Tokyo Politico Apologizes for Sexist Jeer

A Tokyo city lawmaker has come forward as one of the politicians who heckled a female colleague during a city council meeting last week.

Akihiro Suzuki, of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, publicly and privately apologized on Monday to opposition party member Ayaka Shiomura for shouting "hurry up and get married" as she spoke in support of mothers at a meeting of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly.

During a press conference Monday, Suzuki called his remark "inconsiderate." He added that while he has resigned from his party, he will remain an assemblyman.

His was one of several sexist remarks allegedly made against Shiomura during the meeting. However Suzuki is the first to have acknowledged his participation.

Tokyo city assembly lawmaker Akihiro Suzuki (right) bows to apologize to female lawmaker Ayaka Shiomura at Tokyo Metropolitan City Hall, in this photo taken by Kyodo on June 23, 2014. /Reuters Tokyo city assembly lawmaker Akihiro Suzuki (right) bows to apologize to female lawmaker Ayaka Shiomura at Tokyo Metropolitan City Hall, in this photo taken by Kyodo on June 23, 2014. /Reuters

The incident comes as Japan's government prepares to announce economic reforms aimed at increasing the number of women in management and expanding day care services to support working parents.

High-ranking national officials decried the jeering behavior last week, calling for the assembly to "clean itself up."

Shiomura is a member of the Your Party and one of 25 women on the 127-member body.  She told reporters she remains hopeful the other politicians will confess. 

Japan has one of the lowest rates of female workforce participation in the developed world.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

VOA News / Jun. 24, 2014 08:00 KST