I will state my opinion about a few problems of Japan's society in this article. I know every state has its own problem like ours, but I still feel exhausted how much problems we have and how demanding they are to overcome, sometimes it seems almost impossible. However, giving up is not my business. I am writing this in order to prepare for classes to come at my school and I would like to seek better way to improve the society there.
Japan's society has very large gender gap, as you see in the Global Gender Gap Report by the World Economic Forum, and it is based on deep-rooted misogyny. As a matter of fact, only 10% of lawmakers in the lower diet, Shugi-in, are women. It would be difficult to find female leaders in any decision-making process of any company, school, local government, regional association, or every other institution. There is wage gap between men and women. Women are more likely to do non-regular work where the wage is relatively low and employees' status are uncertain.
Some say that we have the law that prohibits discrimination based on sex, so it is impossible. And, various gaps like that I wrote above derive from (physiological) difference or preference rather than the result of discrimination. Of course, such claims are false. First, apparent discrimination still remain here, though it is even surprising to me. In 2018, it was revealed that some medical schools had manipulated entrance exam scores to favour male candidates. More than a hundred candidates could not pass the exam while their original scores before being manipulated were enough to pass. Although, this kind of aparent injustice rarely happens (, I want to believe). More serious and deeper problem is structual and de facto discrimination. The gap anywhere between men and women never be the result of "preference".
We have been taught implicitly that women are inferior to men. Female leader of student's council seemed rare when I was 14 years old. We have been taught that women are not good at math or sciences, and I was convinced so. Since I thought math was a subject I could never be familiar with even if my note was quite good, I did not choose to be a doctor or scientist. I am now satisfied with my speciality, law, but I still feel a little bit of regret. If I believed in myself without any prejudice, how different I would be now? My mother told me that she did not want me to go to an university in Tokyo, far from our hometown because I am a woman. I entered one of the top universities in Japan and the law faculty had only 30% female students. In "Nomi-kai*1", I felt women should have smiled all the time. In social medias such as Twitter, female account are likely to be attacked compared to men who make the same remark as women, and to be harrased sexually.))
However, it was after I started working that the real misogyny appeared in front of me. I worked for a ministry, which was very male-dominant society. There were only 10% women when it comes to 'Career' workers, who are the candidates of the exectives. Once they have a child they move to a department where they can easily manage their time in order to take care of their child, while fathers work as they are still single. Such affordable departments are not "main streams", so it become more difficult for women to be assigned important positions. Female employee are still rare there, so I was told some times to sit next to the exectives, middle aged men, to please them in "Nomi-kai". At the other Nomi-kai, a male collegue tried to touch my face (!) and I avoided it by pulling my head back. During that incident, no one tried to help me. In any aspect, women are more likely to be offended and treated unequally just because of they are women. It is really understandable that not a few and brilliant Japanese women have given up the Japan's society and work abroad.
2) Insensitivity to power dynamics
I believe that many Japanese people do not pay much attention to power dynamics, more precisely, they seems to be ignorant about it. For example, when a woman accuse sexual harrasment that her boss send her messages calling for a date over and over again, they would say: "Why didn't she refuse that?". She had to work with him everyday, and it could be more hard to work smoothly if he got irritated. In the first place, Japanese women has been taught that being meek is virtue and contesting boss - especially middle aged men - demands a lot of effort.
Other example is that: many tend to blame the opposition party for the failure of the government. It seems that they do not understand where the responsibility happens. When the doubt of corruption by the prime minister were reported, the opposition party asked about it in the congress. PM never answered questions adequately, so they cannot help but repeat the same or similar questions. What happened is - the opposition party was blamed for "asking same question repeatedly" and "wasting time and resources". It was beyond my undestanding. PM has responsibility to articulate about his suspicion, and it was very him who had wasted time by ignoring questions. For the opposition party, who has limited power to investigate, asking was almost only thing they could do.
What I find the worst in Japan's society is "Justice-phobia". They hate justice. Seeking justice is kind of "try-hard" and "reasonable adult" should cope with their everyday tasks. I know that Japan is not only one country that has serious problems about human rights, but the particular thing about us would be this attitude. Words like "justice", "human rights", or "political correctness" are hated. It is oftan said to students that it could be hard to be hired if you participate in social movement such as demonstration in front of the Nationl Diet. The thing is that participating itself is regarded dangerous regardless of the content of the movement. You cannot say the word of "human rights" without some kind of preparedness, the possibility of being loughed or simply ignored. Contrary to our Constitution, guaranteeing human rights is not our government's mission. In 2018, the same year of the revealment of the medical school's manipulating, it was also revealed that the national government had manipulated the ratio of their employees with disability. They are supposed to hire certain number of such people, but they manipulated it by counting evilly. For example, people who do not have any difficulty with their eyesight when wearing glasses were counted as visually impaired. And they said, "we didn't know that such interpretation was wrong". It is absurd. At that time I was in the department that was responsible fot the problem, and one of my colleagues knew about it before it was revealed officially. He said "It was not a big deal" and other colleagues hearing that started laughing. That happened inside the government. It might not be his real feelings, but at least, he knew that he could get a laugh by saying it.
I do not know how to cure these sicks. Sometimes I even feel that I do not come back there again and live peacefully in a country where human rights are valued. However, I am Japanese and would like to improve our society for my friends or the vulnerable who would not have a choice to escape.