Requiring woman to wear heels "falls within the realm of being occupationally necessary and appropriate," said Labor Minister Takumi Nemoto.
High heels are a “necessary” accessory for women in the workplace, and companies should enforce dress codes, Japanese Labor Minister Takumi Nemoto said in parliament Wednesday.
The controversial practice of requiring women to wear heels "is socially accepted as something that falls within the realm of being occupationally necessary and appropriate," Nemoto said.
During the parliamentary session, another legislator, Kanako Otsuji, called the custom “outdated,” Kyodo News reports.
The topic rose to the top of political news due to a recent online petition trending across social media with thousands of signatures and international support.
Launched by the founder of the #KuToo movement, actor and writer Yumi Ishikawa, the initiative challenges workplace dress codes and urges government to create laws to ban compuslory enforcement of them. The movement’s name is a play on the Japanese words “kutsu” (meaning shoes) and “kutsuu” (meaning pain.)
According to organizers, women are required to wear high heels to interviews in order to be considered for a position and throughout their career in many large companies. Some have compared wearing heel as the modern-day version of "foot binding."
"I hope this campaign will change the social norm so that it won't be considered to be bad manners when women wear flat shoes like men," Ishikawa said.