A local female Japanese Politician tried to bring her baby to a council session on Friday, known as the Diet, sparking further debates in the country about the Role Of Women and the importance of childcare in the workplace.

The BBC reported that Yuka Ogata, a member of the Kumamoto municipal assembly, tried to bring the seven-month-old child in as an attempt to show how difficult it is for women in Japan to keep working after giving birth. This was Kumamoto’s first appearance at the assembly session since Giving Birth, and she stated that she had no other choice due to a lack of daycares.

The male members of the assembly objected angrily, citing rules that visitors and observers were not allowed onto the assembly floor and stating that the baby could disrupt the proceedings. A video of the incident shows a group of men standing around Ogata, clearly pressuring her to take the child away. After about 40 minutes of debate, Ogata left her child with a family friend, and the session continued from there.

Working and raising children

The incident may have caused only a minor delay in a local Japanese political assembly, but it highlights the challenges which women have in balancing working and taking care of children. In 2010, an Italian politician took her seven-week-old baby to the European Parliament to highlight similar maternal difficulties and was promptly surprised to see the media flood surrounding her.

But these issues are particularly problematic in Japan, a modern country with a conservative view towards women. Women are frequently expected to resign from the workplace and devote themselves to their families and children after giving birth, giving them Formula and milk to raise them. Those who do have trouble advancing up the career ladder.

Japanese problem

Consequently, many women simply refuse to give birth, which has created a demographic crisis as Japan’s population is aging and is expected to decline in the coming decades. The government under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has strongly advocated for subsidized child care with baby milk and other efforts to make it easier for women, but these efforts have met resistance just like Ogata did in the assembly.

Ogata’s actions sparked debate online in Japan. Supporters applauded how she highlighted the struggles of women while critics called it an empty stunt as no one would actually encourage bringing children into the workplace. While a friend temporarily took care of her child after he was disallowed from the assembly, there is no word on how she will continue to care for him in the long term.