree of gender equality.

The comment of mayor created a backlash, people are posting their reactions online. One of them is popular Japanese journalist Shoko Egawa, who tweeted that “people who know nothing about daily life shouldn’t make comments.”

Egawa’s tweet gleaned over 3,000 retweets, while tweeter user said Matsui had probably never done the shopping himself.

Japan is ranked 110 out of 149 countries in the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) latest global gender gap index and remains a male dominated society.

Despite Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s pledge to empower working women through a policy called “womenomics”, the country also ranks bottom among the G7 countries for gender equality.

Since April 3, Osaka has been under a state of emergency. The mayor’s comments came after he suggested supermarkets limit the number of people entering stores where possible and recommended the public only shop for groceries once every two to three days.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was prompted to extend the state of emergency from seven prefectures to the entire country on April 17 due to the spike of cases.

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