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Japan store reviews plan for staff to wear menstruation badges after outcry

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By Reuters

TOKYO (Reuters) – A Japanese department store is reconsidering a plan for employees to wear badges when they’re menstruating, which was originally aimed at fostering sympathy among co-workers but triggered a public outcry.

The Daimaru Umeda department store in Osaka said on Thursday that it had hoped to encourage bonding by having menstruating staff wear a badge featuring an existing manga character named “Seiri Chan” – loosely translated as “Miss Period”.

“We received many complaints from the public. Some of them concerned harassment, and that was definitely not our intention. We’re reconsidering plans now,” said a male executive who declined to be named. A spokesperson was not immediately available.

The backlash comes as cases of workplace harassment have come under the spotlight in Japan, amid a shrinking workforce and changing values about gender roles and work-life balance. Companies are increasingly and publicly being criticised for bullying and gender discrimination.

The Daimaru executive said the store had not intended to make the badge compulsory.

(Reporting by Ritsuko Ando, Editing by William Maclean)