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Why This Japanese Politician Taking Paternity Leave Is A Major Culture Shock

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Shinjiro Koizumi, Japan’s Minister for the Environment and future prime minister hopeful, announced he will take a two-week paternity leave to care for his newborn son. Last year, when Koizumi announced he was considering taking leave, he was met with praise but also criticism, with some accusing him of not caring about his job. The negative reaction stems from Japan’s heavy emphasis on men in the workplace, one that expects those men to give extreme loyalty to their employers.

Despite common practice in the country, its law actually allows both men and women to take up to a full year off following the birth of a child; however, while many mothers take substantial child care leaves, only 6 percent of eligible fathers capitalize on the right out of fear that their employers will retaliate against them. The generous laws themselves were put in place to combat another issue Japan currently faces: rapidly shrinking birth rates. Koizumi’s choice represents a very public revolt, with Koizumi saying he hopes more men step forward to challenge the system. 

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Europe’s Soccer Championship Ends Investigation Into Whether Player’s Rainbow Armband Is “Political”

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The Union of European Football Associations will continue a probe into potential discrimination at its matches in Hungary, which passed a major anti-LGBTQ+ bill last week.


Pride Armband Isn’t Political, UEFA Says

The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) has agreed that a rainbow armband worn by German soccer player Manuel Neuer is not political in nature, according to the German Football Association (GFA).

Neuer wore the band at two official matches during UEFA’s Euro 2020 Championship and once during a friendly match with Latvia to show support for the LGBTQ+ community during Pride month.

Sunday, multiple outlets reported that UEFA was investigating Neuer’s armband as potentially political, possibly because LGBTQ+ rights have become somewhat of a flashpoint topic since the start of the tournament. Since UEFA does not allow players and teams to participate in “political demonstrations” at events, there were concerns the GFA could be hit with a fine. 

Later Sunday, the GFA said UEFA would consider the armband “a sign of support for diversity and thus for ‘good cause,’” and because of that, the team would not face any disciplinary action.

Discrimination Investigation at Hungary Games

The same day outlets reported the investigation into Neuer’s armband, they also reported that UEFA was investigating two matches in Hungary for potential discrimination.

At the first match, an anti-LGBTQ+ banner was spotted in the crowd. At the second, Hungarian fans marched with banners that called on players to stop kneeling to protest racism. 

Both events come as Hungary passed a bill against “LGBT propaganda” last week. Notably, that law bans the promotion or portrayal of homosexuality and gender reassignment. 

In protest of Hungary’s new law, Munich’s mayor has asked the UEFA to allow the city to light up its stadium in rainbow colors on Wednesday when the German and Hungarian teams square off.

See what others are saying: (ESPN) (The Athletic) (Mirror)

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