The mayor of Osaka is facing a public backlash after he suggested men are better suited to grocery shopping during the coronavirus pandemic, because women take too long and contribute to overcrowding at supermarkets.
By Friday morning there were nearly 1,500 coronavirus cases in Osaka and the prefecture that surrounds it, making it the second hardest-hit after Tokyo.
Japan’s government has declared a nationwide state of emergency till at least May 6 in a bid to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
In Osaka, Mayor Ichiro Matsui has been appealing to people to take steps to reduce the risk of virus infections, but his remarks over gender shopping behaviour stirred controversy.
Mayor Ichiro was speaking on the importance of social distancing in other to halt the spread of Coronavirus when he made the statement.
‘When a woman goes… it will take time,’ Matsui said when asked by a male reporter about possibly reducing shoppers’ entry to supermarkets to lower the risk of coronavirus infections.
‘If it was you, if you were told to get this or that, then you would go directly… and go home,’ he said. ‘It’s also fine for men to go shopping while avoiding contact.’
Matsui, who also said married couples should avoid going shopping together, drew criticism on Japanese Twitter over his remarks, with users saying they were sexist.
‘Japan is a country where these words come calmly out of a mayor’s mouth. Deplorable,’ said one user today.
Another user said: ‘When I hear remarks like this… I feel the need for people with diverse backgrounds to participate in politics,’ the user said.
Matsui actually got things the wrong way around, another user said, saying women needed less time than men when going out shopping.