The mayor of Osaka, Japan, is currently facing some backlash after stating that men would be the better option to do the groceries during the current coronavirus pandemic because women take a longer time and are the reason why supermarkets are always full.
The amount of confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in Japan has risen within the past few weeks, destroying the government’s hopes that their initial response was successful at controlling the spread of the virus. As of writing, Japan currently has 12,429 and 328 deaths. Because of this, new restrictions have been put into place around the country. Osaka, for one, has been in a state of emergency since April 7.
On Thursday, April 23, Osaka mayor Ichiro Matsui implied that having men do the groceries could lower the spread of the coronavirus since they spend less time doing so. At the press conference, he stated: “Women take a longer time grocery shopping because they browse through different products and weigh out which option is best. Men quickly grab what they’re told to buy so they won’t linger at the supermarket. This prevents close contact with others.”
This comment comes after Matsui’s suggestion that supermarkets restrict the amount of people coming in to shop there. He also recommended that people only do their grocery shopping once every two to three days.
His comment prompted Japanese journalist Shoko Egawa to post a tweet saying, “People who don’t understand life shouldn’t come up with ideas.” The tweet now has 3,500 retweets, and 1,500 replies.
To this day, Japan is still considered to be largely male-dominated. The country also ranks 121st out of the 153 G7 countries for gender equality, though Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has promised to empower women in the workplace through the Womenomics policy.
Last month, bewildered Malaysian husbands made their rounds at supermarkets, wet markets and on Twitter when the country’s movement control order decreed that only the “head of the household” was permitted to go outside of their homes to buy groceries during lockdown. The widespread confusion led supermarket chain Tesco Malaysia to create a visual guide so shoppers could differentiate between different varieties of fish, vegetables and chicken parts.