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(SKY NEWS) – A Japanese department store has come under fire for asking its female employees to wear badges letting people know they are on their period.
Staff working at Michi Kake store in Osaka in Japan, which is known for selling products related to female sexual and menstrual health, have been asked to wear a badge with a little cartoon called Seiri Chan – a name loosely translated as Miss Period.
The badges, which are not compulsory, were introduced by executives to encourage staff and customers to bond at the store and to tackle the ongoing stigma around periods.
However, an executive has revealed that the plan has received “many complaints from the public” adding: “Some of them concerned harassment, and that was definitely not our intention.”
The unnamed male executive added that the company was now rethinking the badge idea and never intended to make it compulsory.
Public backlash against the period badge comes as the country’s workforce is shrinking amid changing attitudes towards women in the workplace, with Japanese companies being criticised for gender discrimination.
Michi Kake is a shop split into four sections which correspond to different stages of the menstrual cycle based on an app which co-launched the store.
The blue zone relates to products for women currently on their period, with the glittering zone is products for those who have just come off.
There are also products for those who are building up to their period, and then items for right before women begin their menstruation.
Speaking to Japanese news outlet WWD, store manager Takahiro Imazu said: “In Japan, there is a tendency for women’s sexuality and periods to be subjects ‘not to be mentioned’.
“Not all customers will react positively to [the shop], but the fem-tech boom is growing, and the values of young people are changing with it.
“I might be going a little far in saying this, but I am excited for it to become a shop for solutions for women’s sensitive needs, and to be an asset to the marketplace.”
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